Political Headlines June 29, 2012: Justice Department Won’t Prosecute Attorney General Eric Holder for Contempt





Justice Department Won’t Prosecute Holder for Contempt

Chris Graythen/Getty Images

After Congress found the nation’s top law enforcement officer in contempt Thursday, the Department of Justice quickly wrote a letter to House Speaker John Boehner informing him that it will not prosecute U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder for withholding documents in a congressional investigation of the Fast and Furious gun walking operation.

“The longstanding position of the Department of Justice has been and remains that we will not prosecute an Executive Branch official under the contempt of Congress statute for withholding subpoenaed documents pursuant to a presidential assertion of executive privilege,” James M. Cole, the deputy attorney general, wrote in a letter dated June 28 and addressed to the Speaker.

The House voted Thursday to pass a resolution which, for the first time in U.S. history, found a sitting U.S. attorney general in criminal contempt of Congress….READ MORE

Political Headlines June 29, 2012: House Passes Student Loan Interest Rates Extension & Transportation Jobs Bill with a Vote of 373-52






House passes student loans, highway jobs bill: The House on Friday overwhelmingly passed legislation to salvage 2.8 million jobs, mostly in construction, and forestall a sharp increase in interest rates on college loans.

The measure cleared the House on a 373-52 vote and Senate approval was expected shortly…. – AP, 6-29-12

  • Congress sends student loan and transportation package to Obama: Congress ended months of partisan bickering on Friday by passing and sending to President Barack Obama a comprehensive extension of highway and infrastructure projects, along with a one-year extension of low student loan interest rates…. – msnbc.com, 6-29-12
  • Congress moves toward passage of highway bill, takes action on student loans: The burst of legislating comes just four months before the November elections, giving lawmakers achievements to show off to voters who have increasingly held Congress in low esteem…. – CS Monitor, 6-29-12
451 29-Jun H R 4348 On Agreeing to the Conference Report P To provide an extension of Federal-aid highway, highway safety, motor carrier safety, transit, and other programs funded out of the Highway Trust Fund pending enactment of a multiyear law reauthorizing such programs, and for other purposes
450 29-Jun H R 5972 On Passage P Making appropriations for the Departments of Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2013, and for other purposes
449 29-Jun H R 5972 On Motion to Recommit with Instructions F Making appropriations for the Departments of Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2013, and for other purposes
448 29-Jun H R 5972 On Agreeing to the Amendment A Denham of California Amendment No. 9
447 29-Jun H R 5972 On Agreeing to the Amendment A Lankford of Oklahoma Amendment
446 29-Jun H R 5972 On Agreeing to the Amendment A McClintock of California Amendment No. 13
445 29-Jun H R 5972 On Agreeing to the Amendment F Blackburn of Tennessee Amendment
444 29-Jun H RES 717 On Agreeing to the Resolution P Providing for consideration of H.R. 5856, Defense Appropriations for FY 2013; consideration of H.R. 6020, Financial Services and General Government Appropriations for FY 2013; consideration of the conference report to accompany H.R. 4348, the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012, Part II
443 29-Jun H RES 718 On Motion to Table P Raising a question of the privileges of the House

Political Headlines June 28, 2012: House of Representatives Holds Attorney General Eric Holder in Contempt Over Operation Fast & Furious in 255-67 Vote





House holds Attorney General Holder in contempt

Source: WaPo, 6-28-12
The House of Representatives voted 255 to 67 to make Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. the first sitting attorney general in U.S. history to be held in contempt of Congress for withholding documents requested as part of a congressional investigation into Operation “Fast and Furious.”…READ MORE

Holder Found in Contempt of Congress Over Gun Inquiry

Source: NYT, 6-28-12

The House voted to hold Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in contempt for failing to disclose internal Justice Department documents in response to a subpoena….READ MORE

Full Text Campaign Buzz June 28, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Speech in Reaction to the Supreme Court’s Ruling on Health Care the Affordable Care Act — Vows to Repeal Obamacare




TRANSCRIPT: Romney remarks on high court ruling upholding Obama health care law

Source: Fox News, 6-28-12

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney made the following statement Thursday following the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the constitutionality of the Obama administration’s health care law. 

“As you might imagine, I disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision and I agree with the dissent. What the court did not do on its last day in session, I will do on my first day if elected president of the United States. And that is I will act to repeal ObamaCare.

Let’s make clear that we understand what the court did and did not do. What the court did today was say that ObamaCare does not violate the Constitution. What they did not do was say that ObamaCare is good law or that it’s good policy. ObamaCare was bad policy yesterday. It’s bad policy today. ObamaCare was bad law yesterday. It’s bad law today.

Let me tell you why I say that. ObamaCare raises taxes on the American people by approximately $500 billion. ObamaCare cuts Medicare — cuts Medicare by approximately $500 billion. And even with those cuts and tax increases, ObamaCare adds trillions to our deficits and to our national debt, and pushes those obligations on to coming generations. ObamaCare also means that for up to 20 million Americans, they will lose the insurance they currently have, the insurance that they like and they want to keep.

ObamaCare is a job-killer. Businesses across the country have been asked what the impact is of ObamaCare.  Three-quarters of those surveyed by the Chamber of Commerce said ObamaCare makes it less likely for them to hire people. And perhaps most troubling of all, ObamaCare puts the federal government between you and your doctor.

For all those reasons, it’s important for us to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

What are some of the things that we’ll keep in place and must be in place in a reform, a real reform of our health care system? One, we have to make sure that people who want to keep their current insurance will be able to do so.  Having 20 million people —
up to that number of people lose the insurance they want is simply unacceptable.

No. 2, got to make sure that those people who have preexisting conditions know that they will be able to be insured and they will not lose their insurance.

We also have to assure that we do our very best to help each state in their effort to assure that every American has access to
affordable health care.

And something that ObamaCare does not do that must be done in real reform is helping lower the cost of health care and health insurance. It’s becoming prohibitively expensive.

And so this is now a time for the American people to make a choice. You can choose whether you want to have a larger and larger government, more and more intrusive in your life, separating you and your doctor, whether you’re comfortable with more deficits, higher debt that we pass on to the coming generations, whether you’re willing to have the government put in place a plan that potentially causes you to lose the insurance that you like, or whether instead you want to return to a time when the American people will have their own choice in health care, where consumers will be able to make their choices as to what kind of health insurance they want.

This is a time of choice for the American people. Our mission is clear:  If we want to get rid of ObamaCare, we’re going to have to replace President Obama. My mission is to make sure we do exactly that:  that we return to the American people the privilege they’ve always had to live their lives in the way they feel most appropriate, where we don’t pass on to coming generations massive deficits and debt, where we don’t have a setting where jobs are lost.

If we want good jobs and a bright economic future for ourselves and for our kids, we must replace ObamaCare. That is my mission, that is our work, and I’m asking the people of America to join me.  If you don’t want the course that President Obama has put us on, if you want, instead, a course that the founders envisioned, then join me in this effort. Help us. Help us defeat ObamaCare. Help us defeat the liberal agenda that makes government too big, too intrusive, and that’s killing jobs across this great country.

Thank you so much.”

Full Text Obama Presidency June 28, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech in Reaction to the Supreme Court’s Ruling on Health Care the Affordable Care Act



Remarks by the President on Supreme Court Ruling on the Affordable Care Act

Source: WH, 6-28-12

East Room

12:15 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon. Earlier today, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act — the name of the health care reform we passed two years ago. In doing so, they’ve reaffirmed a fundamental principle that here in America — in the wealthiest nation on Earth – no illness or accident should lead to any family’s financial ruin.

I know there will be a lot of discussion today about the politics of all this, about who won and who lost. That’s how these things tend to be viewed here in Washington. But that discussion completely misses the point. Whatever the politics, today’s decision was a victory for people all over this country whose lives will be more secure because of this law and the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold it.

And because this law has a direct impact on so many Americans, I want to take this opportunity to talk about exactly what it means for you.

First, if you’re one of the more than 250 million Americans who already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance — this law will only make it more secure and more affordable. Insurance companies can no longer impose lifetime limits on the amount of care you receive. They can no longer discriminate against children with preexisting conditions. They can no longer drop your coverage if you get sick. They can no longer jack up your premiums without reason. They are required to provide free preventive care like check-ups and mammograms — a provision that’s already helped 54 million Americans with private insurance. And by this August, nearly 13 million of you will receive a rebate from your insurance company because it spent too much on things like administrative costs and CEO bonuses, and not enough on your health care.

There’s more. Because of the Affordable Care Act, young adults under the age of 26 are able to stay on their parent’s health care plans — a provision that’s already helped 6 million young Americans. And because of the Affordable Care Act, seniors receive a discount on their prescription drugs — a discount that’s already saved more than 5 million seniors on Medicare about $600 each.

All of this is happening because of the Affordable Care Act. These provisions provide common-sense protections for middle class families, and they enjoy broad popular support. And thanks to today’s decision, all of these benefits and protections will continue for Americans who already have health insurance.

Now, if you’re one of the 30 million Americans who don’t yet have health insurance, starting in 2014 this law will offer you an array of quality, affordable, private health insurance plans to choose from. Each state will take the lead in designing their own menu of options, and if states can come up with even better ways of covering more people at the same quality and cost, this law allows them to do that, too. And I’ve asked Congress to help speed up that process, and give states this flexibility in year one.

Once states set up these health insurance marketplaces, known as exchanges, insurance companies will no longer be able to discriminate against any American with a preexisting health condition. They won’t be able to charge you more just because you’re a woman. They won’t be able to bill you into bankruptcy. If you’re sick, you’ll finally have the same chance to get quality, affordable health care as everyone else. And if you can’t afford the premiums, you’ll receive a credit that helps pay for it.

Today, the Supreme Court also upheld the principle that people who can afford health insurance should take the responsibility to buy health insurance. This is important for two reasons.

First, when uninsured people who can afford coverage get sick, and show up at the emergency room for care, the rest of us end up paying for their care in the form of higher premiums.

And second, if you ask insurance companies to cover people with preexisting conditions, but don’t require people who can afford it to buy their own insurance, some folks might wait until they’re sick to buy the care they need — which would also drive up everybody else’s premiums.

That’s why, even though I knew it wouldn’t be politically popular, and resisted the idea when I ran for this office, we ultimately included a provision in the Affordable Care Act that people who can afford to buy health insurance should take the responsibility to do so. In fact, this idea has enjoyed support from members of both parties, including the current Republican nominee for President.

Still, I know the debate over this law has been divisive. I respect the very real concerns that millions of Americans have shared. And I know a lot of coverage through this health care debate has focused on what it means politically.

Well, it should be pretty clear by now that I didn’t do this because it was good politics. I did it because I believed it was good for the country. I did it because I believed it was good for the American people.

There’s a framed letter that hangs in my office right now. It was sent to me during the health care debate by a woman named Natoma Canfield. For years and years, Natoma did everything right. She bought health insurance. She paid her premiums on time. But 18 years ago, Natoma was diagnosed with cancer. And even though she’d been cancer-free for more than a decade, her insurance company kept jacking up her rates, year after year. And despite her desire to keep her coverage — despite her fears that she would get sick again — she had to surrender her health insurance, and was forced to hang her fortunes on chance.

I carried Natoma’s story with me every day of the fight to pass this law. It reminded me of all the Americans, all across the country, who have had to worry not only about getting sick, but about the cost of getting well.

Natoma is well today. And because of this law, there are other Americans — other sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers — who will not have to hang their fortunes on chance. These are the Americans for whom we passed this law.

The highest Court in the land has now spoken. We will continue to implement this law. And we’ll work together to improve on it where we can. But what we won’t do — what the country can’t afford to do — is refight the political battles of two years ago, or go back to the way things were.

With today’s announcement, it’s time for us to move forward — to implement and, where necessary, improve on this law. And now is the time to keep our focus on the most urgent challenge of our time: putting people back to work, paying down our debt, and building an economy where people can have confidence that if they work hard, they can get ahead.

But today, I’m as confident as ever that when we look back five years from now, or 10 years from now, or 20 years from now, we’ll be better off because we had the courage to pass this law and keep moving forward.

Thank you. God bless you, and God bless America.

12:23 P.M. EDT

Legal Buzz June 28, 2012: Supreme Court Upholds Affordable Care Act Mandate as Tax in 5-4 Vote — Health Care Law Largely Stands, Victory for President Obama





National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius — Full Text Opinion — SCOTUS, 6-28-12

Supreme Court Lets Health Law Largely Stand, in Victory for Obama

Source: NYT, 6-28-12
The Supreme Court left standing the basic provisions of the health care overhaul, ruling that the government may use its taxation powers to push people to buy insurance….READ MORE

  • Romney, GOP Pledge to Repeal Health Law: Mitt Romney and congressional Republicans on Thursday pledged a renewed effort to repeal the Obama administration’s health-care overhaul, undeterred by the Supreme Court ruling to uphold the law’s central tenet…. – WSJ, 6-28-12
  • Mitt Romney Can Use Healthcare Against Barack Obama: President Barack Obama’s White House staffers can take pride—his signature legislative achievement passed constitutional muster and they can begin to implement its most controversial provisions…. – US News, World Report, 6-28-12
  • Supreme Court upholds Obama health care mandate: The historic 5-4 decision will affect the way Americans receive and pay for their medical care…. – USA Today, 6-28-12
  • Supreme Court Health Care Ruling: The Mandate Can Stay: The Supreme Court has announced its long-awaited decision on President Obama’s health care law…. – ABC News, 6-28-12
  • Summary of Supreme Court health care decision: The following is an edited text of the Supreme Court health-care decision…. – MarketWatch, 6-28-12
  • Following Supreme Court health-care ruling, House GOP will again try to repeal law: Now that the health-care law has been largely upheld by the Supreme Court, the GOP-controlled House plans to vote to repeal it–again…. – WaPo, 6-28-12
  • What Supreme Court’s health-care ruling means for you: The Supreme Court’s ruling Thursday to uphold the bulk of the health-care law means that some popular provisions — such as requiring insurers to accept people regardless of preexisting conditions and to accept children up to age 26 on parents’ plans…. – MarketWatch, 6-28-12
  • Lawmakers react to Supreme Court decision upholding Obama health care law: The nation’s highest court on Thursday upheld the constitutionality of President Obama’s sweeping health care law, which was celebrated as victory among Democrats, while blasted by Republicans who vowed a repeal…. – Fox News, 6-28-12
  • Supreme Court health care decision: 10 top tweets on SCOTUS confusion: What was not helpful sorting through the Supreme Court’s health care decision on Thursday morning? Twitter. Politicos tweeted about their growing frustration at the varying accounts coming through their feeds in the minutes after the ruling was issued:1…. – Politico, 6-28-12
  • The Supreme Court will uphold Obamacare. Here’s why: The Supreme Court can’t let the public’s already shaky opinion of it get any worse. If Obamacare isn’t upheld, it’s further evidence that the court decides according to partisan politics, rather than legal principle…. – CS Monitor, 6-28-12
  • Supreme Court set to rule on health care reform: The stakes could hardly be higher as the Supreme Court is set to rule on President Obama’s health care law Thursday. The legal challenge highlights two fundamentally different views of the role of government…. – CBS News, 6-28-12
  • Either way Supreme Court rules on ‘Obamacare,’ insurers win: The Supreme Court is shaking up the political chessboard today by ruling on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act – aka “Obamacare” – and there is one player who will win no matter what the decision may be: the insurance industry…. – LAT, 6-28-12
  • Supreme Court to rule Thursday on health-care law: The Supreme Court is scheduled to rule on the constitutionality of President Obama’s health care legislation Thursday morning, a potentially game-changing decision that would define the power of the national government in a presidential election year…. – WaPo, 6-28-12
  • Supreme Court health care decision has Washington awaiting history: The Supreme Court’s decision on the health-care law is the one thing nearly everyone has an opinion on…. – WaPo, 6-27-12
  • Supreme Court health care ruling expected Thursday: The Supreme Court is due to make a ruling on President Obama’s health care law that could affect the political landscape, the economy and the lives of millions of Americans…. – WaPo, 6-25-12

Legal Buzz June 28, 2012: Supreme Court Strikes Down Stolen Valor Act in United States v. Alvarez





United States v. Alvarez — Full Text Opinion — SCOTUS, 6-28-12

Supreme Court Strikes Down Stolen Valor Act

Source: ABC News Radio, 6-28-12

The Supreme Court struck down the Stolen Valor Act on Thursday, saying that the First Amendment defends a person’s right to lie — even if that person is lying about awards and medals won through military service.

The case started in 2007 when California man Xavier Alvarez was convicted under the Stolen Valor Act of 2006, the federal legislation that made it illegal for people to claim to have won or to wear military medals or ribbons they did not earn.  Alvarez had publicly claimed to have won the country’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor, but was later revealed to have never served in the military at all.

Alvarez was sentenced to three years probation, a $5,000 fine and community service, but he and his lawyer appealed the decision, saying that the Stolen Valor Act is unconstitutional — essentially that it violates a person’s right to lie….READ MORE

Lying About Earning War Medals Is Protected Speech, Justices Rule

Source: NYT, 6-28-12

The justices said that a federal law making it a crime to lie about having earned a military decoration was an unconstitutional infringement on free speech….READ MORE

Campaign Headlines June 27, 2012: Quinnipiac Poll: Barack Obama Leads Mitt Romney in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania





Quinnipiac Poll: Obama Leads Romney in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania

Source: ABC News Radio, 6-27-12

A Quinnipiac University poll released today shows President Obama with slight leads over Mitt Romney in the battleground states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

In Florida, Obama has a 4 point lead.

  • Obama – 45 percent
  • Romney – 41 percent

In Ohio, Obama has a 9 point lead.

  • Obama – 47 percent
  • Romney – 38 percent

In Pennsylvania, Obama has a 6 point lead.

  • Obama – 45 percent
  • Romney – 39 percent

“Voters generally like the president’s plan to suspend deportation of some younger illegal immigrants,” Peter Brown, assistant polling director at Quinnipiac University, told ABC News Radio. “There’s strong support, double-digit leads on that question in all these states.”…READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency June 27, 2012: President Barack Obama Hosts Members of Congress for Bipartisan White House Picnic — Speech Transcript




Obama hosts lawmakers at White House picnic

Source: AP, 6-27-12

President Barack Obama told lawmakers at an annual White House congressional picnic Wednesday that despite their differences they should keep in mind that they are first Americans working toward a better future for the country….READ MORE

Remarks by the President at a Picnic for Members of Congress

Source: WH, 6-27-12

South Lawn

7:12 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody!


THE PRESIDENT:  Now, you don’t have to worry, I will not be singing.  We have professionals for that.  (Laughter.)  But on behalf of Michelle and myself, I just want to say welcome.  We have a perfect day for a picnic.  It is spectacular.

We want to thank, as usual, our outstanding Marine Band.  (Applause.)  They can play anything at any time.  And we’re so grateful for their service to our country.  Obviously, that goes to all our men and women in uniform, and today is a great day for us to acknowledge everything they do to provide our liberty and way of life.

I want to say a special welcome not only to the members of Congress, but most importantly to their families — (applause) — because Michelle reminds me every day how difficult it is to be married to a politician.  (Laughter.)  And the sacrifices that all of you make — the birthday parties that get missed, or the soccer games that you’re late to, the travel that keeps you away from your loved ones — all of that obviously is in service of our country, and you guys are serving alongside those of us who hold elective office.  So we’re thrilled that you have at least one day where you got a chance to be together in Washington and nobody is arguing.

So that also just reminds me that for all the political differences that are sometimes expressed in this town, we are first and foremost Americans — not Democrats or Republicans.  (Applause.)  And I think all of us want to make sure that during extraordinarily challenging times for this country that we constantly keep that in mind.  That’s what the people who sent us here are expecting.  And I know that each of us in our own way are hopeful that because of the work that we do here we pass on something a little better and a little brighter to our kids and our grandkids.

And so, I’m looking forward to continuing to work with you.  I’m glad I see some folks here in shorts — (laughter) — and some Hawaiian shirts.  And so everybody is dressed appropriately for a picnic.  If you still have your tie on, take it off.  (Laughter.)  Make sure to enjoy the barbecue, enjoy the music.

MRS. OBAMA:  Go see the garden.

THE PRESIDENT:  Go see the garden if you want.  And we are going to be coming down on this rope line and I want to be able to shake everybody’s hands.  I warn you in advance that because the line is long, it’s going to be hard for us to pose for individual pictures for everybody.  The exceptions that we make are kids who are 12 and under.  How about that?  That’s going to be our cutoff.  (Applause.)  So little kids, if you want a picture, I don’t mind.  I can’t say no to little kids.  You bigger folks, you’re just going to get a handshake and maybe a kiss if — (laughter) — unless you haven’t shaved, in which case — anyway, everybody have a wonderful time.

God bless you.  God bless America.  (Applause.)

7:16 P.M. EDT

Campaign Buzz June 26, 2012: Senatorial & Congressional Primary Night Results: Senator Orrin Hatch, Rep. Charlie Rangel Survive Primary Challenges





Sen. Orrin Hatch, Rep. Charlie Rangel Survive Primary Challenges

Source: ABC News Radio, 6-26-12

Two Capitol Hill stalwarts — a conservative senator and a liberal congressman — easily won their respective primaries on Tuesday, fending off what were viewed as the toughest challenges of their careers.

In Utah, Republican Orrin Hatch, a U.S. senator for six terms, defeated the Tea Party-supported Dan Liljenquist by a two-to-one margin.

There were questions earlier this year about whether Hatch would win the GOP nomination, as the Tea Party seemed intent on replacing him with a candidate to the far right even though Hatch’s conservative credentials were impeccable.

However, Hatch’s base rallied for him and the senator’s war chest of $7 million was no match for Liljenquist, who had less than $1 million to spend.  Hatch is expected to cruise to re-election in November.

Meanwhile in New York City, Democratic Congressman Charlie Rangel had no problem beating state Sen. Adriano Espaillat even as his 15th District in Harlem was melded into the mostly Latino 13th District.

Rangel, seeking his 22nd term in the House, is normally considered a lock to win the Democratic primary but this redistricting, along with ethics issues, posed a threat to his long tenure….READ MORE

Hatch Overcomes Challenge in Republican Primary in Utah

Source: NYT, 6-26-12

The six-term Republican fended off a primary challenge from a Tea Party-backed insurgent candidate on Tuesday….READ MORE

Rangel Fends Off Challengers to Win a Congressional Primary

Source: NYT, 6-26-12

Representative Charles B. Rangel’s victory capped a gripping campaign and preserved a career that had been threatened by ethics troubles and changing demographics….READ MORE

Full Text Campaign Buzz June 25, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Reaction to the Supreme Court’s Ruling in Arizona vs. United States Upholding Centerpiece of Arizona Immigration Law




Obama Has Failed To Provide Any Leadership On Immigration

Source: Mitt Romney, 6-25-12


Today’s decision underscores the need for a President who will lead on this critical issue and work in a bipartisan fashion to pursue a national immigration strategy. President Obama has failed to provide any leadership on immigration.This represents yet another broken promise by this President.

I believe that each state has the duty–and the right–to secure our borders and preserve the rule of law, particularly when the federal government has failed to meet its responsibilities.

As Candidate Obama, he promised to present an immigration plan during his first year in office.  But 4 years later, we are still waiting.

Legal Buzz June 25, 2012: Supreme Court of the United States Rules in Arizona vs. United States — Upholds Centerpiece of Arizona Immigration Law & President Barack Obama’s Reaction Statement


By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. Ms. Goodman has also contributed the overviews, and chronologies in History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, 4th edition, edited by Gil Troy, Fred L. Israel, and Arthur Meier Schlesinger published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.



Arizona v. United StatesSupreme Court of the United States, 6-25-12

Supreme Court Upholds Controversial Part of Arizona Immigration Law: Police officers in Arizona are allowed to check the immigration status of every person who is stopped or arrested, the Supreme Court ruled Monday morning. But the court struck down other key parts of the law.
The controversial immigration law passed in Arizona two years ago and has been opposed by President Obama.
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that the policy could interfere with federal immigration law, but that the court couldn’t assume that it would.
The law — known as SB 1070 — was signed into law by Gov. Jan Brewer in April 2010, but immediately challenged by the Obama administration. A lower court sided with the administration and agreed to prevent four of the most controversial provisions from going into effect…. – ABC News Radio, 6-25-12


  • Blocking Parts of Arizona Law, Justices Allow Its Centerpiece: The Supreme Court on Monday rejected much of Arizona’s immigration law but permitted the state’s instruction to its police to check the immigration status of people they detain…. – NYT, 6-25-12
  • Obama and Romney React to Court’s Immigration Decision: President Obama and Mitt Romney reacted to the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down parts of a tough Arizona immigration law…. – NYT, 6-25-12
  • Romney Silent on Court’s Immigration Ruling: Mitt Romney is ready to talk about health care, but not the Supreme Court’s split decision on Arizona’s immigration law…. – NYT, 6-25-12
  • Court mostly rejects Arizona immigration law: The US Supreme Court on Monday struck down key parts of an Arizona law that…. – CNN, 6-25-12
  • Praise, concern and uncertainty as Mass. reacts to Supreme Court decision on Arizona immigration law: The Supreme Court’s decision on Arizona’s immigration law today generated praise, concern and a measure of uncertainty in Massachusetts, one of many states where controversy erupted after Arizona passed the law in 2010…. – Boston.com, 6-25-12
  • Dan Stein: Immigration Decision a Victory for Arizona – But it Has its Pitfalls: The Supreme Court today handed the State of Arizona a hard fought victory in upholding the most contentious part of the state’s immigration enforcement bill, section 2(b) of SB 1070. That section requires state and local enforcement officials to verify…. – Fox News, 6-25-12
  • High court rejects part of Arizona immigration law: The Supreme Court threw out key provisions of Arizona’s crackdown on illegal immigrants Monday but said a much-debated portion could go forward — that police must check the status of people stopped for … Businessweek, AP, 6-25-12
  • Both Parties Claim Victory in Arizona Ruling: The Supreme Court upheld a key part of Arizona’s tough immigration law, ruled against life sentences for juveniles and rejected corporate campaign spending limits…. – WSJ, 6-25-12
  • Chief Justice Roberts crucial in Arizona immigration ruling: Helping drive (albeit from the back seat) the Supreme Court toward what amounted to a victory for the Obama administration in the Arizona immigration case was a man often seen as one of Obama’s chief antagonists at the court…. – LAT, 6-25-12
  • Arizona immigration ruling boosts Obama in battle for Hispanic vote: The Supreme Court handed a political victory to President Obama on Monday by vindicating his decision to challenge Arizona’s tough anti-illegal immigration law and, in turn, put Mitt Romney and other Republicans who had endorsed the law in bind as both…. – WaPo, 6-25-12
  • Obama pleased parts of Arizona’s immigration law struck down, concerned about what’s left: Pressing his immigration agenda, President Barack Obama said he is pleased the Supreme Court struck down key parts of Arizona’s immigration law Monday but voiced concern about what the high court left intact. The court allowed a provision … – WaPo, 6-25-12
  • President Barack Obama’s response to ruling on the Arizona immigration law: President Barack Obama’s statement reacting to the US Supreme Court’s ruling on the Arizona immigration law: “I am pleased that the Supreme Court has struck down key provisions of Arizona’s immigration law. What this decision makes…. – WaPo, 6-25-12
  • Most of Arizona immigration law cannot stand, Supreme Court rules: But the Supreme Court upheld a provision requiring police to check the immigration status of people they have reason to suspect are illegal immigrants – the most controversial part of the Arizona immigration law. By Warren Richey, Staff writer / June … CS Monitor, 6-25-12
  • President Barack Obama’s response to ruling on the Arizona Immigration Law: President Barack Obama’s statement reacting to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the Arizona immigration law…. – WaPo, 6-25-12
  • Obama ‘pleased’ and ‘concerned’ on Arizona: Obama ‘pleased’ and ‘concerned’ on Arizona … This is an issue where Obama’s desire to win the debate on immigration nationally…. – Politico, 6-25-12
  • Obama ‘pleased’ with Supreme Court ruling on Arizona immigration law: President Obama said he’s “pleased” with the US Supreme Court decision knocking down parts of Arizona’s controversial immigration law, and he quickly used the decision to call for comprehensive immigration reform and to tout his own recent…. – Chicago Tribune, 6-25-12

Statement by the President on the Supreme Court’s Ruling on Arizona v. the United States

I am pleased that the Supreme Court has struck down key provisions of Arizona’s immigration law. What this decision makes unmistakably clear is that Congress must act on comprehensive immigration reform. A patchwork of state laws is not a solution to our broken immigration system – it’s part of the problem.

At the same time, I remain concerned about the practical impact of the remaining provision of the Arizona law that requires local law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of anyone they even suspect to be here illegally. I agree with the Court that individuals cannot be detained solely to verify their immigration status. No American should ever live under a cloud of suspicion just because of what they look like. Going forward, we must ensure that Arizona law enforcement officials do not enforce this law in a manner that undermines the civil rights of Americans, as the Court’s decision recognizes. Furthermore, we will continue to enforce our immigration laws by focusing on our most important priorities like border security and criminals who endanger our communities, and not, for example, students who earn their education – which is why the Department of Homeland Security announced earlier this month that it will lift the shadow of deportation from young people who were brought to the United States as children through no fault of their own.

I will work with anyone in Congress who’s willing to make progress on comprehensive immigration reform that addresses our economic needs and security needs, and upholds our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. And in the meantime, we will continue to use every federal resource to protect the safety and civil rights of all Americans, and treat all our people with dignity and respect. We can solve these challenges not in spite of our most cherished values – but because of them. What makes us American is not a question of what we look like or what our names are. What makes us American is our shared belief in the enduring promise of this country – and our shared responsibility to leave it more generous and more hopeful than we found it.

Full Text Obama Presidency June 23, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address Urges Congress to Act on Transportation Bill and Student Loans




Obama’s Weekly Address: Demanding Action On The Transportation Bill and Student Loans

Source: ABC News Radio, 6-23-12

The White House / Pete Souza

President Obama is urging lawmakers to put politics aside ad pass legislation to fund transportation projects and extend low-rate student loans, saying there is “no excuse for inaction.”

“We are seven days away from thousands of American workers having to walk off the job because Congress hasn’t passed a transportation bill.  We are eight days away from nearly seven and a half million students seeing their loan rates double because Congress hasn’t acted to stop it,” the president says in his weekly address. “This makes no sense.”

“This is a time when we should be doing everything in our power – Democrats and Republicans – to keep this recovery moving forward,” he adds….READ MORE

President Obama discusses the urgent need for Congress to act now on two common sense measures to help middle class families: preventing interest rates on federal student loans from going up and putting hundreds of thousands of construction workers back on the job.

President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address
President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address, White House Photo, Sonya N. Hebert, 6/21/12

Weekly Address: Congress Must Act on Transportation Bill and Student Loans

Source: WH, 6-23-12
President Obama discusses the urgent need for Congress to act now on two common sense measures to help middle class families: preventing interest rates on federal student loans from going up and putting hundreds of thousands of construction workers back on the job.

Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3

WEEKLY ADDRESS: Congress Must Act on Transportation Bill and Student Loans

WASHINGTON, DC— In this week’s address, President Obama spoke about the urgent need for Congress to act now on two common sense measures to help hardworking middle class families.  Unless Congress takes action in the next week, thousands of workers will be sent home from their jobs and millions of students will see their interest rates double. At a time when hundreds of thousands of construction workers are eager to get back on the job, it makes no sense to let transportation funding run out. And at a time when a college education has never been more important to finding a good job, it makes no sense to hit 7.4 million students with the equivalent of a $1,000 tax. It’s not too late, but time is running out for Republicans and Democrats to come together on these common sense measures to help our nation recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
Washington, DC
June 23, 2012

Over the past three years, we’ve been clawing our way back from the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes.  And we know it will take longer than any of us would like to fully recover all the jobs and savings that have been lost.  But there are things we can do – right now – to help put people back to work and make life a little easier for middle-class families.

For months, I’ve been pushing Congress to help us along by passing common-sense policies that would make a difference.  Democrats and Republicans have already done some important work together – like passing a tax cut that’s allowing working Americans to keep more of their paycheck every week.   But Congress has refused to act on most of the other ideas in my jobs plan that economists say could put a million more Americans back to work.

There’s no excuse for inaction.  Right now, we are seven days away from thousands of American workers having to walk off the job because Congress hasn’t passed a transportation bill.  We are eight days away from nearly seven and a half million students seeing their loan rates double because Congress hasn’t acted to stop it.

This makes no sense.  We know that one of the most important things we can do for our economy is to make sure that all Americans get the best education possible.  Right now, the unemployment rate for Americans with a college degree or more is about half the national average.  Their incomes are twice as high as those who don’t have a high school diploma.  So, if we know that a higher education is the clearest path to the middle class, why would we make it harder to achieve?

So much of America needs to be repaired right now.  Bridges are deteriorating after years of neglect. Highways are choked with congestion. Transportation delays cost Americans and businesses billions of dollars every year. And there are hundreds of thousands of construction workers who have never been more eager to get back on the job.  So why would we let our transportation funding run out?  This is a time when we should be doing everything in our power – Democrats and Republicans – to keep this recovery moving forward.

My Administration is doing its part.  On Friday, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced $500 million in competitive grants for states and communities that will create construction jobs on projects like road repair and port renovation.  And that’s an important step, but we can’t do it all on our own.

The Senate did their part.  They passed a bipartisan transportation bill back in March.  It had the support of 52 Democrats and 22 Republicans.

Now, it’s up to the House to follow suit; to put aside partisan posturing, end the gridlock, and do what’s right for the American people.

It’s not lost on any of us that this is an election year.  But we’ve got responsibilities that are bigger than an election.  We answer to the American people, and they are demanding action.  Let’s make it easier for students to stay in college.  Let’s keep construction workers rebuilding our roads and bridges.  And let’s tell Congress to do their job.   Tell them it’s time to take steps that we know will create jobs now and help sustain our economy for years to come.

Political Headlines June 23, 2012: GOP Weekly Address: Rep. Bill Cassidy, M.D. on Jobs & Repealing ObamaCare




GOP Address: Rep. Bill Cassidy, M.D. on Jobs & Repealing ObamaCare

Source: ABC News Radio, 6-23-12

In this week’s Republican address, Rep. Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) describes the Republicans’ goals on fully repealing the president’s health care law, ObamaCare.

Cassidy says, “Unless the court throws out the entire law, we should repeal what is left and implement common-sense, step-by-step reforms that protect Americans’ access to the care they need, from the doctor they choose, at the lowest cost.”

“In this tough economy, the top health care concern of families and small businesses is out-of-control costs. Health care coverage has become too expensive for too many people,” he adds.

Ultimately, Cassidy feels a completely different law needs to be in place “to lower the cost of health care for families and small businesses.”

Full Text Obama Presidency June 22, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech on Immigration to Latino Leaders at the NALEO Annual Conference in Orlando





Obama Swipes at Romney in Address to Latino Officials

Source: ABC News Radio, 6-22-12


It was billed as an “official” presidential speech on policy, but President Obama thrust election year politics front and center at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials annual conference today – including direct attacks on GOP rival Mitt Romney.

“Yesterday your featured speaker came here and said that the election in November isn’t about two people; it’s not about being a Republican or Democrat or an independent; it is about the future of America. And while we’ve got a lot of differences, he and I, on this point, I could not agree more,” Obama said at the top of his remarks.

But then the president framed the 2012 race as a stark choice, with high economic stakes for Latinos and the middle class….READ MORE

Remarks by the President at the NALEO Annual Conference

Walt Disney World Resort
Orlando, Florida

1:43 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Gracias!  (Applause.)  Thank you so much.  Thank you.  Everybody please have a seat.  Ah, it is good to be back at NALEO.  Qué placer estar aquí con tantos amigos.  (Applause.)  It is wonderful to see a lot of good friends from all across the country.  It is nice to be at Disney World.  This is now the second time I’ve come to Disney World without my daughters.  They are not happy with me.  (Laughter.)

I want to thank Secretary Solis for the introduction, and for her hard work.  She is one of the best Labor Secretaries we have ever had and she is thinking about you each and every day.  (Applause.)  I want to thank Sylvia and Arturo for their outstanding leadership.  Arturo, happy early birthday.  (Applause.)  I will not sing — don’t worry.  (Laughter.)  Welcome to the other side of the hill.  (Laughter.)

And it is especially good to have Ambassador Mari Carmen Aponte here with us.  We are very proud of her.  (Applause.)  When the Senate refused to confirm Mari, I sent her to El Salvador anyway — (laughter) — because I knew she was going to do an outstanding job.  And she has.  And I’m glad to see the Senate finally confirmed her last week.  So she’s now official.  (Applause.)

Last but not least, I want to thank all of you.  It’s always nice to get out of Washington.  It’s nice to get a little Florida sunshine.  But it’s especially nice to see folks who have devoted themselves to serving their communities and their country — who’ve dedicated themselves to making people’s lives just a little bit better each and every day, at every level — school board, state legislatures, county boards.  You guys are where the rubber hits the road.  And I’ve had a chance to see many of you in your local communities and hear the stories of all your efforts and all your hopes and all your dreams — and also some of your frustrations and the hardships that are taking place.

Yesterday, your featured speaker came here and said that the election in November isn’t about two people.  It’s not about being a Republican or a Democrat or an independent.  It is about the future of America.  And while we’ve got a lot of differences, he and I, on this point I could not agree more.  This is about America’s future.  The defining issue of our time is whether we carry forward the promise that has drawn generations of immigrants to our shores, from every corner of the globe, sometimes at great risk — men and women drawn by the promise that no matter who you are, no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, no matter what your last name, this is a place where you can make it if you try.  This is a place where you can make it if you try.

And whether our ancestors arrived on the Mayflower or were brought here on slave ships, whether they signed in at Ellis Island or they crossed the Rio Grande, their diversity has not only enriched this country, it helped build the greatest economic engine the world has ever known.

Hungry people, striving people, dreamers, risk-takers.  People don’t come here looking for handouts.  We are a nation of strivers and climbers and entrepreneurs — the hardest-working people on Earth.  And nobody personifies these American values, these American traits, more than the Latino community.  That’s the essence of who you are.  (Applause.)

All we ask for is that hard work pays off, that responsibility is rewarded, so that if these men and women put in enough effort, they can find a good job, own their own home, send their kids to college — let their kids dream even bigger  — put away a little bit for retirement, not go bankrupt when you get sick.

And I ran for this office because for more than a decade, that dream had been slipping away from too many Americans.  Before I even took office, the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes pushed it even further from reach — particularly for a lot of Latino communities, which had already faced higher unemployment and higher poverty rates.

So the question is not whether we need to do better.  Of course the economy isn’t where it needs to be.  Of course there’s still too many who struggle.  We’ve got so much more work to do.  But the question is:  How do we make the economy grow faster?  How do we create more jobs?  How do we create more opportunity?  The question is:  What vision are we going to stand up for?  Who are we going to fight for?

That’s what we have to decide right now.  That’s what this election is about.  Who are we fighting for?  What vision of America do we believe in?

If America is about anything, it’s about passing on even greater opportunity to our children.  It’s about education.  And that’s why I expanded Pell Grants — which will give an additional 150,000 children in the Latino community a chance to go to college.  (Applause.)  That’s why I’ve invested in our community colleges, which are a gateway to a good job for so many Hispanic Americans — Americans of every stripe.  (Applause.)

That’s why schools in almost every state — some in the toughest neighborhoods around — have answered our challenge to raise their standards for teaching and learning — not by teaching to a test, but by expanding creativity, and improving curriculums, and focusing more on kids who are hardest to reach so that we give every child a fighting chance.  That’s part of the vision of America that we believe in.

In this country, we believe that if you want to take a risk on a new idea, you should have the chance to succeed.  And you shouldn’t have to have wealthy parents in order to be successful.  Latino-owned businesses have been the fastest-growing small businesses, and we’ve cut their taxes 18 times.  (Applause.)  We’ve expanded new loans and new credit so they can grow and they can hire.  That’s the vision we believe in.

In America, we believe you shouldn’t go broke because you get sick.  Hardworking people out there — sometimes two jobs, three jobs — still don’t have health insurance.  If you did have health insurance, insurance companies were able to discriminate against certain patients.  That was wrong.  It was wrong to let insurance companies just jack up premiums for no reason, and to have millions of working Americans uninsured —  with the Latino community having the highest rate of uninsured of any community in the country.

So after a century of trying, we finally passed reform that will make health care affordable and available for every American.  (Applause.)  That was the right thing to do.  That was the right thing to do.  That was the right thing to do.  (Applause.)

Now, we’re not done yet.  We’ve got more to do.  We need to put more good teachers in our classrooms.  (Applause.)  We need to get colleges and universities to bring down the cost of tuition to make it more affordable for more young people.  (Applause.)

We need to invest in new research and innovation — especially new sources of energy and high-tech manufacturing.  We need to put people back to work rebuilding our roads and our highways and our runways.  Construction jobs can have a huge ripple effect in communities all across the country.  And nobody knows it better than state and local officials.  You know the difference it makes.  And with the housing bubble bursting, we’ve got tens of thousands of construction workers just ready and eager to get to work.

We need to give families in hard-hit housing markets like Florida and Nevada the chance to refinance and save $3,000 a year on their mortgage.  That’s good for those families.  It’s good for the housing market.  It’s good for the surrounding community.  There’s no reason why Congress hasn’t already done it.  (Applause.)

Instead of just talking a big game about “job creators,” we should give small business owners a tax break for hiring more workers or for paying higher wages.  Instead of rewarding companies that ship jobs overseas, we should take that money and use it to cover moving expenses for companies who are bringing jobs back to America.  (Applause.)

On almost every issue of concern to your community, to every community, what’s holding us back isn’t a lack of big ideas.  It’s not a lack of technical solutions.  By now, just about every policy and proposal has been laid out on the table.  What’s holding us back is a stalemate — a stalemate in Washington between two fundamentally different views of which direction we should go.

The Republicans who run Congress, the man at the top of their ticket, they don’t agree with any of the proposals I just talked about.  They believe the best way to grow the economy is from the top down.  So they want to roll back regulations, and give insurance companies and credit card companies and mortgage lenders even more power to do as they please.  They want to spend $5 trillion on new tax cuts — including a 25-percent tax cut for every millionaire in the country.  And they want to pay for it by raising middle-class taxes and gutting middle-class priorities like education and training and health care and medical research.

And that’s it.  That’s it.  That’s their economic plan.  When they tell you they can do better, that’s their idea of doing better.  When they tell you they know how to fix the economy, that’s exactly how they plan to do it.  And I think they’re wrong.  I think they’re wrong.  (Applause.)

In this country, prosperity has never come from the top down — it comes from a strong and growing middle class, and creating ladders of opportunity for all those who are striving to get into the middle class.  It comes from successful, thriving small businesses that over time grow into medium-size and then large businesses.

We don’t need more top-down economics.  What we need is a better plan for education and training, and energy independence, and innovation, and infrastructure that can rebuild America.  What we need is a tax code that encourages companies to create jobs and manufacturing here in the United States, and, yes, asks the wealthiest Americans to help pay down the deficit.  (Applause.)  That’s what’s needed.  (Applause.)

And what’s also needed is immigration reform that finally lives up to our heritage as a nation of laws and as a nation of immigrants, and continues the American story of renewal and energy and dynamism that’s made us who we are.  (Applause.)

I mean, think about it.  You and I both know one of America’s greatest strengths has always been our ability to attract talented, hardworking people who believe in this country, who want to help make it stronger.  That’s what keeps us young.  That’s what keeps us dynamic and energized.  That’s what makes us who we are.

But our current immigration system doesn’t reflect those values.  It allows the best and brightest to study here, but then tells them to leave, start companies somewhere else.  It punishes immigrants and businesses who play by the rules, and fails to address the fact that there are too many who don’t.  It separates families and it denies innocent young people the chance to earn an education or serve in the uniform of the country they love.

Now, once again, the problem is not the lack of technical solutions.  We know what the solutions are to this challenge.  Just six years ago, an unlikely trio — John McCain, Ted Kennedy, President Bush — came together to champion comprehensive immigration reform.  (Applause.)  I, along with a lot of Democrats, were proud to join 23 Senate Republicans in voting for it.  Today, those same Republicans have been driven away from the table by a small faction of their own party.  It’s created the same kind of stalemate on immigration reform that we’re seeing on a whole range of other economic issues.  And it has given rise to a patchwork of state laws that cause more problems than they solve and are often doing more harm than good.  (Applause.)

Now, this makes no sense.  It’s not good for America.  And as long as I am President of the United States, I will not give up the fight to change it.

In the face of a Congress that refuses to do anything on immigration, I’ve said that I’ll take action wherever I can.  So my administration has been doing what we can, without the help in Congress, for more than three years now.  And last week, we took another step.  On Friday, we announced that we’re lifting the shadow of deportation from deserving young people who were brought to this country as children.  (Applause.)

We should have passed the DREAM Act a long time ago.  It was written by members of both parties.  When it came up for a vote a year and a half ago, Republicans in Congress blocked it.  The bill hadn’t changed.  The need hadn’t changed.  The only thing that had changed was politics.  (Applause.)  The need had not changed.  The bill hadn’t changed — written with Republicans.  The only thing that had changed was politics.  And I refused to keep looking young people in the eye, deserving young people in the eye, and tell them, tough luck, the politics is too hard.

I’ve met these young people all across the country.  They’re studying in our schools.  They’re playing with our children, pledging allegiance to our flag, hoping to serve our country.  They are Americans in their hearts, in their minds. They are Americans through and through — in every single way but on paper.  And all they want is to go to college and give back to the country they love.  (Applause.)  So lifting the shadow of deportation and giving them a reason to hope — that was the right thing to do.  It was the right thing to do.  (Applause.)

It’s not amnesty.  It falls short of where we need to be –a path to citizenship.  It’s not a permanent fix.  This is a temporary measure that lets us focus our resources wisely while offering some justice to these young people.  But it’s precisely because it’s temporary, Congress still needs to come up with a long-term immigration solution — rather than argue that we did this the wrong way or for the wrong reasons.

So to those who are saying Congress should be the one to fix this — absolutely.  For those who say we should do this in a bipartisan fashion — absolutely.  My door has been open for three and a half years.  They know where to find me.  (Laughter.)

I’ve said time and again:  Send me the DREAM Act; I will sign it right away.  (Applause.)  And I’m still willing to work with anyone from either party who is committed to real reform.  But in the meantime, the question we should consider is this:  Was providing these young people with the opportunity for a temporary measure of relief the right thing to do?


THE PRESIDENT:  I think it was.  It’s long past time that we gave them a sense of hope.

Your speaker from yesterday has a different view.  In his speech, he said that when he makes a promise to you, he’ll keep it.  Well, he has promised to veto the DREAM Act, and we should take him at his word.  (Applause.)  I’m just saying.  (Laughter and applause.)

And I believe that would be a tragic mistake.  You do, too.

On all these issues — on the investments we need to grow the middle class and leave a better future for our kids, on deficit reduction that’s fair and balanced, on immigration reform, on consumer financial protection so that people aren’t exploited, whether at a payday loan shop or if they’re sending remittances back to their families — on all these issues, Washington has a long way to go to catch up with the rest of the country.

The whole idea behind the DREAM Act, after all, was inspired by a music teacher in Illinois.  She decided to call her Senator, Dick Durbin, when she discovered that one of her own students was forced to live in the shadows.  But even as that idea fell prey to gridlock and game-playing in Washington, it gained momentum in the rest of the country:  From every student who marched and organized to keep their classmates from being deported; from every parent who discovered the truth about the child down the street and chose to stand up for them — because these are all our kids; from every American who stood up and spoke out across the country because they saw a wrong and wanted it to be righted; who put their shoulder to the wheel and moved us a little closer towards justice.

That’s what has always moved us forward.  It doesn’t start in Washington.  It starts with a million quiet heroes who love their country and believe they can change it.

We all have different backgrounds.  We all have different political beliefs.  The Latino community is not monolithic; the African American community is not all of one mind.  This is a big country.  And sometimes, in tough times, in a country this big and busy, especially during a political year, those differences are cast in a bright spotlight.

But I ran for this office because I am absolutely convinced that what binds us together has always proven stronger than what drives us apart.  We are one people.  We need one another.  (Applause.)  Our patriotism is rooted not in race, not in ethnicity, not in creed; it is based on a shared belief in the enduring and permanent promise of America.

That’s the promise that draws so many talented, driven people to these shores.  That’s the promise that drew my own father here.  That’s the promise that drew your parents or grandparents or great grandparents — generations of people who dreamed of a place where knowledge and opportunity were available to anybody who was willing to work for it, anybody who was willing to seize it.  A place where there was no limit to how far you could go, how high you could climb.

They took a chance.  And America embraced their drive and embraced their courage — said, “Come, you’re welcome.”  This is who we are.

Every single day I walk into the Oval Office, every day that I have this extraordinary privilege of being your President, I will always remember that in no other nation on Earth could my story even be possible.  (Applause.)  That’s something I celebrate.

That’s what drives me, in every decision I make, to try and widen the circle of opportunity, to fight for that big and generous and optimistic country we inherited, to carry that dream forward for generations to come.  Because when I meet these young people, all throughout communities, I see myself.  Who knows what they might achieve.  I see my daughters and my nieces and my nephews.  Who knows what they might achieve if we just give them a chance?

That’s what I’m fighting for.  That’s what I stand for.

This fight will not always be easy.  It hasn’t always been easy.  It will not happen overnight.  Our history has been one where that march towards justice and freedom and equality has taken time.  There will always be plenty of stubborn opposition in the way that says: “No, you can’t.” “No, you shouldn’t.”  “Don’t even try.”

But America was built by people who said something different — who said:  “Yes, we can.”  Who said, “Sí, se puede.”  (Applause.)  And as long as I have the privilege of being your President, I will be alongside you, fighting for the country that we together dream of.  (Applause.)

God bless you.  Thank you, NALEO.  (Applause.)  God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)

2:11 P.M. EDT

Full Text Campaign Buzz June 22, 2012: GOP Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney’s Speech on Immigration to Latino Leaders at the NALEO Annual Conference in Orlando







Romney Rips Obama’s Immigration Approach in Speech to Latinos: In a high-profile address to Latinos on Thursday, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said President Obama had “failed to address immigration reform” after promising to do so during the 2008 campaign and vowed that, if elected, he would enact comprehensive measures that would enable families to remain together and improve economically.
“I will work with Republicans and Democrats to build a long-term solution,” Romney said in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., to scattered applause from the audience. “I will prioritize efforts that strengthen legal immigration and make it more transparent and easier. And I will address the problem of illegal immigration in a civil but resolute manner. We may not always agree, but when I make a promise to you, I will keep it.”
Romney’s much-anticipated address to the annual conference held by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) came at a time when Obama’s advantage with Latinos appears to be growing…. – ABC News Radio, 6-21-12

  • Romney’s immigration promises hard to deliver: Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, speaks at the NALEO (National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials) conference in Orlando…. – AP, 6-21-12
  • Mitt Romney immigration policy: Will it win some Latino voters? (+video): In an address to Latino officials Thursday, Mitt Romney softened his tone as he laid out immigration policy. But he still won’t say whether he would first overturn Obama’s new policy to help young illegal immigrants…. – CS Monitor, 6-22-12
  • Romney reaches out to Latinos: Mitt Romney offered a family-friendly approach to the nation’s immigration woes in his first general-election outreach to Latino voters, but the modest steps that he sketched underscored the political pull-and-tug the issue has…. – LAT, 6-21-12
  • Romney Exhibits a Change in Tone on Immigration: Mitt Romney struck a more conciliatory tone toward illegal immigrants on Thursday than he took during the Republican primary season, but he backed only limited steps to address the concerns of many Hispanic voters as he … NYT, 6-21-12
  • Mitt Romney seeks ‘common ground’ on immigration issue: If elected president, Mitt Romney said in a speech to Latino officials Thursday, he will strive to “find common ground” on the issue of immigration, which has stymied presidents of both parties. Reactions from groups on both sides of the issue Thursday…. – USA Today, 6-21-12
  • Mitt Romney tries to soften image among Hispanic voters: Mitt Romney, who courted conservative Republican primary voters with hard-line opposition to illegal immigration, took a first step Thursday toward trying to soften his image among skeptical Hispanic voters — pledging to speak in a “civil and…. – WaPo, 6-21-12

Remarks To NALEO: “Growing Opportunity For All Americans”

Source: Mitt Romney, 6-21-12

Thank you for inviting me to your annual conference. It’s an honor to be here among so many dedicated elected leaders.

I come to you today as a candidate for President of the United States of America. I will govern from the principle that while this is a land of extraordinary diversity, there is much more that unites us than divides us. Though each of us walks a different path in life, we are united by one great, overwhelming passion: We love America. We believe in America.  We are one nation, under God.

Today, we are united not only by our faith in America. We are united also by our concern for America.

This country we love is in peril. That is why I am running for President.

Almost four years ago, Americans did something that was very much the sort of thing Americans like to do: We gave someone new a chance to lead; someone we hadn’t known for very long, who didn’t have much of a record but promised to lead us to a better place.

At the time, we didn’t know what sort of a President he would make. It was a moment of crisis for our economy, and when Barack Obama came to office, America wished him well and hoped for the best.

Three and a half years later, over 23 million Americans are out of work, underemployed or have just quit looking for work.  At a time when we should be gaining momentum, we’re losing it.  Job growth has slowed and this week, we learned that the number of job openings has fallen again.

Hispanics have been hit disproportionately hard.  While national unemployment is still above 8%, Hispanic unemployment is at 11%.

The middle class has been crushed under President Obama. More Americans are living in poverty today than at any point in history. Over two million more Hispanics are living in poverty today than the day President Obama took office.

Home values have plunged, our national debt is at record levels and families are buried under higher prices for food and gasoline.

And yet our President says the private sector is doing fine. This is more than a policy failure; it is a moral failure.

Now, I know the President will say that he inherited an economic crisis.  But we shouldn’t allow the challenges he faced four years ago to divert our attention from another important fact:  The President pursued policies that have made this the slowest recovery since the Great Depression.  And he broke promises many were counting on to build a brighter future.

It did not have to be this way.

Just compare this President’s record with Ronald Reagan’s first term.  President Reagan also faced an economic crisis.  In fact, in 1982, the unemployment rate peaked at nearly 11 percent. But in the two years that followed, he delivered a true recovery – economic growth and job creation were three times higher than in the Obama Economy.

If President Obama had delivered a real recovery – a Reagan recovery – we would have five million more jobs today. The unemployment rate would be about six percent. And our economy would be at least one trillion dollars larger.

Tomorrow, President Obama will speak here, for the first time since his last campaign. He may admit that he hasn’t kept every promise. And he’ll probably say that, even though you aren’t better off today than you were four years ago, things could be worse. He’ll imply that you really don’t have an alternative. He’s taking your vote for granted.

I’ve come here today with a simple message: You do have an alternative.  Your vote should be respected.  And your voice is more important now than ever before.

This November, we’ll make a choice.  We can continue along the path we’re on – or we can choose a better way.

Instead of continuing with the policies of the last three and a half years, we can revitalize our free-enterprise economy.  We can lead the world in what we invent and build and create. And let me make this very clear—this is the only way we can strengthen the middle class.  And this is the only way we can create sustained prosperity. Raising taxes to grow government does not grow the middle class.

Today, I am asking you to join me because, while we may not agree on everything, we share the same goal, the same vision, and the same belief in American greatness that draws so many to our shores.  Liberty’s torch can burn just as brightly for future generations of immigrants as it has burned for immigrants past.

We know our businesses can’t succeed, grow, and hire more workers without a more competitive tax code. That’s why I will lower our corporate tax rate, and reduce individual marginal rates by 20 percent, across the board.

We also know that our businesses and families need affordable and reliable energy.  Producing more of our energy resources will create jobs in America and generate greater revenues for America.  It will also help bring manufacturing back to our shores.

We know our economy can’t grow if we’re mortgaging our future to pay for the big government programs of today.  As President, I will rein in spending and balance the budget.  And I will repeal Obamacare.  We cannot afford another $2 trillion entitlement.  Obamacare depresses job growth.  In one study, 73 percent of business owners said that Obamacare has made it harder for them to hire people.  Repealing Obamacare and replacing it will give businesses the certainty they need to hire, expand, and grow.

We can also jumpstart our economy by expanding trade in our hemisphere.  Yet, the President has not completed a single new trade agreement with Latin America.  And he’s failed to crack down on countries like China that don’t follow the rules.

We know our kids can’t succeed if they’re trapped in failing schools. That’s why, as President, I will give the parents of every low-income and special-needs student the chance to choose where their child goes to school.  When it comes to education, a choice for every parent means a chance for every child.

An effective immigration system can also strengthen our economy, as it has since the nation’s founding.

Unfortunately, despite his promises, President Obama has failed to address immigration reform.

For two years, this President had huge majorities in the House and Senate – he was free to pursue any policy he pleased.  But he did nothing to advance a permanent fix for our broken immigration system. Instead, he failed to act until facing a tough re-election and trying to secure your vote.

Last week, the President finally offered a temporary measure that he seems to think will be just enough to get him through the election.  After three and a half years of putting every issue from loan guarantees for his donors to Cash For Clunkers before immigration, now the President has been seized by an overwhelming need to do what he could have done on Day One.  I think you deserve better.

Some people have asked if I will let stand the President’s executive action. The answer is that I will put in place my own long-term solution that will replace and supersede the President’s temporary measure.

As President, I won’t settle for a stop-gap measure.  I will work with Republicans and Democrats to find a long-term solution.  I will prioritize measures that strengthen legal immigration and make it easier. And I will address the problem of illegal immigration in a civil but resolute manner. We may not always agree, but when I make a promise to you, I will keep it.

Let me speak to a few principles that will guide me.

As I have said many times, it is critical that we redouble our efforts to secure the borders. That means both preventing illegal border crossings and making it harder to illegally overstay a visa.  We should field enough border patrol agents, complete a high-tech fence, and implement an improved exit verification system.

Our immigration system should help promote strong families, not keep them apart.  Our nation benefits when moms and dads and their kids are all living together under the same roof.  But, today, too many families are caught in a broken system that costs them time and money and entangles them in red tape.  For those seeking to come to America the right way, that kind of bureaucratic nightmare has to end.  And we can do this with just a few common-sense reforms.

As President, I will reallocate Green Cards to those seeking to keep their families under one roof.  We will exempt from caps the spouses and minor children of legal permanent residents.  And we will eliminate other forms of bureaucratic red tape that keep families from being together.

Immigration reform is not just a moral imperative, but an economic necessity as well.  Immigrants with advanced degrees start companies, create jobs, and drive innovation at a high rate.  Immigrants founded or cofounded nearly half of our 50 top venture-backed companies.  They are nearly 30 percent more likely to start a business.  And that kind of risk taking is something we need more than ever because new business starts are now at a 30-year low.

I will work with states and employers to update our temporary worker visa program so that it meets our economic needs.

And if you get an advanced degree here, we want you to stay here – so we will staple a green card to your diploma. We want the best and brightest to enrich the nation through the jobs and technologies they will help create.

We also have a strong tradition in this country of honoring immigrants who join our military and put their lives on the line to keep this country safe. Since September 11, 2001, the United States has naturalized almost 75,000 members of the Armed Forces. Too many of these patriots died on distant battlefields for our freedom before receiving full citizenship here in the country they called “home.”

As President, I will stand for a path to legal status for anyone who is willing to stand up and defend this great nation through military service. Those who have risked their lives in defense of America have earned the right to make their life in America.

But improving access to legal immigration is only one part of the equation. We must also make legal immigration more attractive than illegal immigration, so that people are rewarded for waiting patiently in line. That’s why my administration will establish a strong employment verification system so that every business can know with confidence that the people it hires are legally eligible for employment.

We can find common ground here, and we must. We owe it to ourselves as Americans to ensure that our country remains a land of opportunity – both for those who were born here and for those who share our values, respect our laws, and want to come to our shores.

I’ve spoken often about how proud I am of my father.  He was born to American parents living in Mexico. When he was five, they left everything behind, and started over in the United States.

His dad – my grandfather – was a builder who went bust more than once. My grandfather didn’t make much money.  There were times in my dad’s life when he lived in poverty.   But my grandfather had big hopes for my dad, and tried to help him as best he could.

My Dad didn’t finish college. But he believed in a country where the circumstances of one’s birth were not a barrier to achievement – and he wasn’t afraid of hard work.  He held odd jobs – lath and plaster and selling paint.  He was lucky enough to live in America, where hard work can turn aspirations into realities. And he became the leader of a great car company and the governor of a great state.

This is my father’s story – but it could be any American’s. Most of you here today are leaders in your community. You are here because you have benefitted from this land of opportunity, and you want to give back to this country, to fight for its people, so that they have the same chance to succeed.

We are truly one America. Everyone here has made this exceptional nation what it is today.

This isn’t an election about two people.  This isn’t an election about being a Republican, Democrat, or an independent.  This is an election about the future of America.  I would ask each of you to look at the last three and a half years, and ask whether we can do better.

Is the America of 11% Hispanic unemployment the America of our dreams?  I know we can do better.  We can prosper again, with the powerful recovery we have all been waiting for, the good jobs that so many still need, and, above all, the opportunities we owe to our children and grandchildren.

Thank you all, and God bless America.

Full Text Obama Presidency June 21, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech on College Affordability and Student Loan Interest Rates — Urges Congress to Act to Renew Rates





President Barack Obama delivers a statement on college affordability (June 21, 2012)
President Barack Obama, with Education Secretary Arne Duncan, delivers a statement on college affordability and interest rates on student loans, in the East Room of the White House, June 21, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Obama, GOP Clash over Student Loans: President Obama on Thursday demanded that lawmakers act to prevent interest rates on student loans from doubling on July 1, saying it was “mind-boggling” that the stalemate has lasted this long.
“This should be a no-brainer. It should not be difficult. It should have gotten done weeks ago,” the president told students, parents and educators at the White House. “There’s still 10 days for Congress to do the right thing. I understand that members of both parties say they want to get this done and there are conversations taking place, but they haven’t done it yet. And we’ve got to keep the pressure on.”
Both Republicans and Democrats believe the subsidized Stafford loan rates should not be doubled from the current 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent and agree the current rates should be extended for at least another year. But the sides cannot agree to how to pay for the $6 billion bill…. – ABC News Radio, 6-21-12

  • Obama, GOP Clash over Student Loans: President Obama on Thursday demanded that lawmakers act to prevent interest rates on student loans from doubling on July 1, saying it was “mind-boggling” that the stalemate has lasted this long…. – WTMA, 6-21-12
  • Obama urges students, parents to pressure Congress on student loans issue: With slightly more than a week left before student loan rates double for millions of Americans on July 1, President Obama on Thursday urged students and their parents to continue to press for congressional action. It was the second time in as many…. – WaPo, 6-21-12
  • Obama urges Congress to stop interest rates on student loans: President Obama is urging Congress to stop interest rates on student loans from doubling on July 1, calling it a ‘”no-brainer.” If Congress doesn’t act, interest rates on new loans will double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent come July…. – WaPo, 6-21-12
  • Obama, GOP fight over student loans as young people struggle: The clock is ticking down to the day when new student loan interest rates are expected to double, and President Obama made his latest appeal to Congress today to extend the current low rate. If Congress doesn’t act by July 1, the interest…. – CBS News, 6-21-12
  • Political squabbling over student loans continues: With time running out for Congress to prevent a doubling of interest rates on federal student loans, the White House and Republican leaders exchanged accusations Thursday on who was to blame for the lack of an agreement…. – CNN, 6-21-12
  • Obama accuses GOP of ‘playing chicken’ with loan program: President Obama said today that Republicans are “playing chicken” with a low-interest student loan program, and urged college students to pressure the GOP in advance of a July 1 deadline. “We cannot afford to price the…. – USA Today, 6-21-12
  • Obama’s day: More on student loans: President Obama focuses on the student loan issue. After a series of meetings in the morning, Obama will deliver remarks urging Congress to renew a low interest student loan program…. – USA Today, 6-21-12

President Obama Again Pushes Congress to Act on Student Loans

Source: WH, 6-21-12

Time is running out for Congress to take actions to stop the rates on federal student loans from doubling on July 1.

That’s why President Obama spoke today from the East Room of the White House about the importance of keeping college affordable.

“If Congress does not get this done in a week, the average student with federal student loans will rack up an additional $1,000 in debt over the coming year,” he said. “If Congress fails to act, more than 7 million students will suddenly be hit with the equivalent of a $1,000 tax hike. And that’s not something that you can afford right now.”

In his remarks, the President also stressed the importance of taking this step for the broader economy. It’s not just that those students will suddenly have less money to spend — it’s that we need to have the best educated workforce in the world, and keeping higher education affordable helps to make that possible.

Remarks by the President on College Affordability

East Room

1:36 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you, everybody.  Thank you.  Everybody have a seat.  (Applause.)  Well, it is good to see all of you.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love you!

THE PRESIDENT:  I love you guys back.  (Laughter.)  I have to say, the — I don’t know about the choice of music coming in here, though.  (Laughter.)  I love my Marine Band, but this is kind of a young demographic for the piano cocktail hour.  (Laughter.)

So some of the most fun I’ve had as President is when I get a chance to talk with you, college students, about the importance of earning a higher education in today’s economy.  And I’ll admit that the East Room isn’t as rowdy as Carmichael Arena at UNC, or — we got any UNC folks here in the house?  There we go.  Coors Center at CU Boulder — any — no?  Okay.  (Laughter.)  I have to say that most of you are much more dressed up than usually when I see you in your own natural habitats.  (Laughter.)

But our message today is serious.  Right now, the unemployment rate for Americans with a college degree or more is about half the national average.  They earn twice as much as those who don’t have a high school diploma.  So whether it’s at a four-year college, or a community college, or a technical program, some form of higher education, something beyond high school has never been more important.  It’s the surest path to finding a good job, earning a good salary, making it into the middle class.

And at the same time, over the last two decades, the cost of college has doubled — it’s actually more than doubled.  And that means — and I don’t have to tell you, because you’re probably tallying it up right now — the cost for you to take out loans has increased, and you are more likely to rack up more debt.  The average student who borrows to pay for college now graduates with about $26,000 of debt from their student loans.  Americans as a whole now owe more on student loans than they do on their credit cards.  And that is wrong, because we cannot afford to price the middle class and folks who aspire to go into the middle class, we can’t price them out of the college education market.  We can’t stand by when millions of young people are already saddled with debt just as you’re starting off.

Your parents, your grandparents, oftentimes they were in a position where when they got that first job, the first thing they’re thinking about is, how do I save to buy a home and start a family.  And if you’re already dealing with a big bunch of debt before you even get started, that’s a problem.  And it’s mind-boggling that we’ve had this stalemate in Washington that threatens to make the situation even worse.

So the reason you’re all here, the reason all these fine-looking young people behind me are here is that in just over a week the interest rates on federal student loans are scheduled to double.  I’ve been talking about this now for what — a month and a half, two months, three months, five months — I’ve lost track. (Laughter.)  We’ve been talking about it for a long time.  If Congress does not get this done in a week, the average student with federal student loans will rack up an additional $1,000 in debt over the coming year.  If Congress fails to act, more than 7 million students will suddenly be hit with the equivalent of a $1,000 tax hike.  And that’s not something that you can afford right now.

Now, as I said, if this warning sounds familiar, we’ve been talking about this for months.  Congress has had the time to fix this for months.  It’s part of the reason why everybody here looks impatient.  (Laughter.)  This issue didn’t come out of nowhere; it’s been looming for months.  But we’ve been stuck watching Congress play chicken with another deadline.  So we’re  nine days away from thousands of American workers having to walk off their job because Congress hasn’t passed a transportation bill.  We’re 10 days away from nearly 7.5 million students seeing their loan rates double because Congress hasn’t acted.  This should be a no-brainer.  It should not be difficult.  It should’ve gotten done weeks ago.

Now, the good news is there are folks in Congress trying to do the right thing.  Last month, Democrats in the Senate put forward a plan that would have kept these rates in place without adding a dime to the deficit.  Unfortunately, Senate Republicans got together and blocked it.  Over in the House, the Republicans said they’d keep these rates down only if we agreed to cut things like preventive health care for women, which obviously wouldn’t fix the problem, but would create a new problem.

This is — even as they were voting in lockstep for an economic plan that would cut financial aid for nine million college students by an average of $1,000 and give a $150,000 tax cut to wealthy Americans.  So I recognize that there’s been some effort to change the subject from this rate hike.

One Congressman warned that this is all about giving college students “free college education” — which doesn’t make much sense, because the definition of a loan is it’s not free — (laughter) — you have to pay it back.  Others have said we’re just talking about student loans to distract from the economy.  That doesn’t make much sense because this is the economy.

This is all about the economy.  This is all about whether or not we are going to have the best-trained, best-educated workforce in the world.  That improves our economy.  And higher education cannot be a luxury reserved just for a privileged few. It’s an economic necessity for every family, and every family should be able to afford it.

So you guys, during this period when you’ve been in college have been some of the toughest economic times since the 1930s,  and there are still a lot of challenges ahead globally.  And we can’t control every economic headwind that we face, but this is something we can control.  This is something we can do something about.  Stopping student rates from doubling at the end of the month is something we can do right now to make a difference in the lives of all the American people.

There’s still 10 days for Congress to do the right thing.  I understand that members of both parties say they want to get this done, and there are conversations taking place, but they haven’t done it yet.  And we’ve got to keep the pressure on.

That’s where all of you come in.  Over the past few months, there are so many students and parents who have been working hard to shine a light on this issue.  You’ve rallied on campuses, in your communities.  You’ve called, you’ve emailed, you’ve tweeted your representatives in Washington.  So you’ve played your part in making sure your voice is heard and your democracy is responsive.

My main message is, as you guys embark on this day of action, I want to make sure you keep this going.  Don’t stop until it’s actually done.  There is nothing more powerful than millions of voices that are calling for change, and all of your voices can make a difference.  So keep telling Congress to do what’s right, to get this done.  Tell them now is not the time to double interest rates on your student loans.  Tell them to double down on an investment in a strong and secure middle class — and that means your education.  Tell them now is the time to double down on an America where everybody who works hard has a fair shot at success.

And for those who are not here and are watching, if you tweet, use the hashtag #dontdoublemyrate — (laughter) — #dontdoublemyrate.  But I tell you, when I look out at this group right here, you give me confidence in America.  You make me optimistic, not only because you’re getting a great education, but also because all of you are participating and making sure that this democracy works the way it’s supposed to.  We need outstanding engineers, and we need outstanding nonprofit leaders, and we need outstanding entrepreneurs, but we also need outstanding citizens.  And that’s what you guys are displaying by your presence and your activities.

So, keep it up.  Let’s get this done.  Thanks, everybody.  (Applause.)

1:47 P.M. EDT

Political Buzz June 21, 2012: Commerce Secretary John Bryson Resigns After Car Crash & Seizures


By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. Ms. Goodman has also contributed the overviews, and chronologies in History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, 4th edition, edited by Gil Troy, Fred L. Israel, and Arthur Meier Schlesinger  published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

& THE 112TH


Commerce Secretary Bryson Resigns After Medical Leave: Less than two weeks after taking a medical leave of absence following a seizure and a string of bizarre car accidents, Commerce Secretary John Bryson is resigning.
In a letter to his staff this morning, Bryson said he was stepping down to “prevent distractions” from the agency’s mission.
Bryson was found unconscious in his car June 9, following two back-to-back car accidents in Los Angeles. Two days later, he announced he was taking medical leave.
President Obama accepted Bryson’s resignation Wednesday night and will meet with him at the White House this afternoon to thank him for his service.
“I want to extend my deepest thanks and appreciation to John for his service over the past months, and wish him and his family the very best,” Obama said in a statement…. – ABC News Radio, 6-21-12

  • Commerce Secretary Bryson Resigns: US Commerce Secretary John Bryson resigned Wednesday night, nearly two weeks after being involved in two car crashes in Southern California that he said were linked to a seizure…. – WSJ, 6-21-12
  • After resignation, police probe of John Bryson crashes continues: Law enforcement officials continue to await toxicology test results on US Commerce Secretary John Bryson, who announced his resignation Thursday after an incident in early June in which he hit two cars. Officials have not decided whether to seek…. – LAT, 6-21-12
  • John Bryson resigns as commerce secretary, citing recent seizure: John Bryson has resigned as commerce secretary, telling President Obama in a letter that the seizure he suffered recently “could be a distraction” to the president’s focus on rebuilding the US economy. In a letter sent late Wednesday to President Obama…. – WaPo, 6-21-12
  • After seizure, crashes, Commerce Secretary John Bryson resigns: Commerce Secretary John Bryson, who said he suffered a seizure resulting in two hit-and-run crashes in the San Gabriel Valley earlier this month, has resigned from his Cabinet position. In a letter to President Obama dated Wednesday, the 68-year-old … LAT, 6-21-12
  • Bryson resigning as US commerce secretary: Commerce Secretary John Bryson said Thursday he is resigning from the Obama administration after suffering a seizure earlier this month in the Los Angeles area. President Barack Obama said in a statement that he had accepted the resignation…. – San Jose Mercury News, 6-21-12
  • Commerce Secretary Resigns After Seizure: US Secretary of Commerce John Bryson stepped down Thursday, telling President Barack Obama in a letter of resignation that a recent seizure could be a distraction from doing his job. “I have concluded that the seizure I suffered on…. – CNN, 6-21-12

Full Text Obama Presidency June 20, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Press Conference at the End of the G20 Summit




The G20 Summit

President Obama meets with the leaders of the world’s major advanced and emerging economies in Los Cabos, Mexico for the G20 Summit.

President Obama greets President Felipe Calderón of Mexico
President Obama greets President Felipe Calderón of Mexico, Chuck Kennedy, 6/18/12

President Obama Speaks at the End of the G20 Summit

Source: WH, 6-20-12

After two days of policy discussions and meetings with leaders from the world’s major economies, President Obama held a press conference to discuss his takeaways from the G20 Summit.

The ongoing economic crisis in Europe was a central focus of the top-level conversations.

“[This] has been an opportunity for us to hear from European leaders on the progress they’re making and on their next steps — especially in the wake of the election in Greece,” he said. “It’s also been a chance for the international community, including the United States — the largest economy in the world, and with our own record of responding to financial crises — to stress the importance of decisive action at this moment.”

The President stressed that it’s important for Europeans to take ownership over the situation, and said that leaders from the continent understand the stakes and are ready to take the steps necessary to secure stability and growth.

But he also said that the United States could do more to bolster the global economy.

“As the world’s largest economy, the best thing the United States can do is to create jobs and growth in the short term, even as we continue to put our fiscal house in order over the long term,” he said.

Read President Obama’s full remarks, including his answers to reporters, here.

Or check out a photo gallery of images from the Summit.

Learn more:

Remarks by President Obama at Press Conference After G20 Summit

Convention Center
Los Cabos, Mexico

5:47 P.M. MDT

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  I want to begin by thanking my good friend and partner, President Calderon, and the people of Los Cabos and Mexico for their outstanding hospitality and leadership.  Mexico is the first Latin American country to host a G20 summit, and this has been another example of Mexico playing a larger role in world affairs, from the global economy to climate change to development.

Since this is my last visit to Mexico during President Calderon’s time in office, I want to say how much I’ve valued Felipe’s friendship and the progress that we’ve made together over the past several years.  And building on the spirit here at Los Cabos, I’m absolutely confident that the deep ties between our countries will only grow stronger in the years to come.

Now, over the past three years, these G20 summits have allowed our nations to pull the global economy back from a free fall and put us back on the path of recovery and growth.  In the United States, our businesses have created jobs for 27 months in a row — more than 4 million jobs in all — and our highest priority continues to be putting people back to work even faster.

Today, we recognize that there are a wide range of threats to our ongoing global economic recovery and growth.  But the one that’s received the most focus obviously and that does have a significant impact on the United States as well as globally is the situation in Europe.  As our largest trading partner, slower growth in Europe means slower growth in American jobs.  So we have a profound interest in seeing Europe prosper.  That’s why I’ve been consulting closely with my European counterparts during this crisis, as we’ve done here at Los Cabos.

I do think it’s important to note, however, that most leaders of the eurozone, the economies are not part of the G20.  The challenges facing Europe will not be solved by the G20 or by the United States.  The solutions will be debated and decided, appropriately, by the leaders and the people of Europe.

So this has been an opportunity for us to hear from European leaders on the progress they’re making and on their next steps — especially in the wake of the election in Greece, and because they’re heading into the EU summit later this month.  It’s also been a chance for the international community, including the United States — the largest economy in the world, and with our own record of responding to financial crises — to stress the importance of decisive action at this moment.

Now, markets around the world as well as governments have been asking if Europe is ready to do what is necessary to hold the eurozone together.  Over the last two days European leaders here in Cabos have made it clear that they understand the stakes and they pledged to take the actions needed to address this crisis and restore confidence, stability, and growth.  Let me just be a little more specific.

First, our friends in Europe clearly grasp the seriousness of the situation and are moving forward with a heightened sense of urgency.  I welcome the important steps that they have already taken to promote growth, financial stability and fiscal responsibility.  I’m very pleased that the European leaders here said that they will take all necessary measures to safeguard the integrity and stability of the eurozone, to improve the functioning of the financial markets.  This will contribute to breaking the feedback loop between sovereigns and banks, and make sovereign borrowing costs sustainable.

I also welcome the adoption of the fiscal compact and it’s ongoing implementation, assessed on a structural basis, together with a growth strategy which includes structural reforms.

G20 leaders all supported Europe working in partnership with the next Greek government to ensure that they remain on a path to reform and sustainability within the eurozone.  Another positive step forward was the eurozone’s commitment to work on a more integrated financial architecture — including banking supervision, resolution, and recapitalization, as well as deposit insurance.  Also, in the coming days Spain will lay out the details of its financial support request for its banks restructuring agency, providing clarity to reassure markets on the form and the amount and the structure of support to be approved at the earliest time.

It’s also positive that the eurozone will pursue structural reforms to strengthen competitiveness in deficit countries, and to promote demand and growth in surplus countries to reduce imbalances within the euro area.

And finally, I welcome the fact that Europe is determined to move forward quickly on measures to support growth and investment including by completing the European single market and making better use of European funds.

Of course, Europe is not, as I said, the only source of concern when it comes to global growth.  The G20 also agreed that reversing the economic slowdown demands a renewed focus on growth and job creation.

As the world’s largest economy, the best thing the United States can do is to create jobs and growth in the short term, even as we continue to put our fiscal house in order over the long term.  And as part of that effort, we’ve made significant progress in advancing our trade agenda.  This is an essential to promoting growth, innovation and jobs in the United States.

Here in Los Cabos, we announced important steps towards closer integration with three of our major trading partners.  Both Mexico and Canada have been invited to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, which is an ambitious 21st century trade agreement that will now include 11 countries.  And this agreement holds enormous opportunities to boost trade in one of the world’s fastest growing regions.

Even as we build this new framework for trade in the Asia Pacific, we’re also working to expand our trade with Europe.  So today, the United States and the European Union agreed to take the next step in our work towards the possible launching of negotiations on an agreement to strengthen our already very deep trade and investment partnership.

In addition, and in keeping with our commitments at the last G20 in Cannes, we agreed that countries should not intervene to hold their currencies at undervalued levels, and that countries with large surpluses and export-oriented economies needed to continue to boost demand.

So, in closing, I’d note that with Mexico’s leadership, we continue to make progress across a range of challenges that are vital to our shared prosperity — from food security to Greek economic growth that combats climate change, from financial education and protection for consumers to combating corruption that stifles economic growth, and in strengthening financial regulation to creating a more level playing field.  All of this happened in large part because of the leadership of President Calderón.  I want to thank him, and I want to thank my fellow leaders for their partnership as we work very hard to create jobs and opportunity that all of our citizens deserve.

So with that, I’m going to start with Ben Feller of AP.

Q    Thank you very much, Mr. President.  We’re all hearing a lot of encouraging promises about what Europe plans to do, but can you assure us that those actions, if they’re able to come together on them, will actually do anything to create jobs in America this year?  And if Europe is not able to rally in a big way pretty quickly, do you think that will cost you the election?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, first of all, I think that what I’ve heard from European leaders during the course of these discussions is they understand the stakes.  They understand why it’s important for them to take bold and decisive action.  And I’m confident that they can meet those tests.

Now, I always show great sympathy for my European friends because they don’t have to deal with one Congress — they have to deal with 17 parliaments, if you’re talking about the eurozone.  If you’re talking about the European Union, you’re talking about 27.  And that means that sometimes, even after they’ve conceived of approaches to deal with the crisis, they have to work through all the politics to get it done.  And markets are a lot more impatient.

And so what I’ve encouraged them to do is to lay out a framework for where they want to go in increasing European integration, in resolving the financial pressures that are on sovereign countries.  Even if they can’t achieve all of it in one full swoop, I think if people have a sense of where they’re going, that can provide confidence and break the fever.  Because if you think about Europe, look, this remains one of the wealthiest, most productive regions of the world.  Europe continues to have enormous strengths — a very well-educated, productive workforce.  They have some of the biggest, best-run companies in the world.  They have trading relationships around the world.  And all of these problems that they’re facing right now are entirely solvable, but the markets, when they start seeing potential uncertainty, show a lot more risk aversion, and you can start getting into a negative cycle.

And what we have to do is it to create a positive cycle where people become more confident, the markets settle down, and they have the time and the space to execute the kinds of structural reforms that not only Europe, but all of us are having to go through, in balancing the need for growth, but also dealing with issues like debt and deficits.  And I’m confident that over the next several weeks, Europe will paint a picture of where we need to go, take some immediate steps that are required to give them that time and space.  And based on the conversations that I’ve had here today and the conversations that I’ve had over the last several months, I’m confident that they are very much committed to the European project.

Now, all this affects the United States.  Europe as a whole is our largest trading partner.  And if fewer folks are buying stuff in Paris or Berlin, that means that we’re selling less stuff made in Pittsburgh or Cleveland.  But I think there are a couple of things that we’ve already done that help.  The financial regulatory reforms that we passed means that our banks are better capitalized.  It means that our supervision and our mechanisms for looking at trouble spots in our financial system are superior to what they were back in 2008.  That’s an important difference.  But there’s still some more things we can do.

And the most important thing we can do is something that I’ve already talked about.  If Congress would act on a jobs plan that independent economists say would put us on the path of creating an extra million jobs on top of the ones that have already been created — putting teachers back in the classroom, putting construction workers back on the job rebuilding infrastructure that badly needs to be rebuilt — all those things can make a significant difference.  And given that we don’t have full control over what happens in Europe or the pace at which things happen in Europe, let’s make sure that we’re doing those things that we do have control over and that are good policy anyway.

Q    ((inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT:  I think it’s fair to say that any — all these issues, economic issues, will potentially have some impact on the election.  But that’s not my biggest concern right now.  My biggest concern is the same concern I’ve had over the last three and a half years, which is folks who are out of work or underemployed or unable to pay the bills — what steps are we taking to potentially put them in a stronger position.  And I consistently believed that if we take the right policy steps, if we’re doing the right thing, then the politics will follow.  And my mind hasn’t changed on that.

Jeff Mason, Reuters.  Where’s Jeff?

Q    Thank you, sir.  My question is about Syria.  Did President Putin of Russia indicate any desire on Russia’s part for Assad to step down or to leave power?  And did you make any tangible progress in your meetings with him or with Chinese President Hu in finding a way to stop the bloodshed there?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, these were major topics of conversation in both meetings.  And anybody who’s seen scenes of what’s happening in Syria I think recognizes that the violence is completely out of hand, that civilians are being targeted, and that Assad has lost legitimacy.  And when you massacre your own citizens in the ways that we’ve seen, it is impossible to conceive of a orderly political transition that leaves Assad in power.

Now, that doesn’t mean that that process of political transition is easy.  And there’s no doubt that Russia, which historically has had a relationship with Syria, as well as China, which is generally wary of commenting on what it considers to be the internal affairs of other countries, are and have been more resistant to applying the kind of pressure that’s necessary to achieve that political transition.

We had a very candid conversation.  I wouldn’t suggest that at this point the United States and the rest of the international community are aligned with Russia and China in their positions, but I do think they recognize the grave dangers of all-out civil war.  I do not think they condone the massacres that we’ve witnessed.  And I think they believe that everybody would be better served if Syria had a mechanism for ceasing the violence and creating a legitimate government.

What I’ve said to them is that it’s important for the world community to work with the United Nations and Kofi Annan on what a political transition would look like.  And my hope is, is that we can have those conversations in the coming week or two and that we can present to the world, but most importantly, to the Syrian people, a pathway whereby this conflict can be resolved.

But I don’t think it would fair to say that the Russians and the Chinese are signed on at this point.  I think what is fair to say is that they recognize that the current situation is grave; it does not serve their interests; it certainly does not serve the interests of the Syrian people.  And where we agree is that if we can help the Syrian people find a path to a resolution, all of us would be better off.

But it’s my personal belief — and I shared this with them  — that I don’t see a scenario in which Assad stays and violence is reduced.  He had an opportunity with the Annan plan.  They did not fulfill their side of the deal.  Instead we saw escalation and murder of innocent women and children.  And at this point, we have the international monitors that were sent in having to leave because of this violence that’s being perpetrated.  And although you’ll hear sometimes from some commentators that the opposition has engaged in violence as well, and obviously there’s evidence of that, I think it’s also fair to say that those haunting images that we saw in places like Hom were the direct result of decisions made by the Syrian government and ultimately Mr. Assad is responsible.

Q    Did either of them talk about Syria without Assad?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  We had an intensive conversation about it. If you’re asking me whether they signed on to that proposition, I don’t think it would be fair to say that they are there yet.  But my — I’m going to keep on making the argument and my expectation is, is that at some point there’s a recognition that it’s hard to envision a better future for Syria while Assad is still there.

Julianna Goldman.

Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  One of Mitt Romney’s economic advisors recently wrote in a German publication that your recommendations to Europe and to Germany in particular reveal ignorance of the causes of the crisis, and he said that they have the same flaws as your own economic policies.  I want to get your response to that, and also to follow up on Ben’s question.  Europe has been kicking the can down the road for years, so why are you any more convinced that we won’t see another three-month fix emerge out of Brussels at the end of the month?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, first of all, with respect to Mr. Romney’s advisors, I suggest you go talk to Mr. Romney about his advisors.  I would point out that we have one President at a time and one administration at a time, and I think traditionally the notion has been that America’s political differences end at the water’s edge.  I’d also suggest that he may not be familiar with what our suggestions to the Germans have been.  And I think sometimes back home there is a desire to superimpose whatever ideological arguments are taking place back home on to a very complicated situation in Europe.

The situation in Europe is a combination of things.  You’ve got situations where some countries did have undisciplined fiscal practices, public debt.  You had some countries like Spain whose problems actually arose out of housing speculation and problems in the private sector that didn’t have to do with public debt.

I think that there’s no doubt that all the countries in Europe at this point recognize the need for growth strategies inside of Europe that are consistent with fiscal consolidation plans — and by the way, that’s exactly what I think the United States should be thinking about.  The essence of the plan that I presented back in September was how do we increase growth and jobs now while providing clarity in terms of how we reduce our deficit and our debt medium and long term.

And I think that’s the right recipe generally — not just for us, but across the board.

You had a second question.  What was it?

Q    Why are you —

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Why am I confident?  Well, look, I don’t want to sound Pollyanna-ish here.  Resolving the issues in Europe is difficult.  As I said, there are a lot of players involved.  There are a lot of complexities to the problems, because we’re talking about the problems of a bunch of different countries at this point.  Changing market psychology is very difficult.  But the tools are available.  The sense of urgency among the leaders is clear.  And so what we have to do is combine that sense of urgency with the tools that are available and bridge them in a timely fashion that can provide markets confidence.  And I think that can be done.

Hopefully — just to give an example — when Spain clarifies exactly how it intends to draw down and utilize dollars — or not dollars, but euros to recapitalize its banking system, given that it’s already got support from other European countries, given that the resources are available, what’s missing right now is just a sense of specifics and the path whereby that takes place. When markets see that, that can help build confidence and reverse psychology.

So there are going to be a range of steps that they can take.  None of them are going to be a silver bullet that solves this thing entirely over the next week or two weeks or two months.  But each step points to the fact that Europe is moving towards further integration rather than breakup, and that these problems can be resolved — and points to the underlying strength in Europe’s economies.

These are not countries that somehow at their core are unproductive or dysfunctional; these are advanced economies with extraordinarily productive people.  They’ve got a particular challenge that has to do with a currency union that didn’t have all the best bells and whistles of a fiscal or a monetary union, and they’re catching up now to some of those needs.  And they just need the time and the space to do it.  In the meantime, they’ve got to send a strong signal to the market, and I’m confident they can do that.

All right.  Thank you very much, everybody.

6:12 P.M. MDT

Political Headlines June 20, 2012: House Oversight Committee Recommends Holding Attorney General Eric Holder in Contempt of Congress Over Fast & Furious Scandal




Official White House Photo by Pete Souza


House Committee Votes Eric Holder in Contempt of Congress: A congressional committee voted today to find Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for failing to provide documents to congressional investigators from the Fast and Furious gun walking operation. Earlier this morning, the White House invoked executive privilege over the documents the committee subpoenaed more than eight months ago.
In a strictly party-line vote, the House committee on Oversight and Government Reform approved the citation 23 to 17, sending it on to the full House for future consideration as early as next week. Holder is not actually in contempt of Congress unless the full House approves the resolution, but he would become the first U.S. attorney general held in contempt of Congress if the vote passes…. – ABC News Radio, 6-20-12

Recommends Contempt Case Against Holder: Republicans on a House committee backed holding Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in contempt of Congress in a dispute over documents tied to a botched gun trafficking operation…. – NYT, 6-20-12


  • House panel votes to cite Holder for contempt of Congress: A House oversight committee voted Wednesday to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt, marking an escalation of the long-running dispute between Republicans and the Justice Department over internal administration documents related … USA Today, 6-20-12
  • Holder found in contempt of Congress by House Oversight Committee: The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform voted to find Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. in contempt of Congress for failing to provide subpoenaed documents in the flawed Fast and Furious gun-tracking case, just hours after…. – LAT, 6-20-12
  • Fast and Furious scandal: House panel votes to hold Eric Holder in contempt: A House panel voted Wednesday to hold Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in contempt for failing to cooperate with a congressional inquiry into Operation “Fast and Furious,” hours after President Obama asserted executive privilege over related…. – WaPo, 6-20-12
  • House committee holds AG Holder in contempt: A House committee has voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over Justice Department documents. The straight party-line vote was 23-17. The vote followed a decision by President Barack Obama…. – Boston.com, 6-20-12
  • House Republicans vote to cite Holder for contempt in ‘Fast and Furious’ scandal: A House committee voted Wednesday along party lines to cite Attorney General Eric Holder for contempt, capping a mounting and contentious fight between congressional Republicans and the Obama … msnbc.com, 6-20-12
  • House panel finds Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt: A year-and-a-half long investigation into a botched gun trafficking program culminated Wednesday with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress…. – CBS News, 6-20-12
  • House Panel Votes To Hold Holder in Contempt: A House committee voted to sanction Attorney General Eric Holder with contempt of Congress, escalating a standoff between Republicans and the Obama administration over documents about a botched gun-trafficking operation…. – WSJ, 6-20-12
  • House panel recommends Holder contempt citation: Voting on strictly partisan lines, a House committee recommended Wednesday that Attorney General Eric Holder be cited for contempt of Congress for failing to turn over documents relating to the botched Fast and Furious weapons sting…. – CNN, 6-20-12

Political Headlines June 20, 2012: President Barack Obama Invokes Executive Privilege Over Fast and Furious Documents in Attempt to Stall Atoorney General Eric Holder Contempt of Congress Vote





  • White House Invokes Executive Privilege on ‘Fast and Furious’ Docs: The White House has invoked executive privilege over documents at the center of the stand-off between Attorney General Eric Holder and Rep. Darrell Issa, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee investigating the Justice Department’s “Fast and Furious” program.
    “The President has asserted executive privilege over the relevant post-February 4, 2011, documents,” deputy attorney general James Cole wrote Issa this morning.
    “We regret that we have arrived at this point, after the many steps we have taken to address the Committee’s concerns and to accommodate the Committee’s legitimate oversight interests regarding Operation Fast and Furious.”
    The move comes ahead of an expected committee vote on whether to put Holder in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over the documents. It is the first time President Obama has asserted executive privilege in a dispute with Congress…. – ABC News Radio, 6-20-12
  • President Asserts Executive Privilege in Bid to Forestall Contempt Vote: President Obama on Wednesday invoked executive privilege to withhold from a Congressional oversight committee some documents and communications among his advisers regarding the failed gun enforcement operation known as “Fast and Furious”…. – NYT, 6-20-12
  • Obama invokes executive privilege to protect Eric Holder: Can he do that?: Just minutes before Congress began preparing a contempt vote against Eric Holder, Obama raised the stakes in the long-running conflict over the botched ‘Fast and Furious’ gun-walking affair by claiming executive privilege to keep tens of thousands of emails secret….. – CS Monitor, 6-20-12
  • Obama exerts executive privilege over Fast and Furious documents: President Obama asserted executive privilege over documents related to the “Fast and Furious” operation Wednesday as a House panel moved to hold Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in contempt after he failed to hand over the documents related to a congressional inquiry into the scandal…. – WaPo, 6-20-12
  • Obama Asserts Executive Privilege in Gun-Trafficking Rift: President Barack Obama asserted executive privilege for the first time Wednesday, escalating a fight with congressional Republicans over documents about a gun-trafficking probe. The White House asserted executive privilege over…. – WSJ, 6-20-12
  • Obama invokes executive privilege over Fast and Furious documents: President Obama asserted executive privilege Wednesday over contested documents in the Fast and Furious scandal…. – LAT, 6-20-12
  • Obama invokes executive privilege to stall Holder contempt vote: In a mounting confrontation with congressional Republicans, President Barack Obama invoked executive privilege Wednesday to withhold documents a House committee is seeking. The panel neared a vote on citing Attorney General Eric Holder for…. – NY Daily News, 6-20-12
  • What happens if panel cites Holder for contempt?: The House Oversight Committee is considering a contempt measure against Attorney General Eric Holder over documents sought by the panel investigating the botched gun-running sting called Operation Fast and Furious… – CNN, 6-20-12
  • Issa pushes ahead with Holder contempt vote despite Obama intervention: Rep. Darrell Issa pressed ahead with a committee vote Wednesday to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, despite an eleventh-hour move by President Obama to exert executive privilege over the Fast and Furious documents at the heart…. – Fox News, 6-20-12
  • Likelihood of contempt vote against Holder rises: A House committee is poised to vote on whether to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over more Justice Department documents on a flawed gun-smuggling probe that resulted in hundreds of guns illicitly purchased in Arizona gun shops winding up in Mexico….. – AP, 6-20-12

Political Headlines June 19, 2012: Mitt Romney Says Despite ABC News Report Marco Rubio is Being Vetted for Veep — Vice President Running Mate




Romney Says Marco Rubio is Being Vetted for Veep

Source: ABC News Radio, 6-19-12

ABC News

Marco Rubio is being vetted for the vice presidential spot, Mitt Romney told reporters in Michigan Tuesday afternoon.

“Marco Rubio is being thoroughly vetted as part of our process,” Romney said, adding reports from Tuesday that said Marco Rubio is not being vetted is “entirely false.”

“There was a story that originated today, apparently at ABC, based on reports of supposedly outside, unnamed advisors of mine,” Romney told reporters. “I can’t imagine who such people are but I can tell you this. They know nothing about the vice presidential selection or evaluation process. There are only two people in this country who know who are being vetted and who are not, and that’s Beth Myers and myself.”

Myers is Romney’s long time aide heading up the vice presidential search and vetting process.

“I know Beth well. She doesn’t talk to anybody,” Romney said….READ MORE

Political Headlines June 18, 2012: Brett McGurk Withdrawing President Barack Obama’s Nomination to Be Ambassador to Iraq




McGurk Withdrawing Nomination to Be Ambassador to Iraq

Source: ABC News Radio, 6-18-12

President Obama’s nominee to be U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Brett McGurk, has withdrawn his nomination amid questions about his professionalism and experience.

Some on Capitol Hill already had questions about McGurk, a former National Security Council staffer for both President George W. Bush and President Obama, given his lack of managerial experience and role in negotiations with Iraq that ended with the United States withdrawing all combat troops.

It seemed McGurk might weather those criticisms, but earlier this month someone leaked emails he sent in 2008 while in Iraq, ones in which he wooed a female Wall Street Journal reporter — perhaps jokingly referencing favors of access and information. He later divorced his wife and married the reporter. Senators wanted to question McGurk about suggestions in the emails, jokingly or otherwise, that he would give a reporter access to sensitive information and power if their relationship blossomed….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency June 18. 2012: President Barack Obama’s Joint Statement with Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin After Bilateral Meeting




A Bilateral Meeting with President Putin

Source: WH, 6-18-12
President Barack Obama participates in a bilateral meeting with President Vladimir Putin of Russia (June 18, 2012)

President Barack Obama participates in a bilateral meeting with President Vladimir Putin of Russia at the Esperanza Resort in San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico, June 18, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

This afternoon, President Obama had his first face-to-face meeting with his Russian counterpart — President Vladimir Putin — since the other leader was inaugurated in May.

After meeting for two hours, the men spoke briefly to reporters.

President Obama described the conversation as “candid, thoughtful and thorough.” He said:

Over the last three years, the United States and Russia have been able to make significant progress on a wide range of issues, including the New START Treaty, the 1,2,3 Agreement, the work we’ve done on Russia’s accession to the WTO, and setting up a presidential process whereby issues of trade and commerce, science, technology are all discussed at a much more intensive level.

We agreed that we need to build on these successes, even as we recognize that there are going to be areas of disagreement, and that we can find constructive ways to manage through any bilateral tensions.

The leaders also put out a joint statement that touched on many of these issues in further detail.

Joint Statement by the President of the United States of America Barack Obama and the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin

The United States of America and the Russian Federation confirm our commitment to strengthening close and cooperative relations for the benefit of the peoples of our countries, international peace, global prosperity, and security.  In recent years, we have laid a solid foundation for expanding our bilateral interaction in a variety of areas.  Today we agree to continue this work guided by the principles of the rule of law, respect for human rights, equality, and mutual respect.

One of the key tasks on our shared agenda is the expansion of trade and investment relations, which should foster mutual economic growth and prosperity.  To this end, we have agreed to prioritize the expansion and diversification of our bilateral trade and investment through nondiscriminatory access to our markets based on international rules.

An important step in this direction is Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), which has become possible thanks to our joint efforts.  In order for WTO rules and mechanisms to apply to our bilateral trade, the Obama Administration is working closely with the U.S. Congress to terminate, as soon as possible, application of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment with respect to Russia and extend Permanent Normal Trade Relations to the Russian Federation.  The United States has also welcomed and offered its support to Russia’s pursuit of membership in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Nuclear arms control and non-proliferation remain a special responsibility for the United States and Russia as the two states with the world’s largest nuclear weapons arsenals.  We reiterate our strong support for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and our shared goal of universal adherence to and compliance with that Treaty and the International Atomic Energy Agency’s comprehensive safeguards, consistent with the Treaty’s Article III, and with the Additional Protocol.  We recognize the achievements made through the Nuclear Security Summits, including the removal and elimination of nuclear materials, minimization of the civilian use of highly enriched uranium, and worldwide improvements in a nuclear security culture.

We are continuing research on the feasibility of converting research reactors in the United States and Russia to low-enriched uranium fuel.  We agree to redouble bilateral efforts to improve nuclear security, counter nuclear smuggling, and combat nuclear terrorism, as well as to facilitate the beginning of negotiations at the Conference on Disarmament on a fissile material cutoff treaty that will halt production of fissile materials for use in nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices, within the framework of a balanced program of work at the Conference.  We will strive for the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty.

As a priority, we intend to successfully implement the New START Treaty, and to continue our discussions on strategic stability.  Despite differences in assessments, we have agreed to continue a joint search for solutions to challenges in the field of missile defense.

The pursuit of international peace and security remains a priority for the United States and Russia, recognizing how much we have to gain by working together to overcome the main challenges of this century.  While recognizing Iran’s right to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, we agree that Iran must undertake serious efforts aimed at restoring international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear program.  To this end, Tehran must fully comply with its obligations under the relevant UN Security Council and IAEA Board of Governors resolutions, and cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency for the expedited resolution of all remaining issues.  Our common goal remains a comprehensive negotiated settlement based on the principles of a step-by-step approach and reciprocity, and we look forward to constructive engagement with Iran through the P5+1 process, including the latest round of talks taking place in Moscow on June 18-19.

We urge North Korea to come into compliance with all the relevant directives of the UN Security Council and fulfill its commitments under the Joint Statement by China, the DPRK, the Republic of Korea, Russia, the U.S., and Japan of September 19, 2005.  We count on the DPRK not to commit acts that would escalate tensions on the Korean peninsula.  As partners in the Six-Party talks, we are prepared to continue the joint efforts to achieve verifiable denuclearization on the Korean peninsula in accordance with the Joint Statement of September 19, 2005.

We agree to cooperate bilaterally and multilaterally to solve regional conflicts.  In order to stop the bloodshed in Syria, we call for an immediate cessation of all violence and express full support for the efforts of UN/League of Arab States Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan, including moving forward on political transition to a democratic, pluralistic political system that would be implemented by the Syrians themselves in the framework of Syria’s sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity.  We are united in the belief that the Syrian people should have the opportunity to independently and democratically choose their own future.

The need for a just, lasting, and comprehensive peace in the Middle East has never been more apparent, and we will continue working with our Quartet partners to advance peace efforts on the basis of the Quartet statements of September 23, 2011, and April 11, 2012, and to strengthen the Palestinian Authority’s ability to meet the full range of civil and security needs of the Palestinian people, both now and in a future state.

The United States and Russia continue to face a common threat from al Qaeda and other terrorist groups operating in and around Afghanistan.  We recognize that this is a pivotal time for international efforts to strengthen security and promote economic development in Afghanistan, as well as to counter the narcotics threat.  With the successful implementation of bilateral and multilateral transit arrangements, Russia has made a significant contribution to international efforts to promote stability in Afghanistan.

We reiterate that the process leading to reconciliation must be truly Afghan-led and Afghan-implemented.  Reconciliation must include, as integral parts, a commitment to a sovereign, stable, and unified Afghanistan, breaking ties to al Qaeda, ending violence, and accepting the Afghan Constitution, including its human rights provisions, notably the rights of women.  We will explore opportunities to strengthen the Northern Distribution Network, to bolster regional security, and to expand cooperation as we fight terrorism and narcotics trafficking, taking advantage of the capabilities of the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the NATO-Russia Council to enhance law-enforcement training for the region.

The United States of America and the Russian Federation intend to increase cooperation in addressing the world drug problem, so as to radically reduce production and consumption of illicit drugs, as affirmed by resolutions of the UN General Assembly and the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs.  We are ready to continue active support of efforts undertaken by the international community to counteract illicit production and illegal trafficking and consumption of drugs.

The United States of America and the Russian Federation are committed to furthering our multifaceted cooperation to counter terrorism.  Both our nations face persistent and evolving domestic and transnational terrorist threats, including from terrorists based in North Africa, the Middle East, the Horn of Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.  Acknowledging the global character of these challenges, we reaffirm our readiness for further joint work to implement the UN’s Global Counterterrorism Strategy, the UN Security Council resolutions and statements on terrorism, as well as to utilize other applicable international counterterrorism instruments, including counterterrorism sanctions regimes introduced by the UN Security Council with respect to al Qaeda and the Taliban.

The United States and Russia affirm our intent to work together to ensure the long-term success of the recently launched Global Counterterrorism Forum and continue to interact on various multilateral platforms, including the G-8 Roma/Lyon Group, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum, the ASEAN Regional Forum, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).  We will continue to work together to counter financial support for terrorism, disrupt the possible connections between terrorist networks and criminal groups, prevent the spread of violent extremism, and improve transportation security, including by concluding bilateral agreements in this field.

An important role in strengthening U.S.-Russian relations belongs to the Presidential Commission, created in July 2009, which coordinates our bilateral cooperation on the widest range of issues from strategic stability, energy and space, fighting terrorism and illegal drug trafficking and consumption– to public health, agriculture, the environment, civil society, and cultural and educational exchanges.  We are pleased to announce a new Working Group on Military-Technical Cooperation.  U.S.-Russian cooperation has been growing in the global fight against malaria.

This year we together celebrate the 200th anniversary of Fort Ross in California, which was founded by Russian settlers and underscores the historic ties between our countries.  In order to give our bilateral relations a new quality, we intend to pay special attention to broadening contacts between our peoples and societies, including by liberalizing the visa regime.  We welcome steps to bring into force the U.S.-Russian Agreement on Simplifying Visa Formalities, signed in 2011, which should make two-way travel by American and Russian tourist and business travelers easier.  We also commit to work together to ensure the rights and protections of adopted children.  This will be facilitated by bringing into force and implementing the bilateral adoptions agreement signed last year.

The United States of America and the Russian Federation will only be able to achieve positive new results by acting together for the purpose of strengthening the democracy, security, and prosperity of the American and Russian peoples, and by solving other complex challenges confronting our countries and the international community.

Remarks by President Obama and President Putin of Russia After Bilateral Meeting

Esperanza Resort
Los Cabos, Mexico

12:42 P.M. MDT

PRESIDENT PUTIN:  (As interpreted.)  Mr. President, this has been our second meeting.  I remember our lengthy meeting we had in Moscow.

Today we had a very meaningful and subject-oriented discussion.  We’ve been able to discuss issues pertaining to security.  We discussed bilateral economic relations.  In this regard, I’d like to thank you for the support rendered to Russia with our accession to the World Trade Organization.  I’m confident this will help to further develop the economic relations between our two countries, to promote the creation of jobs in both countries.

We also discussed international affairs, including the Syrian affair.  From my perspective, we’ve been able to find many commonalities pertaining to all of those issues.  And we’ll now further develop our contacts both on a personal level and on the level of our experts involved.

You visited the Russian Federation three years ago.  Now welcome again.  I invite you to visit Moscow.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you very much, Mr. President.

We, in fact, did have a candid, thoughtful and thorough conversation on a whole range of bilateral and international issues.  Over the last three years, the United States and Russia have been able to make significant progress on a wide range of issues, including the New START Treaty, the 1,2,3 Agreement, the work we’ve done on Russia’s accession to the WTO, and setting up a presidential process whereby issues of trade and commerce, science, technology are all discussed at a much more intensive level.

We agreed that we need to build on these successes, even as we recognize that there are going to be areas of disagreement, and that we can find constructive ways to manage through any bilateral tensions.  In particular, we discussed the need to expand trade and commercial ties between the United States and Russia, which are still far below where they should be.  And I emphasized my priority of having Congress repeal Jackson-Vanik, provide permanent trade relations status to Russia so that American businesses can take advantage of the extraordinary opportunities now that Russia is a member of the WTO.

We discussed a range of strategic issues, including missile defense, and resolved to continue to work through some of the difficult problems involved there.

I thanked the President and the Russian people for the work they’ve done with us on the Northern Distribution Network that is vital to providing supplies and resources to our brave troops who are still in Afghanistan.

We emphasized our shared approach when it comes to the Iranian situation as members of the P5+1.  We agreed that there’s still time and space to resolve diplomatically the issue of Iran’s potential development of nuclear weapons, as well as its interest in developing peaceful nuclear power.

And finally, as Mr. President mentioned, we discussed Syria, where we agreed that we need to see a cessation of the violence, that a political process has to be created to prevent civil war, and the kind of horrific events that we’ve seen over the last several weeks, and we pledged to work with other international actors including the United Nations, Kofi Annan, and all the interested parties in trying to find a resolution to this problem.

Mr. President, I look forward to visiting Russia again, and I look forward to hosting you in the United States.

Thank you, everybody.

12:53 P.M. MDT

Political Buzz June 17, 2012: President Barack Obama on Father’s Day as a ‘Forgotten Holiday’ & Father’s Day 2012 Presidential Proclamation



Obama Says Father’s Day a ‘Forgotten Holiday’

Source: ABC News Radio, 6-17-12

With Father’s Day around the corner, President Obama admitted Friday that  his wife once scolded him for suggesting it was a “forgotten holiday.”

Over lunch with campaign supporters in downtown Washington, the president complained that people tended to make a bigger deal out of Mother’s Day.

“There was one year that I got a tie or something, and I said why is it that everybody makes a big deal about Mother’s Day and Fathers Day seems to be the forgotten holiday?” he said. “And Michelle looks at me, and she says, ‘Let me tell you what, every day is Father’s Day. You’re always getting a treat.’”…READ MORE


Presidential Proclamation — Father’s Day, 2012

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Every day, ordinary Americans make extraordinary contributions to the well-being of our children and the strength of our Nation by answering one of life’s greatest callings — parenthood. Morning, noon, and night, they dedicate themselves to their sons and daughters, expressing a love that knows neither beginning nor end through small daily acts. On Father’s Day, we honor the men whose compassion and commitment have nourished our spirits and guided us toward brighter horizons.

For many of us, our fathers show us by the example they set the kind of people they want us to become. Whether biological, foster, or adoptive, they teach us through the encouragement they give, the questions they answer, the limits they set, and the strength they show in the face of difficulty and hardship. Our fathers impart lessons and values we will always carry with us. With their presence and their care, they not only fulfill a profound responsibility, but also share a blessing with their children that stands among our truest traditions.

Every father bears a fundamental obligation to do right by their children. Yet, today, too many young Americans grow up without the love and support of their fathers. When the responsibilities of fathers go unmet, our communities suffer. That is why my Administration is working to promote responsible fatherhood by helping dads re-engage with their families and supporting programs that work with fathers. And that is why men across our country are making the decision every single day to step up; to be good fathers; and to serve as mentors, tutors, and foster parents to young people who need the guiding hand of a caring adult.

All of us have a stake in forging stronger bonds between fathers and their children. Today, we celebrate men who have risen to the task, who raised us, and who do that most important work of parenting, day in and day out, with love, humility, and pride.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, in accordance with a joint resolution of the Congress approved April 24, 1972, as amended (36 U.S.C. 109), do hereby proclaim June 17, 2012, as Father’s Day. I direct the appropriate officials of the Government to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on this day, and I call upon all citizens to observe this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifteenth day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth.


From the Archives: Presidents as Fathers

Source: WH, 6-15-12

As you celebrate Dad this weekend, consider giving a nod to the Presidents who helped give him his own national holiday. On this day in 1966, Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first Presidential Father’s Day Proclamation. It set aside the third Sunday in June in celebration of fathers. Six years later, it became a permanent holiday by order of President Richard Nixon. Each year since then, the Presidents have issued yearly Father’s Day proclamations.

Presidents have enjoyed the day as fathers themselves, and over the years many children have enlivened the White House. Some presidents enter office as grandfathers, such as Franklin D. Roosevelt who had 13 grandchildren. Others, like current President Obama, are fathers to school age children.

In celebration of fathers everywhere, here’s an album of Presidents with the people who know them simply as “Dad” and “Granddad.” These photos are from the holdings of the Presidential Libraries of the U.S. National Archives.

View the full size gallery here

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