History Buzz February 28, 2013: Robert Caro Wins National Book Critics Circle 2012 Award for Biography

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

Caro wins National Book Critics Circle bio prize

Source: AP, 2-28-13

‘The Passage of Power’

'The Passage of Power'

Random House via Bloomberg

“The Passage of Power,” by Robert A. Caro, who won the National Book Critics Circle’s 2012 award for biography.

Author Robert Caro is again the critics’ choice.

Caro’s fourth Lyndon Baines Johnson book, “The Passage of Power,” won the National Book Critics Circle biography prize on Thursday night. The 77-year-old historian has won virtually every literary honor for his Johnson series, from the Pulitzer Prize to the National Book Award to three prizes from the critics circle, founded in 1974, around the time he started on the LBJ books…..READ MORE

Political Headlines February 28, 2013: One Senate sequester vote fails 38 to 62

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

One Senate sequester vote fails

Source: Politico, 2-28-13

The Senate killed, 38 to 62, a GOP measure to give President Barack Obama more flexibility in implementing the sequester cuts set to take effect on Friday.

The proposal — a last-ditch effort to stave off the across-the-board, $85 billion in spending cuts — would have allowed Obama to submit an alternative package of spending cuts to congress by March 15….READ MORE

Political Headlines February 28, 2013: Lanny Davis former Clinton aide & columnist joins Bob Woodward in claiming White House threat

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Former Clinton aide, columnist joins Woodward in claiming White House threat

Source: FoxNews.com, 2-28-13

woodwarddavissplit.jpg
Shown here are journalist Bob Woodward, left, and former Clinton adviser Lanny Davis. (AP)

The latest claim comes from Lanny Davis, who served as counsel to former President Bill Clinton and later went on to write a column for The Washington Times. In a radio interview on WMAL, Davis said that a “senior Obama White House official” once called his editor at the Times and said that if the paper continued to run his columns, “his reporters would lose their credentials.”…READ MORE

Full Text Political Headlines February 28, 2013: White House’s Gene Sperling’s Threatening Emails to Bob Woodward over Sequester Report Washington Post Op-ed

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Journalist Clashes with White House over Sequester Report

Source: ABC News Radio, 2-28-13

ABC/ Ida Mae Astute

Veteran journalist Bob Woodward is embroiled in a public clash with the White House over his reporting on the sequester….READ MORE

From: Sperling, Gene
Date: February 22, 2013 11:52:34 PM EST
To: Bob Woodward

Bob:

I apologize for raising my voice in our conversation today. My bad. I do understand your problems with a couple of our statements in the fall — but feel on the other hand that you focus on a few specific trees that gives a very wrong perception of the forest. But perhaps we will just not see eye to eye here.

But I do truly believe you should rethink your comment about saying saying that Potus asking for revenues is moving the goal post. I know you may not believe this, but as a friend, I think you will regret staking out that claim. The idea that the sequester was to force both sides to go back to try at a big or grand barain with a mix of entitlements and revenues (even if there were serious disagreements on composition) was part of the DNA of the thing from the start. It was an accepted part of the understanding — from the start. Really. It was assumed by the Rs on the Supercommittee that came right after: it was assumed in the November-December 2012 negotiations. There may have been big disagreements over rates and ratios — but that it was supposed to be replaced by entitlements and revenues of some form is not controversial. (Indeed, the discretionary savings amount from the Boehner-Obama negotiations were locked in in BCA: the sequester was just designed to force all back to table on entitlements and revenues.)

I agree there are more than one side to our first disagreement, but again think this latter issue is diffferent. Not out to argue and argue on this latter point. Just my sincere advice. Your call obviously.

My apologies again for raising my voice on the call with you. Feel bad about that and truly apologize.

Gene

From: Bob Woodward
Subject: Re:
Date: February 23, 2013 7:23:37 AM EST
To: Sperling, Gene

Gene: You do not ever have to apologize to me. You get wound up because you are making your points and you believe them. This is all part of a serious discussion. I for one welcome a little heat; there should more given the importance. I also welcome your personal advice. I am listening. I know you lived all this. My partial advantage is that I talked extensively with all involved. I am traveling and will try to reach you after 3 pm today. Best, Bob

Political Headlines February 28, 2013: Congress Passes Reauthorization of Violence Against Women Act

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Congress Passes Reauthorization of Violence Against Women Act

Source: NYT, 2-28-13

In a big victory for President Obama and Democrats in Congress, the House voted to pass the Senate’s bipartisan reauthorization of the landmark 1994 law….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency February 28, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Presidential Proclamation Women’s History Month, 2013

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Presidential Proclamation — Women’s History Month, 2013

Source: WH, 2-28-13

WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH, 2013

– – – – – – –

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

For more than two centuries, our Nation has grown under the simple creed that each of us is created equal. It is a notion that makes America unlike any other place on earth — a country where no matter where you come from or what you look like, you can go as far as your talents will take you.

Women’s History Month is a time to remember those who fought to make that freedom as real for our daughters as for our sons. Written out of the promise of the franchise, they were women who reached up to close the gap between what America was and what it could be. They were driven by a faith that our Union could extend true equality to every citizen willing to claim it. Year after year, visionary women met and marched and mobilized to prove what should have been self-evident. They grew a meeting at Seneca Falls into a movement that touched every community and took on our highest institutions. And after decades of slow, steady, extraordinary progress, women have written equal opportunity into the law again and again, giving generations of girls a future worthy of their potential.

That legacy of change is all around us. Women are nearly half of our Nation’s workforce and more than half of our college graduates. But even now, too many women feel the weight of discrimination on their shoulders. They face a pay gap at work, or higher premiums for health insurance, or inadequate options for family leave. These issues affect all of us, and failing to address them holds our country back.

That is why my Administration has made the needs of women and girls a priority since day one — from signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to helping ensure women are represented among tomorrow’s top scientists and engineers. It is why we secured stronger protections and more preventive services for women under the Affordable Care Act. It is why we have fought for greater workplace flexibility, access to capital and training for women-owned businesses, and equal pay for equal work. And it is why we have taken action to reduce violence against women at home and abroad, and to empower women around the world with full political and economic opportunity.

Meeting those challenges will not be easy. But our history shows that when we couple grit and ingenuity with our basic beliefs, there is no barrier we cannot overcome. We can stay true to our founding creed that in America, all things should be possible for all people. That spirit is what called our mothers and grandmothers to fight for a world where no wall or ceiling could keep their daughters from their dreams. And today, as we take on the defining issues of our time, America looks to the next generation of movers and marchers to lead the way.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 2013 as Women’s History Month. I call upon all Americans to observe this month and to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, 2013, with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities. I also invite all Americans to visit www.WomensHistoryMonth.gov to learn more about the generations of women who have shaped our history.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of February, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.

BARACK OBAMA

Political Headlines February 27, 2013: President Barack Obama Backs Off Warnings About Sequester

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Backs Off Warnings About Sequester

Source: ABC News Radio, 2-27-13

Alex Wong/Getty Images

After weeks of outlining the dire consequences of the looming across-the-board spending cuts, President Obama on Wednesday night softened his warnings, saying the sequester is “not a cliff, but it is a tumble downward.”…READ MORE

Political Headlines February 27, 2013: Bob Woodward: A ‘Very Senior’ White House Person Warned Me I’d ‘Regret’ What I’m Doing

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

BOB WOODWARD: A ‘Very Senior’ White House Person Warned Me I’d ‘Regret’ What I’m Doing

Source: Business Insider, 2-27-13

Bob Woodward said this evening on CNN that a “very senior person” at the White House warned him in an email that he would “regret doing this,” the same day he has continued to slam President Barack Obama over the looming forced cuts known as the sequester….”It makes me very uncomfortable to have the White House telling reporters, ‘You’re going to regret doing something that you believe in,'” Woodward said….READ MORE

Political Headlines February 27, 2013: Bob Woodward says he was threatened by White House in CNN Interview

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Bob Woodward says he was threatened by White House

Source: CNN, 2-27-13

Bob Woodward claimed the White House threatened him about his coverage on the budget cuts, but the White House has pushed back. (Source: CNN)
Bob Woodward claimed the White House threatened him about his coverage on the budget cuts, but the White House has pushed back. (Source: CNN)

Veteran journalist Bob Woodward said Wednesday he was threatened by a senior Obama administration official following his reporting on the White House’s handling of the forced federal spending cuts set to take effect on Friday.

“They’re not happy at all,” he said on CNN’s “The Situation Room”….”It was said very clearly, you will regret doing this,” he said….READ MORE

Political Headlines February 27, 2013: Bob Woodward at war with Obama White House

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Woodward at war

Source: Politico, 2-27-13

Bob Woodward called a senior White House official last week to tell him that in a piece in that weekend’s Washington Post, he was going to question President Barack Obama’s account of how sequestration came about – and got a major-league brushback….READ MORE

Political Headlines February 27, 2013: Senate confirms Jack Lew as Treasury secretary with a 71-26 vote

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Senate confirms Jack Lew as Treasury secretary

Source: WaPo, 2-27-13

The Senate confirmed Jacob Lew to be Treasury secretary, affirming President Barack Obama’s choice of a budget expert at a time when Congress and the White House are at odds over sharp government spending cuts….READ MORE

Legal Buzz February 27, 2013: Supreme Court Seems Likely to Rule Against Parts of Voting Rights Act

LEGAL BUZZ

COURT AND LEGAL NEWS

Supreme Court Seems Likely to Rule Against Parts of Voting Rights Act

Source: ABC News Radio, 2-27-13

Conservative justices on the Supreme Court continued to express strong reservations Wednesday about Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, suggesting the key provision of the law might be in danger.

That section of the law says that certain states, mostly in the South, must get any changes to voting regulations pre-cleared by federal officials….READ MORE

Political Headlines February 27, 2013: Chuck Hagel sworn in as Defense Secretary & first remarks at the Pentagon

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Chuck Hagel sworn in, first remarks at the Pentagon (video)

Source: Politico, 2-27-13

Chuck Hagel was sworn in Wednesday as defense secretary — President Barack Obama’s third in just over four years — and said that one of his highest priorities will be ensuring fair treatment of troops, veterans and their families….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency February 27, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech at the Dedication Ceremony for Statue Honoring Rosa Parks at US Capitol

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President at Dedication of Statue Honoring Rosa Parks — US Capitol

Source: WH, 2-27-13

United States Capitol

11:45 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Mr. Speaker, Leader Reid, Leader McConnell, Leader Pelosi, Assistant Leader Clyburn; to the friends and family of Rosa Parks; to the distinguished guests who are gathered here today.

This morning, we celebrate a seamstress, slight in stature but mighty in courage.  She defied the odds, and she defied injustice.  She lived a life of activism, but also a life of dignity and grace.  And in a single moment, with the simplest of gestures, she helped change America — and change the world.

Rosa Parks held no elected office.  She possessed no fortune; lived her life far from the formal seats of power.  And yet today, she takes her rightful place among those who’ve shaped this nation’s course.  I thank all those persons, in particular the members of the Congressional Black Caucus, both past and present, for making this moment possible.  (Applause.)

A childhood friend once said about Mrs. Parks, “Nobody ever bossed Rosa around and got away with it.”  (Laughter.)  That’s what an Alabama driver learned on December 1, 1955.  Twelve years earlier, he had kicked Mrs. Parks off his bus simply because she entered through the front door when the back door was too crowded.  He grabbed her sleeve and he pushed her off the bus.  It made her mad enough, she would recall, that she avoided riding his bus for a while.

And when they met again that winter evening in 1955, Rosa Parks would not be pushed.  When the driver got up from his seat to insist that she give up hers, she would not be pushed.  When he threatened to have her arrested, she simply replied, “You may do that.”  And he did.

A few days later, Rosa Parks challenged her arrest.  A little-known pastor, new to town and only 26 years old, stood with her — a man named Martin Luther King, Jr.  So did thousands of Montgomery, Alabama commuters.  They began a boycott — teachers and laborers, clergy and domestics, through rain and cold and sweltering heat, day after day, week after week, month after month, walking miles if they had to, arranging carpools where they could, not thinking about the blisters on their feet, the weariness after a full day of work — walking for respect, walking for freedom, driven by a solemn determination to affirm their God-given dignity.

Three hundred and eighty-five days after Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, the boycott ended.  Black men and women and children re-boarded the buses of Montgomery, newly desegregated, and sat in whatever seat happen to be open.  (Applause.)  And with that victory, the entire edifice of segregation, like the ancient walls of Jericho, began to slowly come tumbling down.

It’s been often remarked that Rosa Parks’s activism didn’t begin on that bus.  Long before she made headlines, she had stood up for freedom, stood up for equality — fighting for voting rights, rallying against discrimination in the criminal justice system, serving in the local chapter of the NAACP.  Her quiet leadership would continue long after she became an icon of the civil rights movement, working with Congressman Conyers to find homes for the homeless, preparing disadvantaged youth for a path to success, striving each day to right some wrong somewhere in this world.

And yet our minds fasten on that single moment on the bus — Ms. Parks alone in that seat, clutching her purse, staring out a window, waiting to be arrested.  That moment tells us something about how change happens, or doesn’t happen; the choices we make, or don’t make.  “For now we see through a glass, darkly,” Scripture says, and it’s true.  Whether out of inertia or selfishness, whether out of fear or a simple lack of moral imagination, we so often spend our lives as if in a fog, accepting injustice, rationalizing inequity, tolerating the intolerable.

Like the bus driver, but also like the passengers on the bus, we see the way things are — children hungry in a land of plenty, entire neighborhoods ravaged by violence, families hobbled by job loss or illness — and we make excuses for inaction, and we say to ourselves, that’s not my responsibility, there’s nothing I can do.

Rosa Parks tell us there’s always something we can do.  She tells us that we all have responsibilities, to ourselves and to one another.  She reminds us that this is how change happens — not mainly through the exploits of the famous and the powerful, but through the countless acts of often anonymous courage and kindness and fellow feeling and responsibility that continually, stubbornly, expand our conception of justice — our conception of what is possible.

Rosa Parks’s singular act of disobedience launched a movement.  The tired feet of those who walked the dusty roads of Montgomery helped a nation see that to which it had once been blind.  It is because of these men and women that I stand here today.  It is because of them that our children grow up in a land more free and more fair; a land truer to its founding creed.

And that is why this statue belongs in this hall — to remind us, no matter how humble or lofty our positions, just what it is that leadership requires; just what it is that citizenship requires.  Rosa Parks would have turned 100 years old this month. We do well by placing a statue of her here.  But we can do no greater honor to her memory than to carry forward the power of her principle and a courage born of conviction.

May God bless the memory of Rosa Parks, and may God bless these United States of America.  (Applause.)

END
11:55 A.M. EST

Political Headlines February 27, 2013: Bob Woodward blasts President Obama’s madness on the sequester

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Bob Woodward blasts President Obama madness

Source: Politico, 2-27-13

The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward attacked President Barack Obama on Wednesday, saying the commander-in-chief’s decision not to deploy an aircraft carrier because of budget cuts is “a kind of madness….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency February 26, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Statement on the Confirmation of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense

POLITICAL BUZZ


OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Statement from the President on the Confirmation of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense

Source: WH, 2-26-13

With the bipartisan confirmation of Chuck Hagel as our next Secretary of Defense, we will have the defense secretary our nation needs and the leader our troops deserve.  From the moment he volunteered for military service in Vietnam, Chuck has devoted his life to keeping America secure and our armed forces strong.  An American patriot who fought and bled for our country, he understands our sacred obligations to our service members, military families and veterans.

I will be counting on Chuck’s judgment and counsel as we end the war in Afghanistan, bring our troops home, stay ready to meet the threats of our time and keep our military the finest fighting force in the world.  Most of all, I am grateful to Chuck for reminding us that when it comes to our national defense, we are not Democrats or Republicans, we are Americans, and our greatest responsibility is the security of the American people.

Political Headlines February 26, 2013: Senate Confirms Chuck Hagel as Defense Secretary with Vote of 58-41

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Senate Confirms Hagel as Defense Secretary

Source: WSJ, 2-26-13

The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Chuck Hagel as the nation’s next defense secretary largely along party lines, after several Republicans earlier in the day ended their effort to stop a vote on the former senator….READ MORE

Political Headlines February 26, 2013: Speaker John Boehner Pressures Senate Democrats on Bill to Avert the Sequester

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Boehner Pressures Democrats to Get ‘Off Their…’

Source: ABC News Radio, 2-26-13

Alex Wong/Getty Images

House Speaker John Boehner used some choice words to pressure Senate Democrats to avert the looming sequester — $85 billion of arbitrary across-the-board cuts — insisting that “the House has done its job” and the President’s party.

“We have moved the bill in the House twice,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said. “We should not have to move a third bill before the Senate gets off their a** and begins to do something.”…READ MORE

Full Text Political Headlines February 26, 2013: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Remarks on the Senate Floor on the Sequester — Smarter Cuts, Not Tax Hikes

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Smarter Cuts, Not Tax Hikes

Source: McConnell.Senate.gov, 2-26-13

“I’d like to say a word about the sequester.

“The President’s top aides proposed the sequester as a way of helping the White House avoid a debt-limit debate during last-year’s campaign.

“In essence, the deal we struck was that, in exchange for avoiding a second vote before the election, the debt limit would be paired with spending cuts only, and would not involve a tax increase.

“The President had more than a year and a half to revisit his proposal and work with us to prevent it. He obviously thought his time and energies would be better spent elsewhere.

“In fact, I note that today he’s off campaigning again in Virginia instead of working with us to resolve the issue.

“So here we are.

“The President’s been running around acting like the world’s going to end because Congress might actually follow through on an idea he proposed and signed into law – all the while pretending he’s somehow powerless to stop it.

“Well, it’s time to put the record straight. And as someone who was personally involved in the 2011 budget talks, I think I’m uniquely qualified to do it.

“On the question of who came up with the idea in the first place, it originated, as I just noted, in the White House. I was less than 100 yards from this very spot when Vice President Biden called me at my desk to lay it out. He explained the sequester in exquisite detail, and then, as has been reported, the administration stubbornly stuck by those details throughout the negotiations, refusing any effort by Republicans to adjust its design in any way.

“More important than who came up with the idea of the sequester, however, is the fact that the bipartisan agreement that included it and that brought us to this point envisioned $2.1 trillion in spending cuts. Let me say that again: Democrats and Republicans agreed to $2.1 trillion in cuts as part of the 2011 Budget Control Act.

“So we can all go back and talk about what might have been, or what the President wanted or now wants. But let’s be clear about the facts.

“Those cuts were to come in two steps.

“First, through an immediate $900 billion spending reduction in the form of budget caps, and then by an additional $1.2 trillion in cut to be achieved one of two ways: either by the so-called Supercommittee or, if that failed, through the President’s sequester proposal – meaning automatic spending cuts to domestic and defense programs.

“And while the President tried repeatedly to make tax hikes a part of the backup plan, he ultimately gave up on that in exchange for avoiding a second vote on the debt limit before the election. The President made a deliberate decision, in other words, to give up on getting any tax hikes – or revenue enhancements, or whatever the White House wants to call it – as part of the negotiations over the sequester mechanism.

“He made the calculation that avoiding a second vote on the debt limit before the election was more important. So any effort to bring taxes into the picture now is just a ploy to move the goal posts, as the primary chronicler of this whole episode, Bob Woodward, has noted.

“Of course, the White House has tried to refute these historical facts, but it hasn’t gotten anywhere.

“As the Chairman of the Finance Committee helpfully reminded us last week, ‘The President is part of the sequester’ because ‘the White House recommended it … and so now we’re feeling the effects of it.’

“So it’s time for the administration to at least accept reality so we can all move forward and focus on what the White House is actually doing right now. It’s asking the American people for permission to break its own word on spending.

“We reached an agreement to cut $2.1 trillion in government spending over 10 years, and we intend to keep our word.

“Should these cuts be implemented in a smarter way? Absolutely. But the President and his cabinet secretaries had a year and a half to think about that. They can’t just show up now at the last minute and expect the American people to bail them out of their own lack of responsibility.

“We can either secure those reductions more intelligently, or we can do it the President’s way with across-the board cuts. But one thing Americans simply will not accept is another tax increase to replace spending reductions we already agreed to.

“It was my hope that the Supercommittee would have succeeded. The Senators I appointed took that assignment very seriously. They put real skin in the game, because they wanted it to work. They didn’t like the sequester idea. And had the President engaged in a serious and supportive way at that time, the Supercommittee may very well have succeeded. He chose to campaign, and I’d argue, undermine the process instead.

“But even after the Supercommittee failed, Republicans continued to work to find another way to achieve these cuts. We repeatedly called for replacing the sequester with smarter cuts, rather than tax hikes, according to the original pact. House Republicans passed two bills to do just that. But again, instead of engaging with us, the President just set up more roadblocks.

“For more than a year, he resisted and dismissed every Republican attempt at a compromise. He refused to offer any kind of reasonable alternative, and he even threatened to veto other proposals aimed at averting the sequester. And now, here we are, with the President presenting the country with two options: Armageddon or a tax hike.

“Well, it’s a false choice, and he knows it. But then, the President’s a master at creating the impression of chaos as an excuse for government action. Do nothing. Fan the flames of catastrophe. Then claim the only way out is more government, in the form of higher taxes.

“Look: the choice we face isn’t between the sequester and tax hikes. Remember, we’re only talking about cutting 2 to 3 percent of the budget. Any business owner or middle-class parent will tell you it’s completely ridiculous to think Washington can’t find a better way to cut 2 to 3 percent of the federal budget at a time when we’re $16 trillion in debt.

“Every single working American had to figure out how to make ends meet with 2 percent less in their paychecks last month when the payroll tax holiday expired. Are you telling me Washington can’t do the same? It’s absurd.

“There’s no reason in the world these cuts need to fall on essential services or emergency responders. After all, even with the sequester, Washington will be spending more than when President Obama got here. We’re only talking about cutting a tenth of what the President spent on the stimulus bill.

“Enough.

“Step one in this process of getting to a serious solution is to end the White House’s denial of historical reality. We’re starting to get there, slowly but surely.

“More important, though, is the next step: that’s when the President and his Democrat allies actually come to the table and negotiate in a serious way, without gimmicks and without games on how best to reduce Washington spending. So let’s please shelve the tax hikes and the endless campaigning.

“Finally, I think there’s an even larger point to be made here. The President’s been going around warning of utter chaos if the sequester takes effect. And while I agree that those cuts could be made in a smarter way, and don’t like the fact that they fall disproportionately on defense, what does it say about the size of government that we can’t cut it by 2 to 3 percent without inviting disaster? Doesn’t that make our point? Hasn’t government gotten too big if just cutting the overall budget by a couple percentage points could have that kind of impact?

“Personally, I don’t believe the world will end if the President’s sequester takes effect. But our country would be much better served if the Democrats who run Washington would get off the campaign trail and work with us to trim the budget in a more rational way.

“Americans are tired of the manufactured crises. I know my constituents in Kentucky are. They’re just tired of it. They want us to work together, and Republicans are ready to do just that.”

Full Text Obama Presidency February 26, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech on the Impact of the Sequester & Defense Spending Cuts in Newport News, Virginia

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Calls for a Responsible Approach to Deficit Reduction

Source: WH, 2-26-13

President Barack Obama at Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Va., Feb. 26, 2013President Barack Obama delivers remarks to highlight the devastating impact the sequester will have on jobs and middle class families, at Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Va., Feb. 26, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Remarks by the President on the Impact of the Sequester – Newport News, VA

Source: WH, 2-26-13 

Newport News Shipbuilding
Newport News, Virginia

1:23 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Newport News!  (Applause.)  Well, it is good to see all of you here today.

I want to thank your CEO, Mike Petters, for showing me around.  I usually don’t get a chance to hang out with nuclear submarines, especially submarines that my wife has sponsored.  (Applause.)  So right there, that was worth the trip.

But most importantly, it’s a great chance to see the incredible men and women who, every single day, are helping to keep America safe and are just the bedrock of this country’s manufacturing base.  Thank you to all of you.  (Applause.)

I want to thank our outstanding Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, who’s here.  (Applause.)  There he is right there — the good-looking guy over at the end.  (Laughter.)  I want to thank your Mayor, McKinley Price, who served this nation bravely in the U.S. Army.  (Applause.)  I want to thank two outstanding Congressmen who care about this facility, care about Virginia and care about the country — Congressman Bobby Scott is here — (applause) — and Congressman Scott Rigell is here as well.  (Applause.)

Now, the reason I came here today, in addition to seeing just some incredible stuff — it’s true, every time I come to these places, I don’t know how you all do it.  It is just amazing work.  But the main reason I’m here is to call attention to the important work that you’re doing on behalf of the nation’s defense, and to let the American people know that this work, along with hundreds of thousands of jobs, are currently in jeopardy because of politics in Washington.

In a few days, Congress might allow a series of immediate, painful, arbitrary budget cuts to take place — known in Washington as the sequester.  Now, that’s a pretty bad name — sequester.  But the effects are even worse than the name.  Instead of cutting out the government spending we don’t need — wasteful programs that don’t work, special interest tax loopholes and tax breaks — what the sequester does is it uses a meat cleaver approach to gut critical investments in things like education and national security and lifesaving medical research.

And the impact of this policy won’t be felt overnight, but it will be real.  The sequester will weaken America’s economic recovery.  It will weaken our military readiness.  And it will weaken the basic services that the American people depend on every single day.

Already, the uncertainty around these cuts is having an effect.  Companies are starting to prepare for layoff notices.  Families are preparing to cut back on expenses.  And the longer these cuts are in place, the greater the damage.

So here at Newport News Shipbuilding, you guys have made an enormous investment, because we’ve said in order to maintain the finest Navy that the world has ever known we’ve got to make sure that there is an orderly process whereby we are continually upgrading our ships, building new ships, maintaining our ships properly.  And these are some big ships.  So it’s expensive, and it’s complicated.  And you’ve got 5,000 suppliers all across the country, and you’ve got to have some certainty and some knowledge about how things are going to proceed over the long term for Mike and others to plan properly.

So you’re rightly concerned.  Mike is properly concerned about the impact that these cuts will have on not just this company, but companies and small businesses from all 50 states that supply you with parts and equipment.

Mike was telling me that you guys have already made a billion dollars’ worth of capital investment.  You’ve got half a billion dollars in training costs as you recruit and hire new people.  Well, those aren’t commitments that you make lightly.  You’ve got to have the capacity to plan and have some certainty in terms of what it is that we’re going to be doing.  And you know that if Congress can’t get together and plan our nation’s finances for the long term, that over time some of your jobs and businesses could be at risk.

Over at the Norfolk Naval Station, the threat of these cuts has already forced the Navy to cancel the deployment, or delay the repair of certain aircraft carriers.  One that’s currently being built might not get finished.  Another carrier might not get started at all.  And that hurts your bottom line.  That hurts this community.

Because of these automatic cuts, about 90,000 Virginians who work for the Department of Defense would be forced to take unpaid leave from their jobs.  So that’s money out of their pockets, money out of their paychecks.  And then that means there’s going to be a ripple effect on thousands of other jobs and businesses and services throughout the Commonwealth, because if they don’t have money in their pockets or less money in their pockets, that means they’re less able to afford to buy goods and services from other businesses.  So it’s not just restricted to the defense industry.

All told, the sequester could cost tens of thousands of jobs right here in Virginia.  But it doesn’t just stop there.  If the sequester goes into effect, more than 2,000 college students would lose their financial aid.  Early education like Head Start and Early Start would be eliminated for nearly 1,000 children, and around 18,000 fewer Virginians would get the skills and training they need to find a job.

Across the country, these cuts will force federal prosecutors to close cases and potentially let criminals go.  Air traffic controllers and airport security will see cutbacks, and that could cause delays at airports across the country.  Tens of thousands of parents will have to scramble to find child care for their kids.  Hundreds of thousands of Americans will lose access to primary care and preventive care like flu vaccinations and cancer screenings, including more than 3,500 children right here in Virginia.

So these cuts are wrong.  They’re not smart.  They’re not fair.  They’re a self-inflicted wound that doesn’t have to happen.

Now, the reason that we’re even thinking about the sequester is because people are rightly concerned about the deficit and the debt.  But there is a sensible way of doing things and there is a dumb way of doing things.  I mean, think about your own family.  Let’s say that suddenly you’ve got a little less money coming in. Are you going to say, well, we’ll cut out college tuition for the kid, we’ll stop feeding the little guy over here, we won’t pay our car note even though that means we can’t get to work — that’s not what you do, right?

You step back and you say, what is it that’s important — our child’s education, making sure they’re healthy, making sure we can get to the job, keeping our house repaired?  And then you say, here are the things that aren’t so important and you cut those out.  You prioritize, and you make smart decisions.  Well, we should be doing the same thing.

Now, I’ve laid out a plan that details how we can pay down our deficit in a way that’s balanced and responsible.  We have the plan right on a website, the White House website.  Everybody can go see it.  It details exactly how we can cut programs that don’t work, how we can raise money by closing loopholes that are only serving a few, as opposed to the average American.

We detailed $930 billion in sensible spending cuts that we’re willing to make and $580 billion in wasteful tax loopholes and deductions that we’re willing to eliminate through tax reform.

And what I’ve said is if the Republicans in Congress don’t like every detail of my proposal, which I don’t expect them to, I’ve told them my door is open.  I am more than willing to negotiate.  I want to compromise.  There’s no reason why we can’t come together and find a sensible way to reduce the deficit over the long term without affecting vital services, without hurting families, without impacting outstanding facilities like this one and our national defense.  There’s a way of doing this.

And the fact is there are leaders in both parties throughout this country who want to do the same.  I’ve got to give Scott Rigell credit.  He is one of your Republican congressmen who’s with us here today — and that’s not always healthy for a Republican, being with me.  But the reason he’s doing it is because he knows it’s important to you.  And he’s asked his colleagues in the House to consider closing tax loopholes instead of letting these automatic cuts go through.  He’s concerned about the deficit, and he’s more than prepared to make some really tough cuts, but he wants to do it in a smart way.

Bobby Scott — same thing.  Some of the cuts we’ve proposed, Bobby might not think are perfect, but he knows that we’ve got to make some tough decisions.  He just wants to make sure that you aren’t the ones who are adversely impacted and that we’re sharing the sacrifice in bringing down our deficit; we’re not just dumping it on a few people and we’re not doing it in a dumb way.

Senators like John McCain have made similar statements to what Scott said.  Your Republican Governor along with other governors around the country have said they want Congress to stop the sequester, to stop these cuts.

But I just have to be honest with you.  There are too many Republicans in Congress right now who refuse to compromise even an inch when it comes to closing tax loopholes and special interest tax breaks.  And that’s what’s holding things up right now.

Keep in mind, nobody is asking them to raise income tax rates.  All we’re asking is to consider closing tax loopholes and deductions that the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, said he was willing to do just a few months ago.  He said there were a bunch of loopholes and deductions you could close.  He said you could raise $800 billion, a trillion dollars by closing loopholes.

Well, we’re not even asking for that much.  All we’re asking is that they close loopholes for the well-off and the well-connected — for hedge fund managers, or oil companies, or corporate jet owners who are all doing very well and don’t need these tax loopholes — so we can avoid laying off workers, or kicking kids off Head Start, or reducing financial aid for college students.

I don’t think that’s too much to ask.  I do not think that is partisan.  (Applause.)  The majority of the American people agree with me.  The majority of Newport News agrees with me.  We need to get this done.  (Applause.)

But the choice is up to Congress.  Only Congress has the power to pass a law that stops these damaging cuts and replaces them with smart savings and tax reform.  And the second I get that bill on my desk, I will sign it into law.  But I’ve got to get Congress to pass it.

None of us will get 100 percent of what we want.  Democrats, they’ve got to make some tough choices too. Democrats like me, we’ve said we’re prepared to make some tough cuts and reforms, including to programs like Medicare.  But if we’re willing to compromise, then Republicans in the House have to compromise as well.  That’s what democracy is about.  That’s what this country needs right now.  (Applause.)

So let me just make one last point, by the way, for those of you who are following this.  Now, lately, some people have been saying, well, maybe we’ll just give the President some flexibility.  He could make the cuts the way he wants and that way it won’t be as damaging.  The problem is when you’re cutting $85 billion in seven months, which represents over a 10-percent cut in the defense budget in seven months, there’s no smart way to do that.  There’s no smart way to do that.  You don’t want to have to choose between, let’s see, do I close funding for the disabled kid, or the poor kid?  Do I close this Navy shipyard or some other one?  When you’re doing things in a way that’s not smart, you can’t gloss over the pain and the impact it’s going to have on the economy.

And the broader point is, Virginia, we can’t just cut our way to prosperity.  We can’t just cut our way to prosperity.  We can’t ask seniors and working families like yours to shoulder the entire burden of deficit reduction while asking nothing more from the wealthiest and the most powerful.  We’re not going to grow the middle class just by shifting the cost of health care or college onto families that are already struggling, or forcing communities to lay off more teachers or cops or firefighters or shipbuilders, and then folks who are doing really well don’t have to do anything more.  That’s not fair, and it’s not good for the economy.

And the other thing we’ve got to do is to stop having these crises manufactured every month.  It seems like — I know you guys must get tired of it.  (Applause.)  Didn’t we just solve this thing?  Now we’ve got another thing coming up?  (Applause.) I mean, think about if Mike Petters ran his business this way — once every month or two there would be some crisis, and you wouldn’t be sure whether or not you were working or not.  Even if it got solved eventually or ultimately, it would be pretty discouraging on people.  You would be less productive.  Ships wouldn’t get built as fast.  You would waste money because you don’t know exactly what to expect.  Folks aren’t sure, am I showing up to work today, or not?

If it’s not a good way to run a business, it’s sure not a good way to run a country.  (Applause.)

Now, all of you, the American people, you’ve worked too hard for too long rebuilding and digging our way out of the financial crisis back in 2007 and 2008 just to see Congress cause another one.  The greatest nation on Earth can’t keep on conducting its business drifting from one crisis to the next.

We’ve got to have a plan.  We’ve got to invest in our common future.  Our true north is a growing economy that creates good middle-class jobs; a country that provides its people with the skills they need to get those jobs and make sure that you’re getting paid a decent wage for working hard so you can support your families.  That’s what we should be focused on right now.  Not weakening the economy.  Not laying people off.  (Applause.)

That’s what we should be talking about in Washington.  And if you agree with me, I need you to make sure your voices are heard.  Let your leaders know what you expect of them.  Let them know what you believe.  Let them know that what this country was built on was a sense of obligation to not just each other but to future generations; that we’ve got to shoulder those obligations as one nation, and as one people.

I was in a conversation with some of the governors from across the country yesterday and I told them, I said, I’ve run my last election.  Michelle is very happy about that.  (Laughter.)  I’m not interested in spin; I’m not interested in playing a blame game.  At this point, all I’m interested in is just solving problems.  (Applause.)  All I’m interested in is making sure that when you get up early in the morning, and get to this ship at 5:30 in the morning, that you know if you do a good job and if you work hard and if you’re making sure that all the parts to this incredible ship that you’re building are where they need to be — if you’re doing what you do, then you can go home feeling satisfied, I did my job, I did my part, I can support my family, I can take pride in what I’ve done for this country.

That’s all I want.  I want us to be able to look back five years from now, 10 years from now, and say we took care of our business and we put an end to some of these games that maybe, I guess, are entertaining for some but are hurting too many people.

But in order for us to make that happen I’m going to need you.  The one thing about being President is, after four years you get pretty humble.  (Laughter.)  You’d think maybe you wouldn’t, but actually you become more humble.  You realize what you don’t know.  You realize all the mistakes you’ve made.  But you also realize you can’t do things by yourself.  That’s not how our system works.  You’ve got to have the help and the goodwill of Congress, and what that means is you’ve got to make sure that constituents of members of Congress are putting some pressure on them, making sure they’re doing the right thing, putting an end to some of these political games.

So I need you, Virginia, to keep up the pressure.  I need you to keep up the effort.  I need you to keep up the fight.  (Applause.)  If you do, Congress will listen.  If you stand up and speak out, Congress will listen.  And together, we will unleash our true potential, and we’ll remind the world just why it is the United States builds the greatest ships on Earth and is the greatest nation on Earth.  (Applause.)

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

END
1:44 P.M. EST

Political Headlines February 26, 2013: Senate clears path for final vote on Chuck Hagel’s defense secretary nomination

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Senate clears path for final vote on Hagel nomination

Source: WaPo, 2-26-13

Former senator Chuck Hagel’s (R-Neb.) bid to win confirmation as the next defense secretary cleared a major hurdle Tuesday, beating back a Republican effort to block his nomination almost two weeks after GOP senators launched a filibuster. Following a 71 to 27 vote, Hagel is now poised for a final confirmation vote later Tuesday or early Wednesday over Republican objections to his views on Middle East security….READ MORE

Full Text Political Headlines February 26, 2013: Speaker John Boehner’s Press Conference on the Sequester — President Obama Using Military as a Campaign Prop to Demand Tax Hikes

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Speaker Boehner: President Obama Using Military as a Campaign Prop to Demand Tax Hikes

Source: Speaker Boehner Press Office, 2-26-13

February 26, 2013
Video

“You know, Republicans have voted twice to replace the sequester.  The president, as you’re all aware, insisted that he not have to deal with the debt ceiling twice and insisted that the backstop for the work of the super committee be the sequester. 

“But I don’t think the president’s focused on trying to find a solution to the sequester.  The president has been traveling all over the country and today going down to Newport News in order to use our military men and women as a prop in yet another campaign rally to support his tax hikes. 

“Now the American people know if the president gets more money they’re just going to spend it.  The fact is is that he’s gotten his tax hikes.   It’s time to focus on the real problem here in Washington and that is spending. 

“The president has known for 16 months that the sequester was looming out there when the super committee failed to come to an agreement.  And so for 16 months the president’s been traveling all over the country holding rallies instead of sitting down with Senate leaders in order to try to forge an agreement over there in order to move a bill.  We have moved a bill in the House twice, we should not have to move a third bill before the Senate gets off their ass and begins to do something.”     

Political Headlines February 26, 2013: Senate Finance Committee Votes to Approve Jack Lew’s Treasury Secretary Nomination

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Senate Finance Committee Votes to Approve Jack Lew’s Nomination

Source: ABC News Radio, 2-26-13

Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Senate Finance Committee voted Tuesday to approve Jack Lew’s nomination for secretary of the Treasury.

The approval came with a 19-5 vote.  All the “no” votes came from Republican senators — John Cornyn of Texas, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Pat Roberts of Kansas….READ MORE

Political Headlines February 26, 2013: Sequester Timeline: When Will Cuts Be Felt?

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Sequester Timeline: When Will Cuts Be Felt?

Source: ABC News Radio, 2-26-13

Little is known about when, exactly, the “sequester” will wreak its expected havoc on the nation, but the process begins on Friday.

Basic Timeline:

March 1 — Sequestration goes into effect.

March 4 — Furlough notices issued. 

March 27 — The government runs out of money, or a new funding measure is passed.

April 4 — Furloughs can begin, consequences are felt.

….READ MORE

Political Headlines February 25, 2013: Republicans urge President Barack Obama to ‘stop campaigning’ over budget cuts

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Republicans urge Obama to ‘stop campaigning’ over budget cuts

Source: Fox News, 2-25-13

House Republican leaders on Monday urged President Obama to “stop campaigning” and hunker down with Congress to find an alternative to the bludgeon of spending cuts set to hit Friday, saying now is not the time “for a road-show president….READ MORE

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