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

POLITICAL BUZZ

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.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY
& THE 112TH
CONGRESS:

IN FOCUS: COMMERCE SECRETARY JOHN BRYSON RESIGNS AFTER CRASH & SEIZURES

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

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

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

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

FATHER’S DAY, 2012
– – – – – – –
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION

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.

BARACK OBAMA

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

Full Text Political Buzz June 15, 2012: President Barack Obama Announces US Will Stop Deporting Young Immigrants in Rose Garden Speech — GOP Candidate Mitt Romney Reacts

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES
& SPEECHES

President Barack Obama delivers remarks in the Rose Garden of the White House (June 15, 2012)

President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the Department of Homeland Security’s immigration announcement in the Rose Garden of the White House, June 15, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

IN FOCUS: PRESIDENT OBAMA ANNOUNCES US WILL STOP DEPORTING YOUNG ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS — ROMNEY REACTS

U.S. will stop deporting some younger illegal immigrants: The Obama administration will stop deporting and begin giving work permits to younger illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children and have since led law-abiding lives, the AP reports. The election-year initiative addresses a top priority of a growing Latino electorate that has opposed administration deportation policies. The administration’s decision will affect as many as 800,000 immigrants…. – WaPo, 6-15-12

Transcript of Obama’s Speech on Immigration Policy: The full text of the president’s remarks on changes to immigration policy. – NYT, 6-15-12

  • US to Stop Deporting Some Illegal Immigrants: Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children will be able to obtain work permits and be safe from deportation under a new policy announced on Friday by the Obama administration…. – NYT, 6-15-12
  • Obama spares many young illegal immigrants deportation: Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who were brought into the United States as children will be able to avoid deportation and get work permits under an order on Friday by President Barack Obama… Reuters, 6-16-12
  • Obama policy to spare many youths from deportation: President Barack Obama eased enforcement of immigration laws Friday, offering a chance for hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants to stay in the country and work. Immediately embraced by Hispanics, the extraordinary step touched off…. – Fox News, 6-15-12
  • Mexicans hail Obama’s call for a freeze on deporting young illegal immigrants: Today, President Obama ordered his administration to stop deporting young immigrants who came to the US illegally as kids and don’t pose a security threat…. – CS Monitor, 6-15-12
  • Obama Says Changes to Deportation Rules Make Policy More Fair: President Barack Obama said the US will immediately stop deporting some illegal immigrants brought to the US as children and make them eligible for work permits, in an election-year effort with appeal to Latino voters…. – Bloomberg, San Francisco Chronicle, 6-15-12
  • President Obama limits deportations for some immigrants: Using his executive powers to go where Congress would not, President Obama delivered on a promise Friday and ordered his administration to stop deporting illegal immigrants who came to the US as children…. – LAT, 6-15-12
  • Obama tells young illegal immigrants they can stay: Order doesn’t offer citizenship but reprieve from deportation. Critics call it an overreach of executive power. Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants will get a chance to stay in the United States and work under a new policy announced Friday…. – Minneapolis Star Tribune, 6-15-12
  • DREAM ACT: We educated these children, shouldn’t they give back to our economy?: “This is not amnesty, this is not immunity. This is not a path to citizenship. It’s not a permanent fix. This is a temporary stopgap measure that lets us focus our resources wisely while giving a degree of relief and hope…. – Washington Times, 6-15-12
  • THE POLITICS OF IMMIGRATION: President Barack Obama announces that his administration will stop deporting and begin granting work permits to younger illegal immigrants who came to the US as children and have since led law-abiding lives, during a statement in the Rose Garden of the White House…. – Chicago Sun-Times, 6-15-12
  • Obama’s Immigration Shift Puts Pressure on Romney: President Obama’s unilateral shift on immigration policy is a signal to Hispanic voters that he is on their side, and a move that places Mitt Romney in a tough spot…. – NYT, 6-15-12
  • Romney says Obama’s immigration decision will complicate efforts to solve immmigration policy issue: Softening his rhetoric on immigration, likely Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said Friday that the status of younger illegal immigrants was important and should be addressed with legislation. He would not say if he would…. – WaPo, 6-15-12
  • Mitt Romney says Obama’s playing politics on immigration: Hours after the Obama administration announced that it would stop deporting some young illegal immigrants who came to the US as children, Mitt Romney suggested that the president was merely seeking a political advantage to secure a second term…. – LAT, 6-15-12
  • Young illegal immigrants’ amnesty could tighten competition for jobs, college: President Obama has just opened a floodgate of opportunity for young illegal immigrants in the United States, but could it squeeze the aspirations of legal Americans in the process?… – WaPo, 6-15-12

Obama Defends Immigrant Deportation Rules, Criticized as Political

Source: ABC News Radio, 6-15-12

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Obama flashed anger today as a reporter interrupted his speech on immigration in the Rose Garden.

Neil Munro of The Daily Caller, a conservative news site, shouted at Obama in the middle of his speech formally announcing looser deportation rules, “Why do you favor foreigners over American workers?”

Irritated, Obama glared at Munro and told him not to interrupt, said he “didn’t ask for an argument” and said the new order is “the right thing to do.”…READ MORE

President Obama Delivers Remarks on Immigration

Source: WH, 6-15-12

Speaking from the Rose Garden, President Obama addressed a new policy from the Department of Homeland Security aimed at making the nation’s immigration policy more fair and more efficient — by removing the threat of deportation for young people who are low enforcement priorities.
He said:

Over the next few months, eligible individuals who do not present a risk to national security or public safety will be able to request temporary relief from deportation proceedings and apply for work authorization.

Now, let’s be clear — this is not amnesty, this is not immunity.  This is not a path to citizenship.  It’s not a permanent fix. This is a temporary stopgap measure that lets us focus our resources wisely while giving a degree of relief and hope to talented, driven, patriotic young people.

Remarks by the President on Immigration

Rose Garden

2:09 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, everybody.  This morning, Secretary Napolitano announced new actions my administration will take to mend our nation’s immigration policy, to make it more fair, more efficient, and more just — specifically for certain young people sometimes called “Dreamers.”

These are young people who study in our schools, they play in our neighborhoods, they’re friends with our kids, they pledge allegiance to our flag.  They are Americans in their heart, in their minds, in every single way but one:  on paper.  They were brought to this country by their parents — sometimes even as infants — and often have no idea that they’re undocumented until they apply for a job or a driver’s license, or a college scholarship.

Put yourself in their shoes.  Imagine you’ve done everything right your entire life — studied hard, worked hard, maybe even graduated at the top of your class — only to suddenly face the threat of deportation to a country that you know nothing about, with a language that you may not even speak.

That’s what gave rise to the DREAM Act.  It says that if your parents brought you here as a child, if you’ve been here for five years, and you’re willing to go to college or serve in our military, you can one day earn your citizenship.  And I have said time and time and time again to Congress that, send me the DREAM Act, put it on my desk, and I will sign it right away.

Now, both parties wrote this legislation.  And a year and a half ago, Democrats passed the DREAM Act in the House, but Republicans walked away from it.  It got 55 votes in the Senate, but Republicans blocked it.  The bill hasn’t really changed.  The need hasn’t changed.  It’s still the right thing to do.  The only thing that has changed, apparently, was the politics.

As I said in my speech on the economy yesterday, it makes no sense to expel talented young people, who, for all intents and purposes, are Americans — they’ve been raised as Americans; understand themselves to be part of this country — to expel these young people who want to staff our labs, or start new businesses, or defend our country simply because of the actions of their parents — or because of the inaction of politicians.

In the absence of any immigration action from Congress to fix our broken immigration system, what we’ve tried to do is focus our immigration enforcement resources in the right places.  So we prioritized border security, putting more boots on the southern border than at any time in our history — today, there are fewer illegal crossings than at any time in the past 40 years.  We focused and used discretion about whom to prosecute, focusing on criminals who endanger our communities rather than students who are earning their education.  And today, deportation of criminals is up 80 percent.  We’ve improved on that discretion carefully and thoughtfully.  Well, today, we’re improving it again.

Effective immediately, the Department of Homeland Security is taking steps to lift the shadow of deportation from these young people.  Over the next few months, eligible individuals who do not present a risk to national security or public safety will be able to request temporary relief from deportation proceedings and apply for work authorization.

Now, let’s be clear — this is not amnesty, this is not immunity.  This is not a path to citizenship.  It’s not a permanent fix.  This is a temporary stopgap measure that lets us focus our resources wisely while giving a degree of relief and hope to talented, driven, patriotic young people.  It is —

Q    (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT:  — the right thing to do.

Q    — foreigners over American workers.

THE PRESIDENT:  Excuse me, sir.  It’s not time for questions, sir.

Q    No, you have to take questions.

THE PRESIDENT:  Not while I’m speaking.

Precisely because this is temporary, Congress needs to act.  There is still time for Congress to pass the DREAM Act this year, because these kids deserve to plan their lives in more than two-year increments.  And we still need to pass comprehensive immigration reform that addresses our 21st century economic and security needs — reform that gives our farmers and ranchers certainty about the workers that they’ll have.  Reform that gives our science and technology sectors certainty that the young people who come here to earn their PhDs won’t be forced to leave and start new businesses in other countries.  Reform that continues to improve our border security, and lives up to our heritage as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.

Just six years ago, the unlikely trio of John McCain, Ted Kennedy and President Bush came together to champion this kind of reform.  And I was proud to join 23 Republicans in voting for it.  So there’s no reason that we can’t come together and get this done.

And as long as I’m President, I will not give up on this issue, not only because it’s the right thing to do for our economy — and CEOs agree with me — not just because it’s the right thing to do for our security, but because it’s the right thing to do, period.  And I believe that, eventually, enough Republicans in Congress will come around to that view as well.

And I believe that it’s the right thing to do because I’ve been with groups of young people who work so hard and speak with so much heart about what’s best in America, even though I knew some of them must have lived under the fear of deportation.  I know some have come forward, at great risks to themselves and their futures, in hopes it would spur the rest of us to live up to our own most cherished values.  And I’ve seen the stories of Americans in schools and churches and communities across the country who stood up for them and rallied behind them, and pushed us to give them a better path and freedom from fear –because we are a better nation than one that expels innocent young kids.

And the answer to your question, sir — and the next time I’d prefer you let me finish my statements before you ask that question — is this is the right thing to do for the American people —

Q    (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT:  I didn’t ask for an argument.  I’m answering your question.

Q    I’d like to —

THE PRESIDENT:  It is the right thing to do —

Q    (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT:  — for the American people.  And here’s why —

Q    — unemployment —

THE PRESIDENT:  Here’s the reason:  because these young people are going to make extraordinary contributions, and are already making contributions to our society.

I’ve got a young person who is serving in our military, protecting us and our freedom.  The notion that in some ways we would treat them as expendable makes no sense.  If there is a young person here who has grown up here and wants to contribute to this society, wants to maybe start a business that will create jobs for other folks who are looking for work, that’s the right thing to do.  Giving certainty to our farmers and our ranchers; making sure that in addition to border security, we’re creating a comprehensive framework for legal immigration — these are all the right things to do.

We have always drawn strength from being a nation of immigrants, as well as a nation of laws, and that’s going to continue.  And my hope is that Congress recognizes that and gets behind this effort.

All right.  Thank you very much.

Q    What about American workers who are unemployed while you import foreigners?

END
2:17 P.M. EDT

 

Adviser Suggests Romney Will Focus on Economy, Not Immigration

Source: ABC News Radio, 6-15-12

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

President Obama’s announcement that he will ease deportation for the children of some illegal immigrants underscores an area where Mitt Romney was to the right of most of his primary opponents.

While Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich both endorsed pathways to legal residency for some illegal immigrants, Romney never did.

Romney has not yet reacted to the news Friday from President Obama that he will no longer pursue the deportation of many young undocumented citizens that came to this country as children by their parents….READ MORE

But campaign adviser Kevin Madden suggested he won’t be distracted by this issue and will instead remain “focus(ed) very intently on the issue of the economy.”

“I think the message that he has to Latino voters, Hispanic voters, is going to be related to what he can do to put the country on the right track and how it’s going to help, how it’s going to help folks who want more opportunity in this country,” Madden said on MSNBC Friday just before the president made the announcement in the Rose Garden….READ MORE

Political Buzz June 8, 2012: President Barack Obama Press Conference: Obama Presses Congress to Pass his Jobs Proposal — Urges European Leaders to Fix Economic Crisis

POLITICAL BUZZ

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 2011.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Barack Obama pauses while speaking in the White House Press Briefing Room in Washington, June 8, 2012. | Reuters

The bully pulpit is really the only source of leverage the president has. | Reuters

 IN FOCUS: PRESIDENT OBAMA PRESS CONFERENCE: OBAMA PRESSES CONGRESS TO PASS HIS JOBS PROPOSAL — URGES EUROPEAN LEADERS TO FIX ECONOMIC CRISIS

Obama Calls for Aid to States, Says ‘Private Sector Doing Fine': Amid fresh concerns about the durability of the U.S. economic recovery and the threat of financial shocks from Europe’s debt crisis, President Obama today urged lawmakers to send more federal aid to states and localities to boost hiring, asserting “the private sector is doing fine.”
“We’ve created 4.3 million new jobs over the last 27 months, over 800,00 just this year alone. The private sector is doing fine,” Obama said during a morning news conference in the White House briefing room.
“Where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy has to do with state and local government. Often times, cuts initiated by governors or mayors who are not getting the kind of help that they had in the past from the federal government. And they don’t have the same kind of flexibility as the federal government does in dealing with fewer revenues coming in,” he said…. – ABC News Radio, 6-8-12

  • President Obama prods European leaders to work on economy: Europe’s economic crisis could send shock waves roaring across the Atlantic that would drag down the fragile US economy and threaten President Barack Obama’s hopes for a second term. The president demonstrated Friday just how deeply he’s…. – San Jose Mercury News, 6-8-12
  • Obama news conference signals rising concern about economy: President Obama on Friday prodded European leaders to take further steps to stabilize their financial system while urging Congress to act on his jobs proposals at home, twin moves that signaled rising concern in his administration about…. – LAT, 6-8-12
  • Obama hits Republicans for lack of action on jobs: President Obama urged Congress to take steps to boost the economy and called on Republican lawmakers to explain why they are not taking action if they don’t…. – CBS News, 6-8-12
  • Obama tells Congress, European leaders to improve the economy, avert a crisis: President Obama on Friday put the country’s economic problems on the shoulders of Republicans in Congress, saying their failure to pass his entire jobs bill is keeps Americans out of work. “If Republicans want to be helpful … they should be asking…. – Fox News, 6-8-12
  • Obama: Congress has ‘no excuse’ not to pass jobs agenda: Facing a slowdown in the US economy, President Obama on Friday tried to inject new momentum behind his jobs agenda, declaring that Congress has “no excuse” not to support his proposals aimed at putting more Americans back to work…. – WaPo, 6-8-12
  • Romney: Obama’s private sector remark ‘out of touch': Presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney seized on President Obama’s comments today about the state of the private sector during a speech in Iowa calling the president’s remarks “out of touch.” “He said the private sector is doing fine.”… – USA Today, 6-8-12
  • Mitt Romney pounces on Obama saying private sector ‘doing fine': Mitt Romney hit back at President Obama’s comments Friday morning that the private sector was “doing fine,” with the GOP nominee saying it was evidence that the president does not understand the economy nor the financial struggles facing Americans…. – LAT, 6-8-12
  • Obama: Congress, Europe must stem economic crisis: The economy at risk, President Barack Obama accused Republicans on Friday of pursuing policies that would weaken the US recovery. He simultaneously urged Europe’s leaders…. – AP, 6-8-12
  • Obama uses bully pulpit to talk economy: MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts talks to Melissa Harris-Perry, host of MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry show, about President Barack Obama’s remarks about the economy and Congress’ not approving his entire jobs plan…. – msnbc.com, 6-8-12
  • Obama: Europe Must Act as Crisis Puts Drag on Recovery: Play Obama: Congress Must Act on Economic Growth President Barack Obama pressed Europe’s leaders to take “decisive” action to stimulate growth while dealing with debt, saying the euro-zone crisis is putting a serious drag on the US economy…. – Bloomberg, 6-8-12
  • Obama Urges Europe to Act Decisively: President Barack Obama on Friday said the euro zone needs to take decisive steps to inject capital into its weak banks and deepen collaboration on its financial system and budgets to stem the financial crisis…. – WSJ, 6-8-12
  • Obama to speak on state of US economy, Europe’s woes as re-election campaign: President Barack Obama will address the state of the economy, including the debt crisis in Europe that’s become a drag on the US, in remarks at the White House Friday. The president will also call on Congress to pass proposals that he says…. – WaPo, 6-8-12

Political Buzz June 8, 2012: Congressional Leaders Press for Inquiry to Investigate National Security Leaks Used in New York Times Feature on President Obama’s ‘Kill List”

POLITICAL BUZZ

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 2011.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

IN FOCUS: CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS PRESS FOR INQUIRY TO INVESTIGATE NATIONAL SECURITY LEAKS

iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Congress Warns Intel Leaks Put ‘Lives at Risk':
Source: ABC News Radio, 6-7-12
Top Democrats and Republicans Thursday demanded an end to leaks of classified intelligence because, they said, the leaks are putting lives at risk and jeopardizing future operations.
Thursday afternoon, the senior Democrats on the House and Senate intelligence committees joined together with Republicans to denounce a recent flood of national security leaks about U.S. covert actions in counterterrorism and espionage, and to announce their collective effort to investigate the recurring issue of classified information being disclosed in the media.
Earlier this week, the FBI has opened a leak investigation into the disclosures in the New York Times last week that President Obama ordered the intelligence community to speed up cyber attacks against Iran with the Stuxnet worm, according to federal law enforcement officials. In recent weeks, there have also been stories about the president’s “kill list” of al Qaeda drone targets and another about the double agent who helped the U.S. foil the latest attempted al Qaeda attack on a U.S. airline.
Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, called recent leaks “one of the most serious of breaches” that he has seen in 10 years sitting on the committee…. READ MORE

  • Pressing for Leak Inquiry by a Special Counsel: Calls for a special counsel to investigate leaks of classified information by Obama administration officials gathered momentum on Thursday after the Justice Department’s national security division partly recused itself from the inquiry…. – NYT, 6-7-12
  • Top lawmakers declare war on intelligence leaks: Leaders of the Senate and House intelligence committees said Thursday they were drafting legislation to further limit who can access highly classified information and possibly impose new penalties for revealing it…. – AP, 6-7-12
  • Obama administration playing dangerous game with intelligence leaks: Senator McCain and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney traded insults this week over intelligence leaks – McCain called the Obama White House “grossly irresponsible” to leak classified information for political gain, while Carney called McCain…. – Fox News, 6-7-12
  • Intelligence committees vow to stop leaks of secrets: The House and Senate intelligence committees announced plans Wednesday to draft new laws against leaks of classified information, adding to an uproar on Capitol Hill over a series of recent stories that revealed details of terrorism threats and CIA … WaPo, 6-7-12
  • Bipartisan congressional group calls for legislative action on leaks: A bipartisan group of congressional members called for an investigation into the source of security leaks that led to stories published by the New York Times, but stopped short of claiming the leaks were made for political purposes…. – LAT, 6-7-12
  • CIA Declines Lawmakers’ Request for Information on Leaks: The CIA won’t respond to a US House Intelligence Committee request for information about leaks of classified data, said Representative Mike Rogers, the panel’s chairman. The committee had asked about last month’s … BusinessWeek, 6-7-12
  • Calls grow for outside probe of US national security leaks: * McCain accuses White House of leaking for election-year gain * Committee chiefs have called for urgent probe of leaks * Leaks have involved cyber-warfare, drone strikes…. – Reuters, 6-7-12
  • Congressional leaders to meet with intelligence chief on leaks: Congressional leaders on intelligence issues will meet Thursday with Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on apparent leaks of classified information involving a cyberwarfare program against Iran…. – CNN, 6-7-12
  • Analysis: Despite outrage, security leaks may go unplugged: Democratic and Republican intelligence experts in Congress are joining forces to condemn a series of jaw-dropping intelligence leaks which some Republicans charge are timed to boost President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign…. – Reuters, 6-6-12
  • Senate Will Investigate National Security Leaks About Terrorism ‘Kill List': Senators John McCain and Saxby Chambliss called for the appointment for a special counsel to investigate leaks in wake of recent articles in The New York Times…. – NYT, 6-5-12
  • FBI Probes Leaks on Iran Cyberattack: The FBI has opened an investigation into who disclosed information about a classified US cyberattack program aimed at Iran’s nuclear facilities, according to two people familiar with the probe…. – WSJ, 6-5-12
  • McCain Calls on White House to Plug Intelligence Leaks: Describing the string of recent intelligence leaks to news outlets as “disturbing” and “simply unacceptable,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., accused the White House of putting the president’s ambitions for another term in the Oval Office ahead of national security.
    “A really disturbing aspect of this is that one could draw the conclusion from reading these articles that it is an attempt to further the president’s political ambitions for the sake of his re-election at the expense of our national security,” McCain said on the Senate floor late Tuesday…. – ABC News Radio, 6-5-12
  • Axelrod Denies Participating in Anti-Terror Discussions: The communications director of President Obama’s reelection campaign today denied a report in the New York Times that he had sat in on weekly White House meetings on terrorism.
    On Tuesday the paper said that after the failed 2009 Christmas Day “underwear bombing,” David Axelrod started attending the discussions with Obama and top national security advisers…. – ABC News Radio, 6-4-12

Political Buzz May 31, 2012: President George W. Bush Returns to White House for Portrait Unveiling — Barack Obama Hosts his ‘Predecessor’

POLITICAL BUZZ

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 to be published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

HONORING THE BUSH PRESIDENCY:

Luke Sharrett for The New York Times
George W. Bush stood next to his official portrait during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House on Thursday.

IN FOCUS: PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH RETURNS TO WHITE HOUSE FOR PORTRAIT UNVEILING — OBAMA HOSTS HIS ‘PREDECESSOR’

A Gracious and Civil Prelude to a Hanging: President Obama put partisanship aside for a few hours to pay tribute to his predecessor at the official unveiling of George W. Bush’s official White House portrait…. – NYT, 5-31-12

Presidential historian Michael Beschloss: “It’s wonderful to see because so often in American history, you had presidents hiding the portraits of predecessors they didn’t like. In recent years, instead, this has become a rare presidential ritual of national bipartisanship.”

  • Presidential portraits: Bushes, Obamas share rare moment of warmth: Former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush returned to the White House on Thursday for a rare shared moment with President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama.
    The occasion was the unveiling of the Bushes’ official portraits, a 50-year old tradition that brings together past and current presidents in the East Room every four to eight years. For the Bushes and the Obama, it was an occasion for humor, graciousness, emotion and warmth…. – Politico, 5-31-12
  • Bush, Obama on stage together share laughs: President Barack Obama shared the stage with former President George W. Bush, the predecessor he often inveighs against, in a friendly White House welcome for the unveiling of the 43rd president’s official portrait…. – Boston.com, 5-31-12
  • George W. Bush’s White House portrait unveiled in ceremony with Obama: President George W. Bush and Laura Bush were back in Washington on Thursday for the unveiling of the portraits of the former first couple that will hang at the White House. They were joined by President Obama and the former chief….. – LAT, 5-31-12
  • Bush thanks Obama for inviting his “rowdy friends” to portrait hanging: Former President George W. Bush brought a light-hearted tone to the unveiling of his official White House portrait on Thursday, winning over an audience of friends, family and former colleagues with jokes.
    Standing beside his portrait after its unveiling in the White House East Room, Mr. Bush chided the cheering audience to quiet down and thanked President Obama “for inviting our rowdy friends to my hanging.”… – CBS News, 5-31-12
  • Obama praises predecessor as George W. Bush portrait unveiled: In a rare public tribute to his predecessor, President Obama unveiled the formal White House portrait of George W. Bush on Thursday, praising his “strength and resolve” after the9/11 terrorist attacks. LAT, 5-31-12
  • George W. Bush presidential portrait is unveiled. Who paid for it?: Though no longer the ‘haphazard affair’ it once was, the process of creating a presidential portrait like George W. Bush’s is not an easy process. But taxpayers don’t pick up the tab…. – CS Monitor, 5-31-12
  • Bush is back: Portrait event stirs up odd politics: President Barack Obama is welcoming his favorite foil, former President George W. Bush, back to the White House on Thursday for the official unveiling of Bush’s portrait…. – AP, 5-31-12
  • Barack Obama to host George W. Bush at White House: President Barack Obama has made him a foil for more than three years, the man he blames for the “mess” he inherited of an economy in free fall and wars gone astray. But it will be smiles and handshakes…. – McClatchy-Tribune News Service, 5-30-12
  • Obama to pause, salute Bush for a day: President Obama will preside over the unveiling of the official portraits of President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush in a White House celebration…. – The Seattle Times, 5-30-12
  • Odd politics, but tradition: Bush back at White House for portrait unveiling: President Barack Obama frequently bad-mouths George W. Bush’s record as a disaster. So here comes the odd part: Obama is about to proudly preside as Bush’s image and legacy are enshrined at the White House forever…. – WaPo, 5-31-12

Obama Welcomes George W. Bush Back to the White House

Source: ABC News Radio, 5-31-12

Despite frequently blaming his predecessor for the “messes” he inherited, President Obama on Thursday will welcome former President George W. Bush back to the White House to honor his legacy.

The 43rd president and his wife, former First Lady Laura Bush, will be back at their former home for the official unveiling of their portraits, an often uncomfortable presidential tradition.

The White House maintained Wednesday that Obama is looking forward to the event and that it’s “not at all” awkward.

“Look, there are differences… without question, between [President Obama’s] approach and the approach and the policies of his predecessor,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters.  “That was certainly the case when, I believe, President George W. Bush had President Clinton to the White House for his portrait unveiling.  And I think it is well-established that those two now-former presidents have a good relationship…. I think there is a community here with very few members that transcends political and policy differences.”…READ MORE

Remarks by President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Former President George W. Bush and Former First Lady Laura Bush at the Official Portrait Unveiling

East Room

1:31 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you so much.  Well, good afternoon, everybody.  Thank you, Fred, for that introduction.  To President George H. W. Bush and Barbara, to all the members of the Bush family who are here — it is a great privilege to have you here today.  And to President and Mrs. Bush, welcome back to the house that you called home for eight years.

The White House is many things at once.  It’s a working office, it’s a living museum, it’s an enduring symbol of our democracy.  But at the end of the day, when the visitors go home and the lights go down, a few of us are blessed with the tremendous honor to actually live here.

I think it’s fair to say that every President is acutely aware that we are just temporary residents — we’re renters here.  We’re charged with the upkeep until our lease runs out.  But we also leave a piece of ourselves in this place.  And today, with the unveiling of the portraits next to me, President and Mrs. Bush will take their place alongside men and women who built this country and those who worked to perfect it.

It’s been said that no one can ever truly understand what it’s like being President until they sit behind that desk and feel the weight and responsibility for the first time.  And that is true.  After three and a half years in office — and much more gray hair — (laughter) — I have a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by the Presidents who came before me, including my immediate predecessor, President Bush.

In this job, no decision that reaches your desk is easy.  No choice you make is without costs.  No matter how hard you try, you’re not going to make everybody happy.  I think that’s something President Bush and I both learned pretty quickly.  (Laughter.)

And that’s why, from time to time, those of us who have had the privilege to hold this office find ourselves turning to the only people on Earth who know the feeling.  We may have our differences politically, but the presidency transcends those differences.  We all love this country.  We all want America to succeed.  We all believe that when it comes to moving this country forward, we have an obligation to pull together.  And we all follow the humble, heroic example of our first President, George Washington, who knew that a true test of patriotism is the willingness to freely and graciously pass the reins of power on to somebody else.

That’s certainly been true of President Bush.  The months before I took the oath of office were a chaotic time.  We knew our economy was in trouble, our fellow Americans were in pain, but we wouldn’t know until later just how breathtaking the financial crisis had been.  And still, over those two and a half months — in the midst of that crisis — President Bush, his Cabinet, his staff, many of you who are here today, went out of your ways — George, you went out of your way — to make sure that the transition to a new administration was as seamless as possible.

President Bush understood that rescuing our economy was not just a Democratic or a Republican issue; it was a American priority.  I’ll always be grateful for that.

The same is true for our national security.  None of us will ever forget where we were on that terrible September day when our country was attacked.  All of us will always remember the image of President Bush standing on that pile of rubble, bullhorn in hand, conveying extraordinary strength and resolve to the American people but also representing the strength and resolve of the American people.

And last year, when we delivered justice to Osama bin Laden, I made it clear that our success was due to many people in many organizations working together over many years — across two administrations.  That’s why my first call once American forces were safely out of harm’s way was to President Bush.  Because protecting our country is neither the work of one person, nor the task of one period of time, it’s an ongoing obligation that we all share.

Finally, on a personal note, Michelle and I are grateful to the entire Bush family for their guidance and their example during our own transition.

George, I will always remember the gathering you hosted for all the living former Presidents before I took office, your kind words of encouragement.  Plus, you also left me a really good TV sports package.  (Laughter.)  I use it.  (Laughter.)

Laura, you reminded us that the most rewarding thing about living in this house isn’t the title or the power, but the chance to shine a spotlight on the issues that matter most.  And the fact that you and George raised two smart, beautiful daughters — first, as girls visiting their grandparents and then as teenagers preparing to head out into the world — that obviously gives Michelle and I tremendous hope as we try to do the right thing by our own daughters in this slightly odd atmosphere that we’ve created.

Jenna and Barbara, we will never forget the advice you gave Sasha and Malia as they began their lives in Washington.  They told them to surround themselves with loyal friends, never stop doing what they love; to slide down the banisters occasionally — (laughter) — to play Sardines on the lawn; to meet new people and try new things; and to try to absorb everything and enjoy all of it.  And I can tell you that Malia and Sasha took that advice to heart.  It really meant a lot to them.

One of the greatest strengths of our democracy is our ability to peacefully, and routinely, go through transitions of power.  It speaks to the fact that we’ve always had leaders who believe in America, and everything it stands for, above all else — leaders and their families who are willing to devote their lives to the country that they love.

This is what we’ll think about every time we pass these portraits — just as millions of other visitors will do in the decades, and perhaps even the centuries to come.  I want to thank John Howard Sanden, the artist behind these beautiful works, for his efforts.  And on behalf of the American people, I want to thank most sincerely President and Mrs. Bush for their extraordinary service to our country.

And now I’d like to invite them on stage to take part in the presentation.  (Applause.)

(Portraits are unveiled.)

PRESIDENT BUSH:  Thank you, sit down.  Sit down.  Behave yourselves.  (Laughter.)  Mr. President, thank you for your warm hospitality.  Madam First Lady, thank you so much for inviting our rowdy friends — (laughter) — to my hanging.  (Laughter.)

Laura and I are honored to be here.  Mr. Vice President, thank you for coming.  We are overwhelmed by your hospitality.  And thank you for feeding the Bush family, all 14 members of us who are here.  (Laughter.)  I want to thank our girls for coming.  I thank Mom and Dad, brother, sister, in-laws, aunts and uncles.  I appreciate you taking your time.  I know you’re as excited as Laura and me to be able to come back here, and particularly thank the people who helped make this house a home for us for eight years, the White House staff.

I want to thank Fred Ryan and the White House Historical Association and Bill Allman, the White House curator.  I am pleased that my portrait brings an interesting symmetry to the White House collection.  It now starts and ends with a George W.  (Laughter and applause.)

When the British burned the White House, as Fred mentioned, in 1814, Dolley Madison famously saved this portrait of the first George W.  (Laughter.)  Now, Michelle, if anything happens there’s your man.  (Laughter and applause.)  I am also pleased, Mr. President, that when you are wandering these halls as you wrestle with tough decisions, you will now be able to gaze at this portrait and ask, what would George do?  (Laughter.)

I am honored to be hanging near a man who gave me the greatest gift possible, unconditional love — and that would be number 41.  (Applause.)  I want to thank John Howard Sanden for agreeing to use his considerable talents to paint my likeness.  You’ve done a fine job with a challenging subject.  (Laughter.)

In the portrait, there’s a painting by W.H.D. Koerner called, “A Charge to Keep.”  It hung in the Oval Office for eight years of my presidency.  I asked John to include it, because it reminds me of the wonderful people with whom I was privileged to serve.  Whether they served in the Cabinet or on the presidential staff, these men and women — many of whom are here — worked hard and served with honor.  We had a charge to keep and we kept the charge.

It is my privilege to introduce the greatest First Lady ever — sorry, Mom.  (Laughter.)  Would you agree to a tie?  (Laughter.)  A woman who brought such grace and dignity and love in this house.  (Applause.)

MRS. BUSH:  Thank you all.  (Applause.)  Thank you, everybody.  Thank you very much.  Thank you, darling.

Thank you, President and Mrs. Obama.  Thank you for your kindness and your consideration today.  It was really gracious of you to invite us back to the White House to hang a few family pictures.  (Laughter.)  And I’m sure you know nothing makes a house a home like having portraits of its former occupants staring down at you from the walls.  (Laughter.)

This is not the first time I’ve had the opportunity to confront an artistic likeness of myself.  A few years ago, just after the 2008 election, a friend sent me something he’d found in the gift shop of the National Constitutional Center in Philadelphia.  It was a Laura Bush bobblehead doll.  (Laughter.)  He said he found it on the clearance shelf.  (Laughter.)

But I’m flattered and grateful to know that this particular work has a permanent home.  And thanks to the masterful talent of John Howard Sanden, I like it a whole lot better than I do that bobblehead doll.  (Laughter.)

Thank you very much, John Howard Sanden — you’re terrific to work with.  And thanks to Elizabeth and your family who have joined you today.  Thank you very, very much, John.  (Applause.)

And, of course, it’s meaningful to me as a private person to know that these portraits will be on view at the White House, that my portrait will hang just down the hall from my mother-in-law, and that George’s portrait will hang very close to his dad’s.  But what’s more meaningful is it’s meaningful to me as a citizen.  This was our family’s home for eight years.  It was our home, but it wasn’t our house.  This house belongs to the people whose portraits will never hang here, the ordinary and not-so-ordinary people whose lives inspired us and whose expectations guided us during the years that we lived here.

In this room are many of the people who stood by us as we faced the tragedy of September 11th, and who worked with us in the years after.  Thanks to each and every one of you for your service to our country.  (Applause.)

I hope others will see in this portrait what I see:  a woman who was honored and humbled to live in the White House during a period of great challenge, and who will never forget the countless American faces who make up the true portrait of that time.

Thank you all very much.  Thanks so much.  And thank you, Michelle, if you want to come up.  (Applause.)

MRS. OBAMA:  Well, I don’t think we have enough tissue to go around.  (Laughter.)  Jenna and Barbara, they’re just a mess.  (Laughter.)  But I want to thank President and Mrs. Bush for joining us today.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Laura for providing such a wonderful model of strength and grace for me to follow as First Lady.  It is an interesting job, and it’s just been amazing to learn from your example not just as a First Lady, but as a mother of two wonderful daughters.  You’re on the other side of where we hope to be — (laughter) — in a couple of years — two daughters that sit up straight and cry when they’re — (laughter) — and think lovingly about their mom and their dad.  (Laughter.)  We’re working towards that goal, but you’ve done a terrific job.

And I also want to echo Barack.  We couldn’t be more thankful for the warmth and graciousness that both of you showed — all of you showed — our family when we moved in three years ago.  It is truly, truly a privilege for us to occupy this house.  And hopefully, we are setting the same example of warmth and love and hope that you all have provided as well.

The warmth is truly reflected in these portraits, and I promise you — (laughter) — I promise, I’m going straight for — (laughter) — and I’m sure it will be closer right down the stairs, and I’ll get right to it.

So I am thrilled for all of the White House visitors who will soon have the chance to enjoy them as well.  And I’m thrilled for both of you as you join these incredible Americans whose portraits are already displayed here at the White House.

So congratulations again.  Congratulations on the work that you have done, the example that you have provided to this country, and what it means to be an American family.  We are so happy and proud and honored to be a part.

And with that, it is my pleasure to invite you all to join us for a reception right outside in the State Room.  Now it’s time to eat.  (Laughter.)  Thank you all so much.  (Applause.)

END
1:50 P.M. EDT

May 31, 2012

Background Information on the Presentation of Portraits of President George W. Bush and Mrs. Laura Welch Bush

President George Walker Bush
President George W. Bush is portrayed standing in the center of the Oval Office in the West Wing. His right hand rests on an armchair made for the White House in 1818 by District of Columbia cabinetmaker William King, Jr. A corner of the “Resolute desk,” presented to the White House by Queen Victoria in 1880, can be seen behind the chair. Over his right shoulder hangs a 1929 western painting, A Charge to Keep, by William H. D. Koerner. The President, who had used the same title for his 1999 memoir, often called attention to that painting and its significance.

Mrs. Laura Welch Bush
For the setting of her portrait, First Lady Laura Bush selected the Green Room, as refurbished with her active participation in 2007. Wearing a midnight blue gown, she rests her left hand on a lyreback armchair attributed to the famous New York cabinetmaker, Duncan Phyfe, c.1810. Federal easy chairs, among antique American furniture added to the room in 1971-72, were reupholstered in a rich salmon-colored silk. The 1767 David Martin portrait of Benjamin  Franklin hangs over the neoclassical mantel, acquired for the White House in 1818.

About the Artist
John Howard Sanden, born in 1935 in Austin Texas, now lives in Connecticut and maintains a studio in Carnegie Hall in New York City. Well known for his portraits of leaders of industry and education, he received the first John Singer Sargent Medal for Lifetime Achievement from the American Society of Portrait Artists in 1994.

Commissioning
As usual, the White House Historical Association contracted with the artist selected by the subjects and will donate the finished paintings to the White House as a gift of the George B. Hartzog, Jr. White House Acquisition Trust. In 2010, President Bush selected John Howard Sanden to execute his White House portrait.  The success of the sittings and the portrait itself, completed in 2011, led Mrs. Bush to select Sanden for her portrait as well, finished in early 2012.

Political Buzz May 25, 2012: President Barack Obama Marks Memorial Day and Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War — Meets with Rolling Thunder

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY
& THE 112TH CONGRESS:

Obama meets with Rolling Thunder

Source: Politico, 5-25-12


(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

There were no events listed on his public schedule Friday, but President Obama apparently took time out to greet members of Rolling Thunder, a nonprofit dedicated to bringing attention to POWs and troops missing in action.

The White House put out a photo of the meeting, showing Obama meeting the group in the Diplomatic Reception Room.

The organization, which is known for motorcycle rallies on Memorial Day weekend, says on its web site that its members “are united in the cause to bring full accountability for Prisoners Of War (POW) and Missing In Action (MIA) of all wars, reminding the government, the media and the public by our watchwords: ‘We Will Not Forget.'”

FACT SHEET: Memorial Day and Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War

This Memorial Day, we honor the men and women who have defended our nation, and mark the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. On Memorial Day, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will participate in an event at Arlington National Cemetery. The President, Vice President, First Lady and Dr. Biden will also attend an event at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. Prior to these events, the President and First Lady Michelle Obama will meet with Gold Star Families.  On Friday, the Vice President and Dr. Biden attended an event to honor the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp.

Marking the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War
“This month, we’ll begin to mark the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, a time when, to our shame, our veterans did not always receive the respect and the thanks they deserved — a mistake that must never be repeated.” — President Obama, May 16, 2012

The Memorial Day gathering at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall marks the beginning of the national commemoration of the Vietnam War’s 50th anniversary program and is a joint effort between the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, the National Park Service and the Department of Defense.

The Federal Government will partner with State and local governments, private organizations, and communities across America to launch the Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War—a 13-year program to honor and give thanks to a generation of proud Americans who saw our country through one of the most challenging missions we have ever faced and pay tribute to the more than 3 million men and women who answered the call of duty with courage and valor.  The events and activities that are a part of this commemoration will:

• Thank and honor veterans of the Vietnam War, including personnel who were held as prisoners of war or listed as missing in action, for their service and sacrifice on behalf of the United States and to thank and honor the families of these veterans.

• Highlight the service of the armed forces during the Vietnam War and the contributions of federal agencies and governmental and non-governmental organizations that served with, or in support of, the armed forces.

• Pay tribute to the contributions made on the home front by the people of the United States during the Vietnam War.

• Highlight the advances in technology, science, and medicine related to the military research conducted during the Vietnam War.

• Recognize the contributions and sacrifices made by the allies of the United States during the Vietnam War.

Obama marks 50th anniversary of Vietnam War

Source: WH, 5-25-12

The president signed a proclamation on Friday marking the official commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War:

“In recognition of a chapter in our Nation’s history that must never be forgotten, let us renew our sacred commitment to those who answered our country’s call in Vietnam and those who awaited their safe return. Beginning on Memorial Day 2012, the Federal Government will partner with local governments, private organizations, and communities across America to participate in the Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War — a 13-year program to honor and give thanks to a generation of proud Americans who saw our country through one of the most challenging missions we have ever faced. While no words will ever be fully worthy of their service, nor any honor truly befitting their sacrifice, let us remember that it is never too late to pay tribute to the men and women who answered the call of duty with courage and valor.”

Full proclamation after the jump:

“BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

As we observe the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, we reflect with solemn reverence upon the valor of a generation that served with honor. We pay tribute to the more than 3 million servicemen and women who left their families to serve bravely, a world away from everything they knew and everyone they loved. From Ia Drang to Khe Sanh, from Hue to Saigon and countless villages in between, they pushed through jungles and rice paddies, heat and monsoon, fighting heroically to protect the ideals we hold dear as Americans. Through more than a decade of combat, over air, land, and sea, these proud Americans upheld the highest traditions of our Armed Forces.

As a grateful Nation, we honor more than 58,000 patriots –their names etched in black granite — who sacrificed all they had and all they would ever know. We draw inspiration from the heroes who suffered unspeakably as prisoners of war, yet who returned home with their heads held high. We pledge to keep faith with those who were wounded and still carry the scars of war, seen and unseen. With more than 1,600 of our service members still among the missing, we pledge as a Nation to do everything in our power to bring these patriots home. In the reflection of The Wall, we see the military family members and veterans who carry a pain that may never fade. May they find peace in knowing their loved ones endure, not only in medals and memories, but in the hearts of all Americans, who are forever grateful for their service, valor, and sacrifice.

In recognition of a chapter in our Nation’s history that must never be forgotten, let us renew our sacred commitment to those who answered our country’s call in Vietnam and those who awaited their safe return. Beginning on Memorial Day 2012, the Federal Government will partner with local governments, private organizations, and communities across America to participate in the Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War — a 13-year program to honor and give thanks to a generation of proud Americans who saw our country through one of the most challenging missions we have ever faced. While no words will ever be fully worthy of their service, nor any honor truly befitting their sacrifice, let us remember that it is never too late to pay tribute to the men and women who answered the call of duty with courage and valor. Let us renew our commitment to the fullest possible accounting for those who have not returned.

Throughout this Commemoration, let us strive to live up to their example by showing our Vietnam veterans, their families, and all who have served the fullest respect and support of a grateful Nation.

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 May 28, 2012, through November 11, 2025, as the Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War. I call upon Federal, State, and local officials to honor our Vietnam veterans, our fallen, our wounded, those unaccounted for, our former prisoners of war, their families, and all who served with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fifth day of May, 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.

— BARACK OBAMA”

Political Buzz May 19, 2012: The G8 Summit at Camp David Roundup — President Barack Obama & G8 Leaders Promise to Tame the Eurozone Economic Crisis Through Growth & Fiscal Responsibility

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

World Leaders Urge Growth, Not Austerity

Source: NYT, 5-19-12

Meeting at Camp David, leaders of the world’s richest countries banded together to press Germany to back more pro-growth policies to halt the deepening debt crisis in Europe.

G8 leaders tout economic growth, fiscal responsibility

Source: CNN, 5-19-12

The 10 members of the G8 Summit pose for a group portait at Camp David, Maryland. Left to right: European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Japanese PM Yoshihiko Noda, Canadian PM Stephen Harper, French President Francois Hollande, U.S. President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British PM David Cameron, Italian PM Mario Monti and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy.

The 10 members of the G8 Summit pose for a group portait at Camp David, Maryland. Left to right: European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Japanese PM Yoshihiko Noda, Canadian PM Stephen Harper, French President Francois Hollande, U.S. President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British PM David Cameron, Italian PM Mario Monti and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy.

President Barack Obama and fellow leaders at the Group of Eight meeting he hosted Saturday put job creation and economic growth at the top of their to-do list.

“(They) must be our top priority. A stable growing European economy is in everybody’s best interest, including the United States’,” Obama told reporters after the two-day Camp David retreat in Maryland concluded.

At the same time, leaders stated “that the right measures are not the same for each of us.”

The G8 meeting was one of two high-stakes, back-to-back weekend summits scheduled over the weekend. On Sunday, NATO kicks off its two-day summit in Chicago, with a focus on the Afghanistan war….READ MORE

Obama sees ’emerging consensus’ on economic fix

Source: AP, 5-19-12

Confronting an economic crisis that threatens them all, President Barack Obama and leaders of other world powers on Saturday declared that their governments must both spark growth and cut the debt that has crippled the European continent and put investors worldwide on edge.

“There’s now an emerging consensus that more must be done to promote growth and job creation right now,” Obama proclaimed after hosting unprecedented economic talks at Camp David, his secluded and highly secure mountaintop retreat. Seeking a second term amid hard economic times, Obama hailed a debate heading in the direction he likes, with nations now talking of ways to spark their economies instead of just slashing spending….READ MORE

Wrapping Up the G8 Summit at Camp David

Source: WH, 5-19-12
G8 Summit in Camp David, 2012 Logo

This weekend, the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Russia joined President Obama at Camp David for the annual G8 Summit. The leaders met to address major global economic, political, and security challenges, including energy and climate change, food security and nutrition, Afghanistan’s economic transition and transitions taking place across the Middle East and North Africa.

Energy and Climate Change:

At the Camp David Summit, G-8 Leaders recognized that the development of and universal access to environmentally safe, sustainable, secure, and affordable sources of energy is essential to global economic growth and to their overall efforts to address climate change.

Food Security:

President Obama and G8 leaders announced a new alliance on food security with African leaders and the private sector as part of an effort to lift 50 million people out of poverty over the next decade.

Transitions in the Middle East and North Africa:

A year after the historic events across the Middle East and North Africa began to unfold, the aspirations of people of the region for freedom, human rights, democracy, job opportunities, empowerment and dignity are undiminished. At the Camp David Summit, G-8 Leaders recognized the important progress that has been achieved in a number of countries undergoing transition and committed to maintaining their support for these transitions in four key priority areas: stabilization, job creation, participation/governance, and integration.

More from the G8:

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney; Mike Froman, Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics; and Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes

Political Buzz May 9, 2012: President Barack Obama Affirms Support & Says Same-Sex Marriage Should Be Legal in ABC News Interview — Transcript Excerpts

POLITICAL BUZZ

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. 2011.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama spoke with Robin Roberts of ABC’s “Good Morning America” in the Cabinet Room of the White House during an interview on Wednesday.

Pete Souza/White House, via Reuters

President Obama spoke with Robin Roberts of ABC’s “Good Morning America” in the Cabinet Room of the White House during an interview on Wednesday.

President Obama Supports Same Sex Marriage

Source: WH, 5-9-12
Today, in an interview with ABC News, President Obama said, “I think same sex couples should be able to get married.”

With that one statement, he made it clear that he believes that it’s wrong to prevent couples who are in loving, committed relationships from getting married.

Obviously, the President has spent time giving this issue serious consideration, and his view has been shaped by conversations with his family, his friends, neighbors, and the people who work with him at the White House.

In the interview, he said that he had discussed the issue around the dinner table with his wife and daughters. He said he’d heard from service members who, even after the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, felt constrained because they aren’t allowed to get married.

And in the end, the President said, he believes it’s important to “treat others the way you would want to be treated.”

Later tonight, ABC will air excerpts of the interview on “World News With Diane Sawyer” and “Nightline.”

Tomorrow, the entire interview will run on Good Morning America.

President Obama Affirms His Support for Same Sex Marriage

Source: ABC News Blogs, 5-9-12

Video: Watch Obama Interview (ABC News)

“I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors, when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together; when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married,” Obama told Roberts in an interview to appear on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday.

Excerpts of the interview will air tonight on ABC’s “World News With Diane Sawyer” and “Nightline.”

Watch Obama Explains Support for Same Sex Marriage

It’s interesting, some of this is also generational,” the president continued. “You know when I go to college campuses, sometimes I talk to college Republicans who think that I have terrible policies on the economy, on foreign policy, but are very clear that when it comes to same-sex equality or, you know, sexual orientation, that they believe in equality. They are much more comfortable with it. You know, Malia and Sasha, they have friends whose parents are same-sex couples. There have been times where Michelle and I have been sitting around the dinner table and we’re talking about their friends and their parents and Malia and Sasha, it wouldn’t dawn on them that somehow their friends’ parents would be treated differently. It doesn’t make sense to them and, frankly, that’s the kind of thing that prompts a change in perspective.”

Watch Michelle Obama’s View on Same-Sex Marriage

“This is something that, you know, we’ve talked about over the years and she, you know, she feels the same way, she feels the same way that I do. And that is that, in the end the values that I care most deeply about and she cares most deeply about is how we treat other people and, you know, I, you know, we are both practicing Christians and obviously this position may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others but, you know, when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated. And I think that’s what we try to impart to our kids and that’s what motivates me as president and I figure the most consistent I can be in being true to those precepts, the better I’ll be as a as a dad and a husband and, hopefully, the better I’ll be as president.”

Watch Obama Says Kids Helped Him Evolve

The president’s position became a flashpoint this week, when Vice President Joe Biden pronounced himself “absolutely comfortable” with allowing same-sex couples to wed.

President Obama’s Evolution on Same-Sex Marriage

Mitt Romney said on the campaign trail Monday that he continues to oppose gay marriage. “My view is that marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman. That’s the position I’ve had for some time, and I don’t intend to make any adjustments at this point. … Or ever, by the way.”

IN FOCUS: PRESIDENT OBAMA ANNOUNCES THAT HE BELIEVES SAME-SEX MARRIAGE SHOULD BE LEGAL IN ABC NEWS INTERIEW — FIRST PRESIDENT IN HISTORY

Obama Tells ABC News Same-Sex Marriage Should Be Legal: President Obama declared for the first time on Wednesday that he supports same-sex marriage, putting the moral power of his presidency behind a social issue that continues to divide the country.
“At a certain point,” Mr. Obama said in an interview in the Cabinet Room at the White House with ABC’s Robin Roberts, “I’ve just concluded that for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.”
The comments end years of public equivocating over the divisive social issue for the president, who has previously said he opposed gay marriage but repeatedly said he was “evolving” on the issue because of contact with friends and others who are gay…. – NYT, 5-9-12

Romney Reaffirms Opposition to Marriage, or Similar, for Gay Couples: The question of precisely what legal status and protections should be granted to gay couples is emerging as an issue of the sharpest possible contrast between the two presidential candidates…. – NYT, 5-9-12

In shift of position, Obama says he supports same-sex marriage: In an interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts, President Obama clarified his views on same-sex marriage, saying he believes gay couples should be allowed to marry. The president has been under intense pressure for his self-described “evolving” position on the issue since Sunday, when Vice President Biden said he was “absolutely comfortable” with gay marriage…. – WaPo, 5-9-12

Obama Says Same-Sex Marriage Should Be Legal: By publicly endorsing same-sex marriage in a television interview, the president took a definitive stand on one of the most contentious and politically charged social issues of the day…. – NYT, 5-9-12

  • Obama says same-sex couples should be able to marry: After years of “evolving” on the issue, President Barack Obama said on Wednesday he believes same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, a stance that is likely to please his political base and complicate efforts…. – Reuters, 5-9-12
  • President Obama says Sasha and Malia influenced his stance on gay marriage: President Obama endorsed same-sex marriage Wednesday, just hours after North Carolina adopted a constitutional amendment to ban it — one of 41 states where same-sex marriage is illegal. President Obama’s declaration does not change any law, … CBS News, 5-9-12
  • Obama announces he supports same-sex marriage: President Barack Obama said Wednesday he supports same-sex marriage, raising the political stakes on an issue over which Americans are evenly split. The announcement was the first by a sitting president and put Obama squarely…. – CNN, 5-9-12
  • Year shapes up to be big one for both sides of gay marriage battle: Almost overnight, gay marriage again has emerged as a prominent national issue, and a series of coming ballot initiatives will test supporters’ and opponents’ sway over voters, lawmakers, … Boston Herald, 5-9-12
  • Analysis: Obama gambles with gay marriage move: Public opinion about gay marriage has changed so rapidly that President Barack Obama’s historic embrace of it may pose as many political risks to Republicans as to the president and his fellow Democrats.
    The president’s dramatic shift on the issue — a watershed moment in U.S. politics, even if many people felt it was inevitable — is the latest sign that Democratic hopes increasingly rest on younger, college-educated and largely urban voters, whose lifestyles are shaped by social mobility more than religious and community traditions…. – AP, 5-9-12

Political Buzz April 27, 2012: House Passes Bill Keeping Student Loan Rates from Doubling 215-195 — Paid with Healthcare Funds — President Barack Obama Promises Veto

POLITICAL BUZZ

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 by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

IN FOCUS: HOUSE PASSES BILL KEEPING STUDENT LOAN RATES FROM DOUBLING 215-195 — PAID WITH HEALTHCARE FUNDS

House Rejects Increase in Student Loan Rates: Moments after an unusual fiery appeal from Speaker John A. Boehner, the House voted 215 to 195 on Friday to prevent a doubling of student loan rates and challenge President Obama over a veto threat. The bill, which would strip $5.9 billion…. – NYT 4-27-12

  • GOP ignores White House veto threat, passes bill to keep student loan rates: Republicans ignored a veto threat and overcame a rebellion by party conservatives to push a bill through the House Friday keeping interest rates on millions of federal student loans from doubling this summer. Lawmakers voted 215-195 to…. – WaPo, 4-27-12
  • House approves student loan bill, paid for with healthcare funds: Setting the stage for another showdown with the Obama administration, Republicans in the House on Friday narrowly passed legislation to prevent a rate hike on student loans — to be paid for with funds from the nation’s new…. – LAT, 4-27-12
  • House votes to extend low rates on federal student loans: The US House approved, on a mostly party-line (215-195) vote, a $5.9 billion bill to maintain low interest rates for Stafford student loans, paying for it by slashing funds for a provision of President Obama’s…. – USA Today, 4-27-12
  • GOP, Democrats make student loans an election-year issue: Both parties are advancing plans to address mounting student loan debt while disparaging the approach of their opponents…. – CS Monitor, 4-26-12

No Time For Old Political Battles

Source: WH, 4-27-12

On July 1, unless Congress acts, interest rates will double for more than 7.4 million students with federal loans. Fortunately, even though they voted just weeks ago in lockstep to allow this increase, Republicans in Congress have come around on the issue since President Obama took it to the American people – claiming they’re ready to step up and stop the rate hike. Unfortunately,  rather than work together to ensure interest rates on student loans don’t double, they have decided to re-fight old political battles, proposing to eliminate the health care law’s Prevention and Public Health Fund to pay for this important reform. This proposal would put women’s health at risk. And fighting old political battles won’t protect students and young people from major rate hikes.

Eliminating the Prevention and Public Health Fund would have a devastating effect on women’s health and our work to prevent disease and illness. Eliminating the Prevention and Public Health Fund would mean:

  • Hundreds of thousands of women could lose access to vital cancer screenings.   Prevention Fund resources are expected to help more than 300,000 women be screened for breast cancer in 2013 and more than 280,000 be screened for cervical cancer.
  • Programs that help to prevent congenital heart defects, prevent fetal alcohol syndrome, and promote early identification and intervention efforts for children with developmental delays and disabilities could be eliminated.
  • Tens of thousands children could lose access to immunizations.

These are just a few of the important ways the Prevention and Public Health Fund will help keep millions of Americans healthy. Keeping college affordable for America’s students should not come at the expense of putting women’s health at risk.

The Senate will soon vote on a more viable solution to keep interest rates low and provide students a fair shot at an affordable education, by closing a loophole that allows people making more than $250,000 a year to avoid paying payroll taxes. Congress should find a bipartisan solution to keep rates low without hurting Americans’ health or increasing the deficit. There’s no good reason for interest rates to double for over 7 million students. But Republicans in Congress must prove that they’re serious about setting aside the political fights of the past and actually getting this done.

Political Buzz March 24, 2012: Former Vice President Dick Cheney Recovering After Heart Transplant Surgery

POLITICAL BUZZ

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.

POLITICAL HEADLINE NEWS:

Alex Brandon/Associated Press

Former Vice President Dick Cheney in February 2011.

IN FOCUS: FORMER VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY RECOVERING AFTER HEART TRANSPLANT SURGERY

Aide: Former Vice President Dick Cheney recovering from heart transplant: Former Vice President Dick Cheney is recovering at a Virginia hospital after a heart transplant, AP reports.
Cheney was on the transplant waiting list for more than 20 months. He suffered his fifth heart attack in 2010…. – WaPo, 3-24-12

  • Cheney recovering after heart transplant: Former vice president Dick Cheney, a 71-year-old with a long history of cardiovascular problems, had a heart transplant Saturday and is recovering at a Virginia hospital. Not even Cheney knows the donor’s identity.
    An aide to Cheney disclosed the surgery after it was complete. She said the ex-vice president, who has suffered five heart attacks over the years, had been waiting for a transplant for more than 20 months.
    “Although the former vice president and his family do not know the identity of the donor, they will be forever grateful for this lifesaving gift,” aide Kara Ahern said in a written statement.
    Former president George W. Bush was in touch with the Cheney family Saturday, spokesman Freddy Ford said. “He and Mrs. Bush are thrilled that the surgery went well, and they are keeping VP Cheney in their prayers for a full and speedy recovery,” Ford said…. – USA Today, 3-24-12
  • Aide says Cheney had heart transplant: Former Vice President Dick Cheney had a heart transplant Saturday, after five heart attacks over the past 25 years and countless medical procedures to keep him going. Cheney, 71, waited nearly two years for his new heart, the gift of an unknown donor.
    An aide to Cheney disclosed the surgery after it was over, and said the ex-vice president was recovering at a Virginia hospital.
    “Although the former vice president and his family do not know the identity of the donor, they will be forever grateful for this lifesaving gift,” aide Kara Ahern said in a written statement that was authenticated by several of the Republican politician’s close associates.
    Cheney was recovering Saturday night at the intensive care unit of Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va., after surgery earlier in the day…. – AP, 3-24-12
  • Cheney Recovering After Getting a New Heart: Former Vice President Dick Cheney had a heart transplant on Saturday after 20 months on a waiting list, and was recovering in a Virginia hospital, a statement from his office said.
    Mr. Cheney, 71, who has suffered five heart attacks and was in end-stage heart failure, was recovering in the intensive care unit of Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va.
    “Although the former vice president and his family do not know the identity of the donor, they will be forever grateful for this lifesaving gift,” said the statement from an aide, Kara Ahern. Mr. Cheney and his family thanked doctors and staff at that hospital and at George Washington University Hospital in Washington for “their continued outstanding care,” the statement said…. – NYT, 3-25-12
  • Dick Cheney receives heart transplant: Former Vice President Dick Cheney received a heart transplant on Saturday, his office announced. A statement from the former vice president’s office said Cheney is now recovering in the Intensive Care Unit of Inova Fairfax … – CBS News, 3-24-12
  • Cheney recovering from heart transplant surgery: Former GOP Vice President Dick Cheney is recovering from heart transplant surgery at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Northern Virginia, a spokeswoman said Saturday evening. In 2010, Cheney had a left ventricular assist device implanted for treatment of … – Fox News, 3-24-12
  • Dick Cheney undergoes heart transplant surgery: Former Vice President Dick Cheney was recovering Saturday evening after undergoing heart transplant surgery, his office said. Cheney, 71, was recovering at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Virginia…. – CNN, 3-24-12
  • Former Vice President Dick Cheney has heart transplant: The 71-year-old has a long history of heart ailments and had been on a waiting list for more than 20 months. Former Vice President Dick Cheney has received a heart transplant in Virginia after more than 20 months on a waiting list…. – LAT, 3-24-12
  • Cheney gets heart transplant, in intensive care: Former Vice President Dick Cheney was recovering on Saturday after undergoing heart transplant surgery, a once risky procedure whose survival rates have improved over the years. The 71-year-old Republican…. – Reuters, 3-24-12

Obama Presidency March 17, 2012: President Barack Obama Celebrates St. Patrick’s Day at the Dubliner

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama at the Dubliner on St. Patrick’s Day

Source: WH, 3-17-12
President Obama left the White House this afternoon to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by grabbing a pint of Guinness at the Dubliner, an Irish pub near the Capitol. Check out some photos from his visit to the bar below.

President Obama Visits the Dubliner with his Irish Cousin
President Barack Obama visits the Dubliner, an Irish pub in Washington, D.C., with his Irish cousin, Henry Healy, center, and Ollie Hayes, a pub owner in Moneygall, Ireland, on St. Patrick’s Day, Saturday, March 17, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama Reflected in a Mirror at the Dubliner

President Barack Obama is reflected in a mirror at the Dubliner, an Irish pub in Washington, D.C., with his Irish cousin, Henry Healy, and Ollie Hayes, a pub owner in Moneygall, Ireland, on St. Patrick’s Day, Saturday, March 17, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama Greets the Crowd at the Dubliner

President Barack Obama greets the crowd at the Dubliner, an Irish pub in Washington, D.C., on St. Patrick’s Day, Saturday, March 17, 2012.(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama Leaves the Dubliner

President Barack Obama bids farewell to Daniel Coleman, the owner of the Dubliner, an Irish pub in Washington, D.C., on St. Patrick’s Day, Saturday, March 17, 2012.(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Political Buzz March 15, 2012: President Barack Obama Hosts British Prime Minister David Cameron at Press Conference, NCAA Basketball Game in Ohio & UK State Dinner

POLITICAL BUZZ

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.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama, the First Lady, Prime Minister Cameron, and Samantha Cameron pose for an official State Dinner photo (March 14, 2012)

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama pose with Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom and Mrs. Samantha Cameron for an official State Dinner photo in the Grand Foyer of the White House, March 14, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

IN FOCUS: PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA HOSTS BRITISH PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON AT PRESS CONFERENCE, NCCAA BASKETBALL GAME IN OHIO & UK STATE DINNER

When Barack Met David: A Trans-Atlantic Love Story: This is intended as a quick catch-up for American readers who may have inexplicably missed the top news story of the week: you just had a visit from the British prime minister. And, by the way, his name is David Cameron.
Foreign leaders turn up in Washington with the same regularity that pro-consuls and minor princelings once took the road to ancient Rome. So, if you missed it, you’re forgiven. In the British media, however, this particular three-day meet-and-greet was followed as if it were the second coming.
British officials were spinning like nuclear centrifuges to stress the importance of this latest manifestation of the “special relationship” and of the depth and warmth of the personal ties between “Barack” and “David.”… – IHT, NYT, 3-16-12

  • Cameron visits 9/11 memorial in NYC: British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife, Samantha, visited the memorial at the World Trade Center on Thursday after touring businesses in Newark, N.J…. – AP, 3-15-12
  • British state dinner and red carpet arrivals: President Obama and first lady welcome British prime minister David Cameron and wife for a state dinner at the White House. President Barack Obama proposes a toast as he and first lady Michelle Obama host a state dinner for British Prime Minister David Cameron… – WaPo, 3-14-12
  • Obamas host British Prime Minister David Cameron at state dinner: President Obama and his wife, Michelle, hosted the sixth state dinner of their tenure Wednesday evening, honoring British Prime Minister David Cameron in a celebration of spring in a tent on the White House’s South … – LAT, 3-14-12
  • White House state dinner for British PM mixes election-year celebrity power: Wednesday’s giant state dinner for British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife — the biggest ever thrown by Barack and Michelle Obama — dished up a potent mix of celebrity glam, corporate heft and political money under an enormous … – WaPo, 3-16-12
  • Obama hails ‘indispensable’ US alliance with Britain: A “chuffed to bits” President Barack Obama gushed over British Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday, but deepening world crises conspired to darken a warm welcome for a special ally.
    Obama went out of his way to hail America’s “indispensable” relationship with Britain, even offering to learn the rules of cricket, gifting his guest a top of the range American grill, and laying on a sumptuous state dinner…. – AFP, 3-14-12
  • President Obama, David Cameron stress trust, admiration: President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron spent Wednesday evening pouring praise on each other in front of a state dinner crowd of celebrities, politicians, business leaders, journalists and major campaign donors of the president.
    “In good times and in bad, he’s just the kind of partner that you want at your side. I trust him. He says what he does and he does what he says,” Obama said at the White House event.
    The president spoke of his admiration of Cameron’s “character,” especially in light of the death of his young son Ivan in 2009. “All of us have seen how you as a parent, along with Samantha, have shown a measure of strength that few of us will ever know,” he said.
    Obama showed a note of familiarity with the prime minister, calling Cameron by his first name throughout his warm words. Cameron reciprocated.
    “There are three things about Barack that really stand out for me: Strength, moral authority and wisdom,” Cameron said, citing the killing of Osama bin Laden and the international action in Libya, among other efforts…. – Politico, 3-14-12
  • The White House state dinner: Sweet nothings across the pond: The British arrived. Brilliant! For the British, we roll out our most glorious specimen. For the British, we bring out The Clooney. The purpose of a state dinner is always to cement relationships, celebrate ties, create photo-ops…. – WaPo, 3-14-12
  • Michelle Obama wears Marchesa gown to state dinner _ and designer is on the guest list: Michelle Obama chose an off-the-shoulder Marchesa gown for her duties Wednesday night as hostess at a White House state dinner honoring the British prime minister and his wife, David and Samantha Cameron. It was a deep shade of teal in a … – WaPo, 3-14-12
  • Michelle Obama Wears Marchesa to the White House State Dinner: It was a win for Marchesa last night when Michelle Obama chose to wear the label’s draped teal column dress to the White House state dinner. The first lady accessorized with a “Pearls in Peril” necklace by Tom Binns…. – WSJ, 3-15-12
  • Obama, Cameron warn Iran: They warn that new military action might be near…. – Politico, 3-14-12
President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom hold a press conference (March 14, 2012)

President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom hold a press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House, March 14, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

  • Cameron and Obama Show Unity on Afghanistan: Seeking to project a united front on Afghanistan after a spate of bloody setbacks on the battlefield, President Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain pledged on Wednesday that their countries would stick to the timetable for … – NYT, 3-14-12
  • Obama, Cameron outline shift to support role in Afghanistan next year: Determined to show momentum in a war marred by setbacks, President Barack Obama and British Prime Minster David Cameron said for the first time Wednesday that NATO forces would hand over the lead combat role to Afghanistan forces next year … – WaPo, 3-14-12
  • Obama, Cameron affirm commitment to Afghan mission: Seeking strength and persuasion in numbers, President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron together laid out a case for continuing their policy in Afghanistan, an increasingly unstable war-front with fading support in both countries.
    Appearing together Wednesday in the Rose Garden for Cameron’s first official visit to the United States, the leaders sought to project a unified front against calls to speed up the pace of withdrawal of forces in the face growing violence and a weary electorate.
    Cameron declared firmly that “we will not give up on this mission,” while Obama emphasized his commitment to a “steady, responsible transition process.”
    “I don’t anticipate at this stage that we’re going to be making any sudden additional changes to the plan that we currently have,” Obama said…. – LAT, 3-14-12
  • First lady brings Olympics to pupils: Michelle Obama and Samantha Cameron lead a group of fifth-graders through a mini-Olympics…. – Politico, 3-14-12
  • President Obama takes British leader to NCAA basketball game in Ohio: The casual start to Prime Minister David Cameron’s state visit showcases the nations’ close relationship at a crucial time for the president.
    British Prime Minister David Cameron and President Obama headed to Ohio to take in one of the “First Four” games of the NCAA basketball tournament Tuesday, a lighthearted start to a visit that will turn to more difficult subjects Wednesday.
    The leaders left their wives in Washington for the man date in the swing state, an outing billed by the White House as important cross-cultural bonding time…. – LAT, 3-13-12
  • Obama, Cameron take in ‘Heartland': The president said Cameron would get to see both basketball and “the great state of Ohio.”…. – Politico, 3-13-12
  • British prime minister gets a taste of American life: Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife come to the United States for a two-day visit that includes, among other activities, attending the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. US President Barack Obama talks to British Prime Minister David Cameron … – WaPo, 3-13-12

President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron watch basketball
President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron watch Mississippi Valley State play Western Kentucky in a first-round NCAA tournament game in Dayton, Ohio. (Carolyn Kaster, Associated Press / March 13, 2012)

Political Buzz February 22, 2012: President Barack Obama Signs the Payroll Tax Cut Extension Bill “The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012″ into Law

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Signs the Payroll Tax Cut

Source: WH, 2-22-12
Just now, President Obama signed the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 — extending the payroll tax cut and emergency jobless benefits through the end of the year.

Last week, the President called on Americans from across the country to add their voices to the debate and let us know what they would do without an extra $40 in their paychecks. Thousands of individuals did exactly that, and it made all the difference.

At the time, President Obama said, “Until you see me sign this thing, you’ve got to keep on speaking up…If it’s not on the White House website, it hasn’t happened.”

It happened. Here’s that picture the President promised:
President Obama signs the payroll tax cut (February 22, 2012)

President Barack Obama signs H.R. 3630 – Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 in the Oval Office, Feb. 22, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

David Plouffe sent an email to the people who shared their stories with the White House, and they were the first folks to get the news. Here’s what he said:

Good evening —

When President Obama asked you to speak out on the payroll tax cut, you jumped into action. Thousands of individuals from across the country wrote in to say what $40 with each paycheck means to their families.

And it worked.

President Obama just signed the legislation extending the tax cut and emergency jobless benefits through the end of the year.

When the President spoke with a group of individuals who came to the White House after sharing their stories, he said, “Until you see me sign this thing, you’ve got to keep on speaking up…If it’s not on the White House website, it hasn’t happened.”

We just posted a picture of the President signing the bill on WhiteHouse.gov. Go check it out.

Extending the payroll tax cut was a critical step for middle class families, but we still have a lot more work to do. So get ready.

Thanks,
David

David Plouffe
Senior Adviser

Campaign Buzz January 10, 2012: Mitt Romney Wins Republican New Hampshire Primary By Large Margin — Ron Paul Places Second

CAMPAIGN 2012

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 to be published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Jim Wilson/The New York Times

Mitt Romney spoke during his primary night rally with members of his family at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, N.H. More Photos »

IN FOCUS: MITT ROMNEY WINS NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARY BY WIDE MARGIN — RON PAUL PLACES SECOND

N.H. Primary Results »
10:20 AM ET 2:00
County Leaders
Size of Lead
Candidate Votes Percent
Mitt-romney_38
Mitt Romney 96,170 39.3%
Ron-paul_38
Ron Paul 55,903 22.9
Jon-huntsman_38
Jon Huntsman 41,194 16.8
Newt-gingrich_38
Newt Gingrich 23,070 9.4
Rick-santorum_38
Rick Santorum 22,914 9.4
Others_38
Others 5,276 2.2
Full Results » 97% reporting

Mitt Romney projected to win N.H. primary: Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney will win the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary, according to network projections.

Ron Paul projected to finish second in New Hampshire, AP says: Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) will finish second in New Hampshire’s Republican presidential primary, the Associated Press projects, with former Utah governor Jon Huntsman coming in third. Mitt Romney earlier was projected as winning the contest.

Romney Wins New Hampshire G.O.P. Primary, Projections Show: Mitt Romney has won the New Hampshire Republican primary, projections show, achieving a sweep of the first two critical contests in the 2012 presidential race and boosting his chances at becoming his party’s nominee this fall.
The New York Times and other news organizations declared Mr. Romney the winner in the race just moments after the polls closed at 8 p.m. Eastern time, based on exit polls and early returns. The margin of his victory and the order of those behind him remain uncertain until more votes are counted.
Mr. Romney barely won Iowa’s caucuses a week ago, besting Rick Santorum by a mere eight votes out of more than one hundred thousand cast.
Mr. Romney’s second White House bid had been premised from the beginning on the idea that he could win in New Hampshire, a state he has all-but adopted as his own in the years since Senator John McCain dashed his hopes here…. – NYT, 1-10-12

“The president has run out of ideas. Now, he’s running out of excuses. And tonight, we’re asking the good people of South Carolina to join the citizens of New Hampshire and make 2012 the year he runs out of time.” — former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

“We have had a victory for the cause of liberty tonight.” — Rep. Ron Paul

“I say third place is a ticket to ride.” —former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman

“We have an opportunity to be the true conservative, the true conservative who can go out and do what’s necessary, not just to win this race— and we can win this race— but to be the conservative who understands that, at the foundation of our country, are institutions that are crucial for us to be a successful nation, families, families that are bonded together as the foundation, that instill virtue and faith in our children, to build strong communities and build a great nation from the bottom up.” — former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum

“We have an opportunity, I think, to unify the country around a message of jobs, economic growth and very dramatic programs.” — Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich

“We’ve had enough of sending our kids and our money around the world to be the policemen of the world. It’s the time to bring them home.” — Ron Paul

“I believe that it will take someone who is capable of debating Barack Obama face to face, delivering the conservative message, winning the argument in order to overcome his billion-dollar machine.” — Newt Gingrich

“Thank you New Hampshire, tonight we made history! Tonight we celebrate; tomorrow we go back to work and take our message to South Carolina.” — Mitt Romney

  • BREAKING NEWS: CBS News projects Mitt Romney wins NH primary: CBS News projects Mitt Romney has won the New Hampshire Republican primary. They are basing their projection on early voting results, combined with exit polling data…. – WGME, 1-10-12
  • Mitt Romney wins New Hampshire Republican primary: Mitt Romney won New Hampshire’s Republican presidential primary on Tuesday, giving the former Massachusetts governor a sweep of the first two critical tests in the GOP nominating contest…. – WaPo, 1-10-12
  • ‘We made history': Mitt Romney claims clear victory in New Hampshire primary – video: The GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney criticised Barack Obama in his victory speech at a primary night rally in Manchester, as the former Massachusetts governor vowed to get America working again. Ron Paul finished second in New Hampshire, with former Utah governor Jon Huntsman a disappointing third…. – The Guardian, 1-10-12
  • Romney wins NH primary; Paul in 2nd and Huntsman 3rd: Republican front-runner Mitt Romney captured the nation’s first primary election Tuesday, easily rebuffing aggressive attacks by a host of challengers…. – USA Today, 1-10-12
  • NH exit poll shows Romney forged broad GOP coalition, seen as best opponent: Mitt Romney performed strongly among conservatives and won decisive backing from voters worried about the economy and eager to vanquish President Barack Obama in this fall’s elections, propelling him to victory in Tuesday’s New Hampshire … – WaPo, 1-10-12
  • New Hampshire puts Romney in driver’s seat: Mitt Romney got virtually everything he needed out of the New Hampshire primary Tuesday night. He won a will move decisive victory that put him in a dominant position to win the Republican presidential nomination, and he on to South … – WaPo, 1-10-12
  • Mitt Romney: ‘Tonight we made history': The only suspense at Mitt Romney’s headquarters on primary night was just how big his margin of victory in New Hampshire would be. The polls hadn’t even closed when the former Massachusetts Governor’s team began lining up the youthful … – LAT, 1-10-12
  • Reactions at the New Hampshire primary: Reactions at the New Hampshire primary: ___ “The president has run out of ideas. Now, he’s running out of excuses. And tonight, we’re asking the good people of South Carolina to join the citizens of New Hampshire and make 2012 the year he runs out of … – WaPo, 1-10-12
  • Santorum returns to the back of the pack in New Hampshire: What a difference a week and 1300 miles make: Rick Santorum, the Sleeveless Wonder who nearly took the Iowa caucuses out from under Mitt Romney, Tuesday came crashing back to Earth, as he was projected to finish fourth or fifth in New Hampshire… – LAT, 1-10-12
  • Biden tells New Hampshire Democrats that Obama will support the middle class: Targeting the Republican frontrunner, Vice President Joe Biden told New Hampshire Democrats on Tuesday that President Barack Obama would be an advocate for the middle class, casting Mitt Romney as someone who would side with the wealthy. … – WaPo, 1-10-12
  • Analysis: Mitt Romney’s victories will force his rivals to make crucial decision: Mitt Romney’s back-to-back victories in Iowa and New Hampshire will force his weak-but-still-standing GOP rivals to make a crucial decision: Keep eviscerating the man that many see as the inevitable nominee or temper their criticisms and … WaPo, 1-10-12
  • Paul says he’s ‘nibbling’ at Romney’s heels: Ron Paul took the stage in New Hampshire tonight to chants of “President Paul,” as he celebrated his second-place showing in the nation’s first primary. “We’re nibbling at his heels,” Paul said about primary winner Mitt Romney…. – USA Today, 1-10-12

Political Buzz December 22, 2011: Speaker John Boehner & House Leaders Agree to Senate Payroll Tax Cut Extension — President Obama Pleased at End of “Partisan Stalemate”

POLITICAL BUZZ

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 to be published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

John A. Boehner, the speaker of the House, announced on Thursday that Republicans had reached an agreement on the payroll tax cut.
Philip Scott Andrews/The New York Times

John A. Boehner, the speaker of the House, announced on Thursday that Republicans had reached an agreement on the payroll tax cut.

IN FOCUS: HOUSE LEADERS AGREE TO THE SENATE’S PAYROLL TAX EXTENSION PLAN

Deal reached on payroll tax cut extension, sources say: A tentative deal has been reached under which House Republicans would accept the Senate’s two-month extension of the payroll tax cut, Senate sources say.
A conference call of House members is scheduled Thursday evening to finalize the arrangement.

House Republican Leaders Agree to Payroll Tax Deal: Bowing under intense pressure from members of their own party to end the politically damaging impasse over a payroll tax holiday, House Republican leaders on Thursday agreed to accept a temporary extension of the tax cut, beating a a hasty retreat from a showdown that Republicans increasingly saw as a threat to their election opportunities next year.
Under a deal reached between House and Senate leaders — which Speaker John A. Boehner was presenting to the rank and file in an evening conference call — House members would accept the two-month extension of a payroll tax holiday and unemployment benefits approved by the Senate last Saturday while the Senate would appoint members of a House-Senate conference committee to negotiate legislation to extend both benefits through 2012…. – NYT, 12-22-11

Statement by Speaker Boehner on Efforts to Enact a Full-Year Extension of Payroll Tax Relief — Washington (Dec 22)
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement:
“Senator Reid and I have reached an agreement that will ensure taxes do not increase for working families on January 1 while ensuring that a complex new reporting burden is not unintentionally imposed on small business job creators. Under the terms of our agreement, a new bill will be approved by the House that reflects the bipartisan agreement in the Senate along with new language that allows job creators to process and withhold payroll taxation under the same accounting structure that is currently in place. The Senate will join the House in immediately appointing conferees, with instructions to reach agreement in the weeks ahead on a full-year payroll tax extension. We will ask the House and Senate to approve this agreement by unanimous consent before Christmas. I thank our Members – particularly those who have remained here in the Capitol with the holidays approaching – for their efforts to enact a full-year extension of the payroll tax cut for working families.”

President Obama: “This is Good News”: For weeks, President Obama has pressed Congress to come to an agreement to extend the payroll tax cut into 2012. This afternoon, that’s exactly what happened.
In a statement, the President praised the good news:

For the past several weeks, I’ve stated consistently that it was critical that Congress not go home without preventing a tax increase on 160 million working Americans. Today, I congratulate members of Congress for ending the partisan stalemate by reaching an agreement that meets that test.
Because of this agreement, every working American will keep his or her tax cut – about $1,000 for the average family. That’s about $40 in every paycheck. Vital unemployment insurance will continue for millions of Americans who are looking for work. And when Congress returns, I urge them to keep working to reach an agreement that will extend this tax cut and unemployment insurance for all of 2012 without drama or delay.
This is good news, just in time for the holidays. This is the right thing to do to strengthen our families, grow our economy, and create new jobs. This is real money that will make a real difference in people’s lives. And I want to thank every American who raised your voice to remind folks in this town what this debate was all about. It was about you. And today, your voices made all the difference.

 

  • New payroll tax cut: Hard on the rich: The Senate’s revised version of the payroll tax cut prevents a handful of very high wage earners from potentially enjoying a huge windfall from the two-month tax break… – CS Monitor, 12-22-11
  • It’s over! Dueling statements from the speaker and the president: House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday announced an agreement with Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid to extend the payroll tax cut for two months. Afterwards both Speaker Boehner and President Obama released statements. … – CNN, 12-22-11
  • Boehner: House leaders accept Senate tax terms: House Speaker John Boehner says he has reached agreement with the Senate to renew the payroll tax cut before it expires Dec. 31. The Ohio Republican said in a statement Thursday that he expects to pass a new bill by Christmas that … – AP, 12-22-11
  • House could be called back for vote on payroll tax deal: US House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday said he would call the vacationing House of Representatives back into session next week if he fails to get unanimous consent on Friday for a payroll tax cut deal with the Senate. … – Reuters, 12-22-11
  • Congressional Leaders Announce Payroll Tax Cut Deal: Congressional leaders announced Thursday that they’ve struck a deal to ensure the payroll tax rate does not rise at the beginning of next year, potentially ending a stalemate that had put House Speaker John Boehner in a politically uncomfortable … – Fox News
  • Obama welcomes payroll tax deal, congratulates Congress for ending ‘partisan stalemate': President Barack Obama is welcoming a deal on extending a payroll tax cut and congratulating Congress for ending its “partisan stalemate.” The president issued a statement Thursday evening moments after House Speaker John Boehner announced … – WaPo, 12-22-11
  • Boehner announces deal on payroll tax cut: House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday announced an agreement with Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid to extend the payroll tax cut for two months. The deal amounted to a reversal of the … – CNN, 12-22-11
  • Cornered, House GOP Nears Capitulation on Short-Term Payroll Tax Cut Extension: On the fifth day since rank-and-file Republicans bucked a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut, the House GOP finally seemed to give way under pressure…. – TIME, 12-22-11
  • Lawmakers reach tentative deal on payroll tax cut; House action Friday: Congressional negotiators have reached a tentative deal to extend the payroll tax holiday for two months, with the House set to act on Friday. A subdued House Speaker John Boehner announced the accord … – LAT, 12-22-11McConnell urges House to pass short-term extension of payroll tax cut: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said for the first time Thursday that the GOP- held House should pass a short extension of the payroll tax cut while the Senate appoints negotiators to discuss how to pay for the tax cut for the full year, putting him at odds with House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) who has insisted negotiations must take first.

Political Buzz December 22, 2011: President Obama Goes Christmas Shopping with Bo

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Goes Christmas Shopping

Source: WH, 12-22-11

Just in time for the holiday, President Obama found a little time this week to get some Christmas shopping done. First Dog Bo went along for the ride — presumably to supervise the President’s stop at a PetSmart just outside Washington, where the two picked up a couple items and mingled with other shoppers, both human and canine.

President Obama and Bo go shoppingPresident Barack Obama reacts as Bo, the Obama family dog, meets a poodle named Cinnamon while shopping at a PetSmart store in Alexandria, Va., Dec. 21, 2011. (by Chuck Kennedy)

  • Obama goes Christmas shopping: Home alone at the White House, President Barack Obama headed on an impromptu Christmas shopping trip Wednesday with first dog Bo, searching for some holiday cheer despite the latest stalemate with Congress…. – AP, 12-21-11
  • Obama and Bo go Christmas shopping: President Barack Obama took a break from wrangling with House Republicans on Wednesday afternoon for a quick pre-Christmas shopping trip to buy gifts for his daughters and Bo the dog.
    After calling congressional leaders to reaffirm his support for the Senate-passed two-month extension of the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance, Obama exited the Oval Office with Bo in tow and headed to a shopping strip in Alexandria, Va. — a man alone with his dog as his family vacations in Hawaii…. – Politico, 12-21-11

After leaving the pet store, President Obama continued on (companionless) to Best Buy to pick out some games and gift cards for his daughters before heading to a local restaurant for a few pizzas to take back to the White House.

Need more Bo? Watch this video about his role in this year’s White House Holiday decorations

Political Buzz December 20, 2011: Congress Votes Against 2 Month Payroll Tax Cut Extension – House Rejects Senate Passed Plan by a Vote of 229-193

POLITICAL BUZZ

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 to be published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

House Republicans, led by Speaker John A. Boehner, asked President Obama to call the Senate back to Washington after the House voted down a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut.

IN FOCUS: HOUSE REJECTS THE SENATE’S PAYROLL TAX EXTENSION PLAN BY A VOTE OF 229-193

House rejects Senate’s payroll tax plan: The House Tuesday rejected a bipartisan Senate compromise on extending a payroll tax holiday for two months along with extensions of unemployment benefits and Medicare payments to doctors.
In a 229-193 procedural vote that set aside the Senate bill and requested a formal conference with the Senate, House Republicans set up a showdown with the Democratic-controlled Senate and President Obama, who are demanding that the House approve the short-term plan now to avoid a tax hike on workers Jan. 1 and then negotiate a longer-term deal for the rest of 2012…. – WaPo, 12-20-11

  • Republicans in House Reject Deal Extending Payroll Tax Cut: House Republicans on Tuesday soundly rejected a bill approved by the Senate that would have extended the payroll tax cut for most Americans beyond the end of the year and allowed millions of unemployed people to continue receiving jobless … – NYT, 12-20-11
  • House GOP rejects 2-month payroll tax cut: Congress lurched toward Grinch-like gridlock on Tuesday as the Republican-controlled House rejected a two-month extension of Social Security tax cuts that President Barack Obama said was “the only viable way” to prevent a drop in take-home pay for 160 million workers on Jan. 1.
    “The clock is ticking, time is running out,” Obama said shortly after House voted 229-193 to request negotiations with the Senate on renewing the payroll tax cuts for a year.
    House Speaker John Boehner, told that Obama had sought his help, replied, “I need the president to help out.” … – AP, 12-20-11
  • Obama blasts GOP after House Republicans defeat two-month payroll tax cut: The House on Tuesday rejected a bipartisan Senate compromise to extend a payroll tax cut for two months, along with unemployment benefits, plunging Washington into uncertainty just days before Christmas about the fate of the tax cut enjoyed by 160 … – WaPo, 12-20-11
  • 11 House members miss vote that rejected two-month extension of payroll tax: Eleven lawmakers missed the House vote that rejected Senate legislation to extend a payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits for two months. Reps. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Ron Paul of Texas were campaigning Tuesday for the … – WaPo, 12-20-11
  • Obama blasts House GOP for blocking payroll tax cut extension: By Christi Parsons While members of Congress point fingers at each other for gumming up the payroll tax cut, President Obama is watching the bickering from the White House–where he is apparently happy to spend the holiday season until a deal gets done…. – LAT, 12-20-11
  • Boehner says Obama should tell Senate to bargain on payroll tax cuts, break impasse: House Speaker John Boehner says it’s time for President Barack Obama to help end Congress’ impasse over renewing the payroll tax cut and jobless benefits. The Ohio Republican said Tuesday that he wants Obama to call on the Democratic-led … – WaPo, 12-20-11
  • Obama: Republicans are forcing payroll tax hike: President Obama blasted House Republicans today for rejecting a Senate plan to extend the payroll tax cut for two months, saying that “a faction” of the GOP is forcing a tax hike on Americans next year. … – USA Today, 12-20-11
  • Obama directly calls out Boehner: Stop the games: This afternoon, after House Republicans voted to “disagree” with the Senate compromise extending the payroll tax cut, the brinksmanship took a sudden and dramatic turn. Obama made a surprise appearance before reporters and called out…. – WaPo, 12-20-11
  • House in session ‘as necessary’ over holidays as payroll tax fight remains unresolved: By Felicia Sonmez With the final battle of the 112th Congress still unresolved, the House adjourned on Tuesday and will meet “as necessary” over the holidays. The adjournment leaves in limbo the fate of a bipartisan package that would prevent… – WaPo, 12-20-11
  • Payroll tax cut extension in doubt amid House Republican uproar: The fate of a payroll tax cut extension backed by the White House and overwhelmingly passed by the Senate is uncertain after a restive House Republican conference expressed displeasure with the two-month deal…. – WaPo, 12-18-11
  • McCain: Payroll tax cut showdown ‘harming’ the GOP: Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona said Tuesday the battle on Capitol Hill between Democrats and Republicans over extending the payroll tax cut was causing damage to the GOP. “It is harming the Republican Party,” McCain said on CNN…. – CNN, 12-20-11
  • Obama, Boehner square off in payroll tax fight: The congressional impasse over extending the payroll tax cut became a showdown Tuesday between President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner. After the Republican-controlled House passed a measure calling for more … – CNN, 12-20-11
  • Obama, Boehner lock horns in payroll tax fight: President Barack Obama demanded on Tuesday that Republicans in the House of Representatives pass a short-term extension of a payroll tax cut, showing an unwillingness to back down in a fight … – Reuters Canada, 12-20-11
  • Payroll tax cut down to who blinks first: Just 11 days before 160 million Americans face a payroll tax increase, the fight has become a matter of which side blinks first.
    Congressional Democrats and President Barack Obama are betting Republicans concede out of fear they’ll get blamed for a middle class tax increase. Speaker John Boehner and his rowdy GOP conference are pressuring Democrats to come back to the negotiating table — but right now they’re negotiating alone. And Senate Republicans are surprisingly silent on the whole thing, having washed their hands of this year-end mess by backing the two-month payroll tax extension and jetting town…. – Politico, 12-20-11
  • House Vote Coming on Payroll Tax Cut Extension: NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF “YOUR WORLD”: House Republicans are expected to vote down a two- month extension of the payroll tax cut just hours from now. House Speaker John Boehner saying it would only create more uncertainty for job creators…. – Fox News, 12-20-11
  • House GOP to reject two-month Senate payroll tax cut Tuesday in end-of-year: With the Senate adjourned for the holidays, House Republicans are moving to shelve a bipartisan two-month extension of the Social Security payroll tax cut that cleared the Senate over the weekend and are demanding instead that their fellow … – WaPo, 12-20-11
  • House speaker foresees extension of payroll tax cuts: House Speaker John Boehner told USA TODAY on Monday that he was optimistic that payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefits would be extended — despite a congressional stalemate that could result in millions of … – USA Today, 12-20-11
  • House conservatives end year as they spent it, revolting over a bipartisan bill on taxes: Sen. Mitch McConnell does not high-five easily or often. But a deal to keep American workers’ taxes from rising on Jan. 1 was reason enough for the coolest negotiator in the Senate to lift a hand on camera and slap — or pat — some skin. … – WaPo, 12-20-11
  • House Republicans, in turmoil, delay vote on payroll tax cut: Tempers grow short as hard-line conservatives remain opposed to a two-month extension that easily passed the Senate. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) holds a news conference on the payroll tax vote with fellow House Republican freshmen at the US Capitol. … – LAT, 12-20-11
  • Boehner’s brinksmanship: The House speaker objects to the Senate payroll tax compromise, but his complaints about it ring hollow. Speaker of the House John Boehner answers reporters’ questions during a news conference on the payroll tax vote outside his office at the Capitol. … – LAT, 12-20-11
  • House Republicans intent on killing Senate payroll tax cut deal: House Republicans were gearing up to ditch a bipartisan Senate bill on Tuesday that would extend a federal payroll tax holiday for two months, charging that the deal represented the old ways of doing business that they were elected to change. … – WaPo, 12-20-11
  • Has Boehner lost control: First, John Boehner wanted the Senate to pass a payroll tax cut bill. Then, he wanted to make a show of killing it. Now, he won’t hold a House vote on it at all. In the last and biggest political test of a wild year — Boehner’s final exam for 2012 … – Politico, 12-20-11
  • House Set to Vote Down Payroll Tax Cut Extension: Under fire from senators in their own party, House Republicans on Tuesday prepared to reject a Senate measure to extend a payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits for millions of Americans for two months, and demanded that the Senate … – NYT, 12-20-11
  • House Republicans Refuse to Budge on Payroll Tax Cut: Despite fire from senators in their own party, House Republicans pushed for talks on a long-term bill…. – NYT, 12-19-11
  • Payroll Tax Cut Rejected by House Republicans: The House Republican leader’s rejection of a short-term, bipartisan Senate measure to extend a payroll tax break set the stage for a bitter year-end Congressional collision…. – NYT, 12-18-11
  • Extension of Payroll Tax Cut Passes Senate: A two-month extension of the payroll-tax holiday — should it get through the House — adds to a series of 11th-hour Congressional deals that simply pushed the issues involved forward…. – NYT, 12-17-11

Political Buzz December 15, 2011: First Look: New Obama Family Portrait

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

First Look: New Obama Family Portrait

Source: WH, 12-15-11
Official Obama Family Portrait 2011

President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and their daughters, Malia, left, and Sasha, right, sit for a family portrait in the Oval Office, Dec. 11, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The White House photo office today released a new official portrait of the First Family, which was taken by Pete Souza in the Oval Office on Sunday December 11, 2011 after the family returned to the White House after church services. The previous official portrait, below, was taken in the Green Room in 2009 by Annie Leibovitz.

First Family Official PortraitThe Official Portrait of the First Family. October 23, 2009. (by Annie Leibovitz)

Political Buzz December 15, 2011: US Fornally Ends Iraq War with Ceremony in Baghdad Lead by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta

POLITICAL BUZZ

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 to be published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

Casing the Colors in Iraq

Source: WH, 12-15-11
20111215 Casing the Colors

Lloyd James Austin III, commander, United States Forces-Iraq, and Command Sgt. Maj. Joseph R. Allen, case the USF-I Colors during a flag casing ceremony that marked the end of Operation New Dawn, at the former Sather Air Base, in Baghdad, Iraq, Dec. 15, 2011. Since 2003, more than 1 million Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines have served in Iraq. Photo Credit: Master Sgt. Cecilio Ricard, U.S. Air Forces Central, Baghdad Media Outreach TeamGen.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey — chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — were in Baghdad today to bring the mission in Iraq to its official end.

At Baghdad Airport, in a ceremony steeped in tradition and history, soldiers lowered and cased the U.S. flag in preparating for its return to the United States.

“This will be an historic moment where we basically enter a new chapter in Iraq in which we deal with them in a way that represents the kind of normal relationship we have with other countries,” Secretary Panetta said.

The drawdown will continue through December 31.

IN FOCUS: US FORMALLY ENDS IRAQ WAR WITH CEREMONY IN BAGHDAD LEAD BY DEFENSE SECRETARY LEON PANETTA

U.S. formally ends war in Iraq: Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta paid solemn tribute on Thursday to an “independent, free and sovereign Iraq” and declared the official end to the Iraq war, formally wrapping up the U.S. military’s 81 / 2-year mission in the country. “After a lot of blood spilled by Iraqis and Americans, the mission of an Iraq that could govern and secure itself has become real,” Panetta said at a ceremony at Baghdad ‘s international airport. “To be sure, the cost was high – in blood and treasure for the United States, and for the Iraqi people. Those lives were not lost in vain. ” The 1:15 p.m. ceremony (5:15 a.m. in Washington) effectively ended the war two weeks earlier than was necessary under the terms of the security agreement signed by the U.S. and Iraqi governments in 2008, which stipulated that the troops must be gone by Dec. 31. But commanders decided there was no need to keep troops in Iraq through the Christmas holidays given that talks on maintaining a U.S. presence beyond the deadline had failed. The date of the final ceremony had been kept secret for weeks, so as not to give insurgents or militias an opportunity to stage attacks…. – WaPo, 12-15-11

Ceremony today will formally end Iraq war: The Iraq war is set to officially end Thursday, with Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta flying into Baghdad to attend a ceremony formally wrapping up the U.S. military’s 81 / 2-year mission in Iraq.
The ceremony effectively ends the war two weeks earlier than was necessary under the terms of the security agreement signed by the U.S. and Iraqi governments in 2008, which stipulated that the troops must be gone by Dec. 31. But commanders decided there was no need to keep troops in Iraq through the Christmas holidays given that talks on maintaining a U.S. presence beyond the deadline had failed. The date of the final ceremony had been kept secret for weeks, so as not to give insurgents or militias an opportunity to stage attacks…. – WaPo, 12-15-11

  • US War in Iraq Declared Officially Over: Almost nine years after the first American tanks began massing on the Iraq border, the Pentagon declared an official end to its mission here, closing a troubled conflict that helped … – NYT, 12-15-11
  • Iraq war draws to a quiet close: The American war in Iraq came to an unspectacular end Thursday at a simple ceremony held on the edge of Baghdad’s international airport, not far from the highway along which US troops first fought their way into the capital more than eight … – WaPo, 12-15-11
  • Iraq war draws to a close: US Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta declared the official end to the Iraq war, formally wrapping up the US military’s mission in the country after almost nine years. US military personnel holding the US flag, Iraq flag, and the US Forces Iraq colors … – WaPo, 12-15-11
  • Mission accomplished, really: US war in Iraq officially ends: Some 4000 US forces will be exiting Iraq in the coming days. ‘Iraq will be tested in days ahead,’ warned Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, at an end-of-mission ceremony Thursday…. – CS Monitor, 12-15-11
  • US formally draws curtain on the unpopular war in Iraq (video): At the official flag-furling ceremony in Baghdad to end the war in Iraq, Secretary Panetta spoke highly of US soldiers’ sacrifice. But both Iraqis and Americans appear happy for it to be over…. – CS Monitor, 12-15-11
  • US military formally ends mission in Iraq: The US military mission in Iraq formally ended Thursday in a small ceremony at Baghdad airport as the last US troops prepared to leave the country after nearly nine years of war, billions of dollars spent and nearly 4500 … – LAT, 12-15-11
  • Panetta to formally shut down US war in Iraq: After nearly nine years, 4500 American dead, 32000 wounded and more than $800 billion, US officials prepared Thursday to formally shut down the war in Iraq — a conflict that US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said was worth the price in … – AP, 12-15-11
  • Panetta Arrives in Baghdad for Military Handover Ceremony: Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta landed in the Iraqi capital on Thursday for the ceremony officially ending the military mission here and closing out a bloody and controversial chapter of American … NYT, 12-15-11
  • Iraq war draws to a quiet close: The Iraq war is set to officially end Thursday, with Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta flying into Baghdad to attend a ceremony formally wrapping up the US military’s 8 1 / 2 -year mission in Iraq. The ceremony effectively ends the war two … WaPo, 12-15-11
  • Obama Praises Troops as He Ends the War He Opposed: President Obama observed the end of the war in Iraq on Wednesday before an audience of those who fought in it, telling a crowd of returning war veterans that the nearly nine years of conflict in Iraq…. – NYT, 12-14-11

Political Buzz December 10, 2011: President Obama & VP Biden Attend Army Navy Game 2011 — Ends in 10th Straight Victory for Navy: 27-21

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

Obama flips Reagan coin at Army-Navy game: President Obama flipped the coin before today’s Army-Navy football game and managed to pay tribute to predecessor Ronald Reagan at the same time. The coin: A silver dollar commemorating this year’s centennial of Reagan’s birth… USA Today, 12-10-11

Army Navy Game 2011 Ends in 10th Straight Victory for Navy: 27-21

Source: WH, 12-10-11

On Saturday, President Obama, Vice President Biden, and Dr. Jill Biden attended the 112th edition of the annual Army vs. Navy football game at FedEx Field, which ended in the 10th straight victory for Navy, scoring 27-21.  The President’s attendance kicks off a number of observances to mark the end of the Iraq war and honor all Americans who have served in Iraq.

Army Navy 1President Barack Obama performs the coin toss before the annual Army vs. Navy football game at FedEx Field, Landover, Md. December 10, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Army Navy 2President Barack Obama watches the first half of the annual Army vs. Navy football game with U.S. Naval Academy Midshipman at FedEx Field, Landover, Md., Dec. 10, 2011. December 10, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Army Navy 3During an Army vs. Navy halftime ceremony, President Barack Obama is transferred from the U.S. Naval Academy’s custody to the custody of the U.S. Military Academy by Lt. Gen. David Huntoon Jr., Superintendent, U.S. Military Academy, at FedEx Field, Landover, Md., Dec. 10, 2011 December 10, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

Political Buzz December 8, 2011: President Barack Obama Hosts White House Hanukkah Reception

POLITICAL BUZZ

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 to be published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

חיוכים ובדיחות בבית הלבן (צילום: AFP)

Laughs and jokes at the White House (Photo: AFP)

IN FOCUS: PRESIDENT OBAMA HOLDS HANUKKAH RECEPTION AT THE WHITE HOUSE

Full Text December 8, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Speech / Remarks at White House Hanukkah Reception — Transcript — WH, 12-8-11

Obama celebrates Hanukkah at White House: President Barack Obama is marking Hanukkah as a story of “faith over doubt.”
Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden convened a Hanukkah celebration at the White House Thursday in an early celebration of the Jewish Festival of Lights.
Obama said the Hanukkah story was about “right over might, faith over doubt.” In the Hanukkah story, a small band of Jews rededicating a Jerusalem temple found that a one-day supply of oil kindled a flame instead for eight.
The president noted “our unshakeable support and commitment to the security of the nation of Israel.”
Hanukkah begins at sunset on Dec. 20. Obama joked that everyone needs to be “careful that your kids don’t start thinking Hanukkah lasts 20 nights instead of eight.” — AP, 12-8-11

  • Obama lights White House menorah at reception: President Obama hosted 550 people at the White House Chanukah reception.
    The annual event, held Thursday in Washington, was attended by the president and vice-president and their wives and attracted a mix of Jewish dignitaries from the political, community and cultural worlds. The president reiterated his “unshakable support” for Israel and noted that the festivities were being celebrated a week before the holiday begins.
    “We’re jumping the gun just a little bit,” said Obama. “The way I see it, we’re just extending the holiday spirit. We’re stretching it out. But we do have to be careful that your kids don’t start thinking Chanukah lasts 20 nights instead of eight. That will cause some problems.”
    The West Point Jewish Chapel Choir performed at the event, while the menorah used was made in a displaced persons camp after World War II and donated by the Jewish Museum in New York.
    “Let’s extend a hand to those who are in need, and allow the value of tikkun olam to guide our work this holiday season,” Obama said. “This is also a time to be grateful for our friendships, both with each other and between our nations. And that includes, of course, our unshakeable support and commitment to the security of the nation of Israel.”… – JTA, 12-9-11
  • Obama celebrates Hanukkah in White House: President appears particularly jovial as he marks Jewish holiday earlier than usual. ‘The Hanukkah story is one of right over might, of faith over doubt,’ he says

    US President Barack Obama held a festive Hanukkah reception at the White House on Thursday and appeared to be in a particularly cheerful mood. Among the guests were his wife Michelle, Vice President Joe Biden, Israeli ambassador Michael Oren and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. “The story of Hanukkah is one of right over might, of faith over doubt,” he remarked.
    Getting into the holiday spirit Obama was brimming with jokes and good wishes. “We’re jumping the gun just a little bit,” he noted. “The way I see it, we’re just extending the holiday spirit. We’re stretching it out. But we do have to be careful that your kids don’t start thinking Hanukkah lasts 20 nights instead of eight.”
    Addressing the US’s ties with Israel he said: “This is also a time to be grateful for our friendships, both with each other and between our nations. And that includes, of course, our unshakeable support and commitment to the security of the nation of Israel.”
    Obama seemed particularly jovial as he said, “So while it is not yet Hanukkah, let’s give thanks for our blessings, for being together to celebrate this wonderful holiday season. And we never need an excuse for a good party.” He later noted, “We can’t wait to give you a hug and a kiss and wish you a happy holiday.”
    Addressing the miracle of Hanukkah, the President said: “This Hanukkah season we remember a story so powerful that we all know it by heart – even us Gentiles.” He added, “And for 2,000 years, it has given hope to Jews everywhere who are struggling.”…. – YNet, 12-9-11

  • Michelle Obama is hostess for early Hanukkah party: It’s beginning to look a lot like Hannukah. Michelle Obama and her husband, along with Joe and Jill Biden, welcomed 550 guests last night to the White House to celebrate the Jewish holiday, even though it doesn’t start until Dec.20.
    “We’re jumping the gun just a little bit,” President Obama joked to the crowd, which included Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and ambassador to Israel Michael Oren.
    “The way I see it, we’re just extending the holiday spirit. We’re stretching it out. But we do have to be careful that your kids don’t start thinking Hanukkah lasts 20 nights instead of eight. That will cause some problems…”
    He added, “And we never need an excuse for a good party.”… – USA Today, 12-9-11
  • Obama fights for Jewish support amid GOP attacks: …Firing back, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz called Romney’s comments “outrageous” and questioned his own policies. The White House cited military aid to Israel and support at the United Nations, and pointed to statements from Israeli officials backing up Obama’s assertion.
    The fiery debate will probably continue Wednesday when the GOP presidential candidates attend a Washington forum hosted by the Republican Jewish Coalition.
    Obama campaign officials say they will be ready to respond. And the next day, Jewish leaders will be at the White House for briefings on Israel and a Hanukkah party, followed by an Obama speech next week to an expected audience of nearly 6,000 at a conference of the Union for Reform Judaism…. – AP, 12-6-11

Political Buzz December 6, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Populist Speech on the Middle Class & the Economy at Osawatomie High School, Kansas Channels President Theodore Roosevelt’s New Nationalism

POLITICAL BUZZ

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 to be published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

Barack Obama and Teddy Roosevelt are pictured. | AP Photos

President Obama is conjuring the legacy of a president who took on Wall Street. | AP Photos

IN FOCUS: PRESIDENT OBAMA’S POPULIST SPEECH ON THE MIDDLE CLASS & ECONOMY AT OSAWATOMIE HIGH SCHOOL, KANSAS CHANNELS THEODORE ROOSEVELT’S NEW NATIONALISM

“It’s not a view that we should somehow turn back technology or put up walls around America. It’s not a view that says we should punish profit or success or pretend that government knows how to fix all society’s problems. It’s a view that says in America, we are greater together — when everyone engages in fair play, everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share.” — President Barack Obama

“I believe that this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, when everyone does their fair share, and when everyone plays by the same rules. Those aren’t Democratic or Republican values; 1 percent values or 99 percent values. They’re American values, and we have to reclaim them.” — President Barack Obama

Obama sees ‘make or break’ time for middle class: President Barack Obama delivered a sweeping indictment of economic inequality in the US on Tuesday as he summoned the memory of President Theodore Roosevelt and pledged to fight for fairness at a “make or break moment for the middle class…. – WaPo, 12-6-11

 

  • Obama pledges to fight for middle class: President Barack Obama took aim at Republicans and delivered a sweeping indictment of economic inequality in the US on Tuesday as he pledged to fight for fairness for the middle class. Only a month before Republican voters … – AP, 12-6-11
  • Obama compares current economy to Great Depression: President Barack Obama said Tuesday that economic inequality in America is at “a level we haven’t seen since the Great Depression” and “hurts us all.” “When middle-class families can no longer afford to buy the goods and services that … – CNN, 12-6-11
  • Obama hits Republicans in starkly populist speech: President Barack Obama turned up the heat on his Republican foes on Tuesday as he portrayed himself as a champion of the middle class and laid out in the starkest terms yet the populist themes of his 2012 … – Reuters, 12-6-11
  • Barack Obama channels Teddy Roosevelt: Barack Obama spent the first three years of his presidency invoking Abraham Lincoln, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.
    Just over a hundred years after the Bull Moose delivered his “New Nationalism” speech in Osawatomie, Kan., Obama touted his own square deal there on Tuesday. The president described a “make or break moment for the middle class,” calling for broader consumer protections and for the Senate to confirm his nominee to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau…. – Politico, 12-6-11
  • Obama channels Roosevelt’s ‘New Nationalism':
    • President Obama calls for shared national investment in growth and opportunity
    • Obama goes to the same place where Roosevelt made a famous 1910 speech
    • The major theme is making the good of the country the top priority
    • Democrats and Republicans are divided over how to pay for the payroll tax measure

    More than a century after Teddy Roosevelt’s famous “New Nationalism” speech, President Barack Obama sounded similar themes Tuesday in the same town in the Republican heartland of Kansas, delivering a populist speech that called for extending the payroll tax cut set to expire at the end of the year.
    Obama described stark differences between a Republican ideology he described as leaving people to fend for themselves and his vision of government helping provide equal opportunity for all Americans regardless of where they begin in life…. – CNN, 12-6-11

  • In Kansas, Obama says middle class faces ‘make or break moment': With a nod to Theodore Roosevelt, President Obama positioned himself as the champion of the middle class while blasting the “you’re-on-your-own economics” of the modern Republican Party, a message likely to form … – LAT, 12-6-11
  • Obama: This is ‘make or break moment’ for middle class: Calling it “the defining issue of our time,” President Obama said today that the United States faces “a make or break moment for the middle class,” and for all Americans who are fighting to get there. … – USA Today, 12-6-11
  • Obama tells banks, businesses to help middle class: President Barack Obama on Tuesday laid out his economic philosophy, saying that banks, businesses and government must help the middle class get back on its feet. “This is the defining issue of our … MarketWatch, 12-6-11
  • Obama’s day: Channeling Teddy Roosevelt in Kansas: Good morning from The Oval. This day in 1923 saw the first radio broadcast of a presidential speech as Calvin Coolidge addressed a joint session of Congress. Today, President Obama seeks to emulate predecessor Theodore Roosevelt…. – USA Today, 12-6-11
  • Obama channels Teddy Roosevelt in populist re-election speech: US President Barack Obama speaks about the economy and a payroll tax cut compromise during a visit to Osawatomie High School in Kansas December 6, 2011. More than a 100 years ago, President Teddy Roosevelt delivered a speech in Osawatomie in which he … – National Post, 12-6-11
  • President Obama channels Teddy Roosevelt in calling for a ‘fair chance’ for Americans: President Obama carried his GOP-bashing populist message to the heartland Tuesday, embracing Theodore Roosevelt as a Republican who rose above partisan orthodoxy to create a “fair chance” for all Americans, … – NY Daily News, 12-6-11
  • President Obama makes economic speech at the site of famous Theodore Roosevelt Address: President Obama is scheduled to deliver a speech at 1:55 pm ET Tuesday in Osawatomie, Kan. where his advisers say he will attempt to frame a conversation about the “economic future in this country.” Osawatomie is the town where … – WaPo, 12-6-11
  • Gov. Brownback will not attend Obama speech in Osawatomie: Instead, Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer and his family will attend the event, which is expected to draw as many as 20000 visitors to the Kansas town of 4447 residents. “It is always an honor to have the president in Kansas,” Brownback said in a statement. … – Kansas City Business Journal, 12-6-11

Political Buzz December 6, 2011: Lady Gaga Discusses Anti-Bullying Campaign with Obama Administration Officials at the White House

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

IN FOCUS: LADY GAGA DISCUSSES ANTI-BULLYING CAMPAIGN WITH OBAMA ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS AT THE WHITE HOUSE

https://i2.wp.com/img.ibtimes.com/www/data/images/full/2011/09/07/155839-the-real-lady-gaga.jpg

Lady Gaga discusses anti-bullying at White House: Lady Gaga visited the White House on Tuesday to discuss bullying prevention. The pop singer met with Obama administration staffers on the issue and afterward, Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett praised the star as “a source of strength for many young people who feel isolated and scared at their schools.”
“Lady Gaga has described this cause as a personal one — she has said that as a child, she was often picked on for being different,” Jarrett wrote in a blog post on the White House website. “I am deeply moved by the way she has used her story, and her success, to inspire young people, and shine the spotlight on important issues.”… – AP, 12-6-11

  • Lady Gaga takes anti-bullying campaign to White House: Eccentric pop diva Lady Gaga took her anti-bullying campaign to the White House where she was lauded as a source of strength for many young people who are scared at school.
    Her visit follows a White House bullying conference earlier this year, called to mitigate the plight of nearly a third of US schoolchildren, or 13 million students, who are bullied each year, according to official figures…. – AFP, 12-6-11
  • Lady Gaga Goes to the White House for Anti-Bullying Campaign: Lady Gaga has kept her promise to one of her little Monsters who committed suicide after being tormented by years of bullying. … – E! Online, 12-6-11
  • Lady Gaga paid a surprisingly low-key visit to the White House Tuesday on the matter of her favorite cause: bullying prevention. The president (whom she met at a San Jose fundraiser in September) was out of town, though, so she met with Valerie Jarrett. Sightings were elusive, but ABC spotted her in long white dress and heels and subdued makeup…. – WaPo, 12-6-11
  • Lady Gaga Meets with White House Staff About Bullying: White House officials confirm that pop icon Lady Gaga has a meeting scheduled in the West Wing Tuesday afternoon with senior presidential advisor Valerie Jarrett and Jarrett’s staff on the topic of bullying.
    Gaga has made speaking out against bullying — especially when it’s over sexual orientation — one of her primary causes…. – ABC News Radio, 12-6-11
  • White House Goes Gaga: Staffers Meet With Pop Star Lady Gaga: Lady Gaga is bringing her activist power to the White House today to discuss bullying prevention with administration officials. The White House confirms that the pop star has a meeting scheduled in the West Wing this afternoon with presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett and members of the staff of the Office of Public Engagement.
    Lady Gaga will not meet with President Barack Obama, who is in Kansas delivering a speech on the economy and the middle class. The two have met before, however. Gaga met the president earlier this year at a fundraiser for his re-election campaign…. – ABC News, 12-6-11

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Meeting with Lady Gaga on Inclusion and Equality for Our Young People

Source: Valerie Jarett, WH, 12-6-11

Lady Gaga is a source of strength for many young people who feel isolated and scared at their schools.  Today, I had the opportunity to welcome her to the White House, where we discussed ways we could work together to make sure that no child comes under attack, regardless of his or her race, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other factor.

One of Lady Gaga’s newest projects is joining together with the MacArthur Foundation and Harvard University to launch the Born This Way Foundation, which will explore ways to help change the culture, the policies, and the curriculum surrounding the safety of our children in school.

Lady Gaga has described this cause as a personal one – she has said that as a child, she was often picked on for being different. I am deeply moved by the way she has used her story, and her success, to inspire young people, and shine the spotlight on important issues.

I am proud to be part of an Administration that has taken steps to address bullying. In 2010, the Department of Education made it clear to schools that allowing bullying against LGBT students can violate anti-discrimination statutes.  In 2011, the Department reaffirmed students’ rights to form gay-straight alliances and other similar groups.  Earlier this year, President Obama and the First Lady held a White House Conference on Bullying Prevention. And today the Administration released a new analysis of state bullying laws and policies, summarizing the efforts currently in place to prevent bullying in and out of schools.  The report shows that while states have made recent progress in enacting policies and legislation to address bullying, more must be done.

Over the last three years, we have seen that when we work together on behalf of human rights, we can accomplish truly amazing things, yet too many young people still remain at risk.

As we continue protecting our children, we look forward to working with Lady Gaga, the Born This Way Foundation, and with every American who is willing to help make our society more kind, inclusive, and equal.

Valerie Jarrett is a Senior Advisor to the President.

Political Buzz November 30, 2011: First Lady Michelle Obama Unveils with First Dog Bo the 2011 White House Christmas Theme Shine, Give, Share Honoring Military Families

POLITICAL BUZZ

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 to be published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

IN FOCUS: FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA UNVEILS WITH FIRST DOG BO THE 2011 WHITE HOUSE CHRISTMAS THEME SHINE, GIVE, SHARE HONORING MILITARY FAMILIES

Bo, the Obama family dog, made from plastic garbage bags, is seen in the Library of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011, as the Christmas holiday decorations, whose theme is 'Shine, Give, Share' were previewed.

Bo, the Obama family dog, made from plastic garbage bags, is seen in the Library of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011, as the Christmas holiday decorations, whose theme is “Shine, Give, Share” were previewed. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

White House Holiday Decoration Preview with the First Lady

Source: WH, 11-30-11

First Lady Michelle Obama welcomed military families to the White House today for the first peek at this year’s holiday decorations. After speaking to parents, spouses, and children of service members in the East Room, she invited kids down to the State Dining Room to decorate cookies and make Christmas tree ornaments.

The theme for this year’s holiday is “Shine, Share, Give,” celebrating the countless ways we can lift up those around us, put our best self forward in the spirit of the season, spend time with friends and family, celebrate the joy of giving to others, and share our blessings with all.  The decorations in every room of the house, hung with care by volunteers from 37 states, reflect the theme, using shiny stars, metallic garland, and twinkling lights and also by inviting visitors to give thanks to the military for their service.

Each room of the White House is uniquely decorated for the holidays. After arriving through the East Visitor Entrance, visitors are invited to write thank you notes to service members in the East Landing and view the Gold Star Families Tree, decorated by families whose loved ones gave their lives in service to our nation.  In the Entrance Hall on the State Floor, crystal snowflakes hang from the ceiling above visitors as they walk toward the Blue Room, home to the official White House Christmas Tree, also decorated in honor of military families. The East Room has been transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with four trees and garland and tree branches in every window.  A 400-pound gingerbread, marzipan, and white chocolate White House—an exact replica, complete with tiny furniture, art, and chandeliers—sits in the State Dining Room.

And, a very special four-legged member of the Obama family is represented in nearly every room. Bo can be found in nearly every room, from small ornaments to life-size topiaries made from everyday materials like felt, buttons, candy and even trash bags!

Read more about the White House Holiday decorations and this year’s theme

Shine, Give, Share

The theme for this 2011 holiday season is “Shine, Give, Share,” which offers an opportunity to pay tribute to our troops, veterans, and their families throughout the White House. This year, the official tour features 37 Christmas trees, 30 are natural trees and 7 are made from paper, felt or aluminum; a gingerbread model of the White House made of 400 pounds of gingerbread, white chocolate and marzipan plus 5 different representations of First Dog Bo Obama. Volunteers from 36 states plus the District of Columbia worked for days to get everything ready.

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Blue Room

The centerpiece of the Blue Room is the official White House Christmas tree—a breathtaking 18-foot-6-inch balsam fir from Neshkoro, Wisconsin—which honors our men and women in uniform and features holiday cards created by military children. Collected from United States military installations around the world, these thoughtful and poignant cards celebrate their parents serving in uniform. Medals, badges, and patches from all of the military branches are displayed on ornaments, historic military images are displayed with volunteer-made pinecone frames and ribbons inspired by the Armed Forces colors represent the brave women and men who protect our Nation and defend our freedom.

Share a holiday message with our troops:

Share Your Message

blue room holiday photo

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Download the White House Holiday Tour Book

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Gold Star Tree

The Gold Star Families Tree pays tribute to those who gave their lives in service to our Nation and to the families who continue to carry their proud legacy forward. Photos of these fallen heroes and messages from their loved ones honor their courageous service, and remind us of the great sacrifices made for our freedom. Visitors can write notes to service members showing their thanks and visiting Gold Star Families will have the opportunity to inscribe a ceramic gold star with a personalized note to decorate the tree. Honoring Gold Star Families in this fashion was the First Lady’s idea, and the tree was decorated by Gold Star families who volunteered their time this holiday season.

gold star tree photos

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See some special moments from White House Holidays through the years

First Family Slideshow First Family’s Pets Slideshow Obama Family Slideshow Simple Gift Blog Post

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Deck the Halls with Bo Obama

This year the White House Holiday décor includes a bounty of Bos! The tour route features 5 Bo topiaries made from various materials like felt (35 yards of wool felt used), buttons (318 buttons in total), pom poms (750 pom poms used), candy (12 marshmallows, 1911 pieces of licorice), and even trash bags (6,850 feet worth)! Including Bo ornaments and other small Bos, you can find Bo in almost every room!

Shine, Give, Share: The Obama White House’s theme for this 2011 holiday season is “Shine, Give, Share,” which offers an opportunity to pay tribute to our troops, veterans, and their families throughout the White House. This year, the official tour features 37 Christmas trees, 30 are natural trees and 7 are made from paper, felt or aluminum; a gingerbread model of the White House made of 400 pounds of gingerbread, white chocolate and marzipan plus 5 different representations of First Dog Bo Obama. Volunteers from 36 states plus the District of Columbia worked for days to get everything ready. — WH

‘Shine, Give, Share': Christmas Decorations at the White House — PICTURESNational Journal, 11-30-11

  • White House Holiday Decoration Preview with the First Lady: First Lady Michelle Obama welcomed military families to the White House today for the first peek at this year’s holiday decorations. After speaking to parents, spouses, and children of service members in the East Room, she invited kids down…. – The White House, 11-30-11
  • Holiday decorations unveiled to military families: …First lady Michelle Obama welcomed military families to the first viewing of the 2011 decorations on Wednesday. “Shine, Give, Share” is the theme for the Obama family’s third Christmas in the mansion. The theme translates throughout the public viewing space from gold foil leaf trimming to shiny quartz ornaments.
    Several decorations honor military families including a Gold Star Families Tree with ceramic gold ornaments carrying personalized messages by families. Tour visitors can also create handwritten notes for the troops… – AP, 11-30-11
  • White House decks the halls for Christmas: Amid the festive sparkle of 37 Christmas trees and a 400-pound gingerbread White House, Michelle Obama honored military families as she unveiled her 2011 holiday decor. The “Shine, Give, Share” theme was reflected in the East Room’s shimmering quartz … – WaPo, 11-30-11
  • Military families, first dog showcased in Christmas decorations at White House: First dog Bo is upstaging the Christmas decorations at the White House this holiday season. The Obamas’ Portuguese water dog is in almost every room of the public tour, ranging from a miniature licorice and marshmallow version to a felt … – WaPo, 11-30-11
  • The White House decking the halls: First Lady Michelle Obama showed off the newly-decked halls of the White House on Wednesday to a select group of special guests. Family members of military servicemen and women joined Mrs. Obama and her staff to preview this year’s … – CNN, 11-30-11
  • Holiday decorations unveiled to military families: First dog Bo is upstaging the Christmas decorations at the White House this holiday season. The Obamas’ Portuguese water dog is in almost every room of the public tour, ranging from a miniature licorice and marshmallow version…. – CBS News, 11-30-11
  • Bo stars at showcase of White House holiday decorations: The first family’s pet dog, Bo, starred Wednesday at a preliminary viewing of holiday decorations at the White House for military families. First lady Michelle Obama opened the White House to Gold and Blue Star military families … – MSNBC, 11-30-11
  • Bo is Christmas star in White House decor: Amid the festive sparkle of 37 Christmas trees and a 400-pound gingerbread White House, Michelle Obama honored military families as she unveiled her 2011 holiday decor. The “Shine, Give, Share” theme was reflected in the East Room’s shimmering quartz … – WaPo, 11-30-11
  • White House Christmas decor includes military tribute: “Shine, Give, Share” is the theme for Christmas at the White House, whose doors flung open Wednesday to the first wave of guests given the chance to ogle its fragrant, fanciful holiday finery, including no fewer … – LAT, 11-30-11
  • Michelle Obama hosts military families at holiday unveiling: First dog Bo is upstaging the Christmas decorations at the White House this holiday season. First Lady Michelle Obama welcomes children to begin festivities after welcoming military families who would be the first to view the 2011 White House… – USA Today, 11-30-11
  • Obamas Showcase First Pup Bo for Christmas: “Where’s Waldo” Fans will love the Obama’s Christmas decorations this year. Because in nearly every room, the first family has sneaked in a version of the first pup Bo.
    From a nine-and-a-half-inch depiction made of 318 buttons, a candy Bo made of 12 marshmallows and almost 2,000 pieces of licorice, a black and white Bo made of about 7,000 feet of trash bags and a four-and-a- half-foot tall pup made out of 35 yards of wool felt, it’s obvious Bo is the star of this year’s White House Christmas…. – US News, 11-30-11
  • Christmas At The White House: ‘Where’s Bo?': While the official theme of this year’s White House Christmas is “Shine, Give, Share,” the real star of the Obama’s third holiday season at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is First Dog Bo. “It’s sort of a ‘where’s Bo?’” First Lady Michelle Obama explained at a White House holiday event with military families today. “You’ve got to find the Bo in every room, because he’s hidden everywhere.” … ABC News, 11-30-11
  • Michelle Obama, and Bo, show off White House holiday decor: First lady Michelle Obama and her dog Bo welcomed military families to the White House on Wednesday, the first visitors to see this year’s White House holiday decorations. As usual, the decorations are impressive…. – USA Today, 11-30-11
  • White House Christmas display salutes military: “Shine, Give, Share” is the theme for Christmas at the White House, whose doors flung open Wednesday to the first wave of guests allowed to ogle its fragrant, fanciful holiday finery, including no fewer … – Chicago Tribune, 11-30-11
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