Full Text January 24, 2012: President Barack Obama in 2012 State of the Union Address Transcript

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

President Obama presents his annual address to the nation tonight, and next week he will participate in a completely virtual conversation with the American people on the issues you care about most.

resident Obama delivers his 2012 State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol
President Obama delivers his State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol, White House Photo, Pete Souza

President Obama in the State of the Union

Source: WH, 1-24-12

Read the Transcript  |  Download Video: mp4 (622MB) | mp3 (60MB)

Tonight, as President Obama wrapped up his State of the Union, he said, “As long as we are joined in common purpose, as long as we maintain our common resolve, our journey moves forward, and our future is hopeful, and the state of our Union will always be strong.”

Throughout the speech, he discussed ideas for building an America that lasts. He called it a blueprint for the future and talked about ways to make his vision reality. Learn more about those ideas.

To read the full remarks, go here. Or watch the video.

Remarks by the President in State of the Union Address

United States Capitol
Washington, D.C.

9:10 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans:

Last month, I went to Andrews Air Force Base and welcomed home some of our last troops to serve in Iraq.  Together, we offered a final, proud salute to the colors under which more than a million of our fellow citizens fought — and several thousand gave their lives.

We gather tonight knowing that this generation of heroes has made the United States safer and more respected around the world.  (Applause.)  For the first time in nine years, there are no Americans fighting in Iraq.  (Applause.)  For the first time in two decades, Osama bin Laden is not a threat to this country.  (Applause.)  Most of al Qaeda’s top lieutenants have been defeated.  The Taliban’s momentum has been broken, and some troops in Afghanistan have begun to come home.

These achievements are a testament to the courage, selflessness and teamwork of America’s Armed Forces.  At a time when too many of our institutions have let us down, they exceed all expectations.  They’re not consumed with personal ambition.  They don’t obsess over their differences.  They focus on the mission at hand.  They work together.

Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example.  (Applause.)  Think about the America within our reach:  A country that leads the world in educating its people.  An America that attracts a new generation of high-tech manufacturing and high-paying jobs.  A future where we’re in control of our own energy, and our security and prosperity aren’t so tied to unstable parts of the world.  An economy built to last, where hard work pays off, and responsibility is rewarded.

We can do this.  I know we can, because we’ve done it before.  At the end of World War II, when another generation of heroes returned home from combat, they built the strongest economy and middle class the world has ever known.  (Applause.)  My grandfather, a veteran of Patton’s Army, got the chance to go to college on the GI Bill.  My grandmother, who worked on a bomber assembly line, was part of a workforce that turned out the best products on Earth.

The two of them shared the optimism of a nation that had triumphed over a depression and fascism.  They understood they were part of something larger; that they were contributing to a story of success that every American had a chance to share — the basic American promise that if you worked hard, you could do well enough to raise a family, own a home, send your kids to college, and put a little away for retirement.

The defining issue of our time is how to keep that promise alive.  No challenge is more urgent.  No debate is more important.  We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well while a growing number of Americans barely get by, or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.  (Applause.)  What’s at stake aren’t Democratic values or Republican values, but American values.  And we have to reclaim them.

Let’s remember how we got here.  Long before the recession, jobs and manufacturing began leaving our shores.  Technology made businesses more efficient, but also made some jobs obsolete.  Folks at the top saw their incomes rise like never before, but most hardworking Americans struggled with costs that were growing, paychecks that weren’t, and personal debt that kept piling up.

In 2008, the house of cards collapsed.  We learned that mortgages had been sold to people who couldn’t afford or understand them.  Banks had made huge bets and bonuses with other people’s money.  Regulators had looked the other way, or didn’t have the authority to stop the bad behavior.

It was wrong.  It was irresponsible.  And it plunged our economy into a crisis that put millions out of work, saddled us with more debt, and left innocent, hardworking Americans holding the bag.  In the six months before I took office, we lost nearly 4 million jobs.  And we lost another 4 million before our policies were in full effect.

Those are the facts.  But so are these:  In the last 22 months, businesses have created more than 3 million jobs.  (Applause.)

Last year, they created the most jobs since 2005.  American manufacturers are hiring again, creating jobs for the first time since the late 1990s.  Together, we’ve agreed to cut the deficit by more than $2 trillion.  And we’ve put in place new rules to hold Wall Street accountable, so a crisis like this never happens again.  (Applause.)

The state of our Union is getting stronger.  And we’ve come too far to turn back now.  As long as I’m President, I will work with anyone in this chamber to build on this momentum.  But I intend to fight obstruction with action, and I will oppose any effort to return to the very same policies that brought on this economic crisis in the first place.  (Applause.)

No, we will not go back to an economy weakened by outsourcing, bad debt, and phony financial profits.  Tonight, I want to speak about how we move forward, and lay out a blueprint for an economy that’s built to last -– an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers, and a renewal of American values.

Now, this blueprint begins with American manufacturing.

On the day I took office, our auto industry was on the verge of collapse.  Some even said we should let it die.  With a million jobs at stake, I refused to let that happen.  In exchange for help, we demanded responsibility.  We got workers and automakers to settle their differences.  We got the industry to retool and restructure.  Today, General Motors is back on top as the world’s number-one automaker.  (Applause.)  Chrysler has grown faster in the U.S. than any major car company.  Ford is investing billions in U.S. plants and factories.  And together, the entire industry added nearly 160,000 jobs.

We bet on American workers.  We bet on American ingenuity.  And tonight, the American auto industry is back.  (Applause.)

What’s happening in Detroit can happen in other industries.  It can happen in Cleveland and Pittsburgh and Raleigh.  We can’t bring every job back that’s left our shore.  But right now, it’s getting more expensive to do business in places like China.  Meanwhile, America is more productive.  A few weeks ago, the CEO of Master Lock told me that it now makes business sense for him to bring jobs back home.  (Applause.)  Today, for the first time in 15 years, Master Lock’s unionized plant in Milwaukee is running at full capacity.  (Applause.)

So we have a huge opportunity, at this moment, to bring manufacturing back.  But we have to seize it.  Tonight, my message to business leaders is simple:  Ask yourselves what you can do to bring jobs back to your country, and your country will do everything we can to help you succeed.  (Applause.)

We should start with our tax code.  Right now, companies get tax breaks for moving jobs and profits overseas.  Meanwhile, companies that choose to stay in America get hit with one of the highest tax rates in the world.  It makes no sense, and everyone knows it.  So let’s change it.

First, if you’re a business that wants to outsource jobs, you shouldn’t get a tax deduction for doing it.  (Applause.)  That money should be used to cover moving expenses for companies like Master Lock that decide to bring jobs home.  (Applause.)

Second, no American company should be able to avoid paying its fair share of taxes by moving jobs and profits overseas.  (Applause.)  From now on, every multinational company should have to pay a basic minimum tax.  And every penny should go towards lowering taxes for companies that choose to stay here and hire here in America.  (Applause.)

Third, if you’re an American manufacturer, you should get a bigger tax cut.  If you’re a high-tech manufacturer, we should double the tax deduction you get for making your products here.  And if you want to relocate in a community that was hit hard when a factory left town, you should get help financing a new plant, equipment, or training for new workers.  (Applause.)

So my message is simple.  It is time to stop rewarding businesses that ship jobs overseas, and start rewarding companies that create jobs right here in America.  Send me these tax reforms, and I will sign them right away.  (Applause.)

We’re also making it easier for American businesses to sell products all over the world.  Two years ago, I set a goal of doubling U.S. exports over five years.  With the bipartisan trade agreements we signed into law, we’re on track to meet that goal ahead of schedule.  (Applause.)  And soon, there will be millions of new customers for American goods in Panama, Colombia, and South Korea.  Soon, there will be new cars on the streets of Seoul imported from Detroit, and Toledo, and Chicago.  (Applause.)

I will go anywhere in the world to open new markets for American products.  And I will not stand by when our competitors don’t play by the rules.  We’ve brought trade cases against China at nearly twice the rate as the last administration –- and it’s made a difference.  (Applause.)  Over a thousand Americans are working today because we stopped a surge in Chinese tires.  But we need to do more.  It’s not right when another country lets our movies, music, and software be pirated.  It’s not fair when foreign manufacturers have a leg up on ours only because they’re heavily subsidized.

Tonight, I’m announcing the creation of a Trade Enforcement Unit that will be charged with investigating unfair trading practices in countries like China.  (Applause.)  There will be more inspections to prevent counterfeit or unsafe goods from crossing our borders.  And this Congress should make sure that no foreign company has an advantage over American manufacturing when it comes to accessing financing or new markets like Russia.  Our workers are the most productive on Earth, and if the playing field is level, I promise you -– America will always win.  (Applause.)

I also hear from many business leaders who want to hire in the United States but can’t find workers with the right skills.  Growing industries in science and technology have twice as many openings as we have workers who can do the job.  Think about that –- openings at a time when millions of Americans are looking for work.  It’s inexcusable.  And we know how to fix it.

Jackie Bray is a single mom from North Carolina who was laid off from her job as a mechanic.  Then Siemens opened a gas turbine factory in Charlotte, and formed a partnership with Central Piedmont Community College.  The company helped the college design courses in laser and robotics training.  It paid Jackie’s tuition, then hired her to help operate their plant.

I want every American looking for work to have the same opportunity as Jackie did.  Join me in a national commitment to train 2 million Americans with skills that will lead directly to a job.  (Applause.)  My administration has already lined up more companies that want to help.  Model partnerships between businesses like Siemens and community colleges in places like Charlotte, and Orlando, and Louisville are up and running.  Now you need to give more community colleges the resources they need to become community career centers -– places that teach people skills that businesses are looking for right now, from data management to high-tech manufacturing.

And I want to cut through the maze of confusing training programs, so that from now on, people like Jackie have one program, one website, and one place to go for all the information and help that they need.  It is time to turn our unemployment system into a reemployment system that puts people to work.  (Applause.)

These reforms will help people get jobs that are open today.  But to prepare for the jobs of tomorrow, our commitment to skills and education has to start earlier.

For less than 1 percent of what our nation spends on education each year, we’ve convinced nearly every state in the country to raise their standards for teaching and learning — the first time that’s happened in a generation.

But challenges remain.  And we know how to solve them.

At a time when other countries are doubling down on education, tight budgets have forced states to lay off thousands of teachers.  We know a good teacher can increase the lifetime income of a classroom by over $250,000.  A great teacher can offer an escape from poverty to the child who dreams beyond his circumstance.  Every person in this chamber can point to a teacher who changed the trajectory of their lives.  Most teachers work tirelessly, with modest pay, sometimes digging into their own pocket for school supplies — just to make a difference.

Teachers matter.  So instead of bashing them, or defending the status quo, let’s offer schools a deal.  Give them the resources to keep good teachers on the job, and reward the best ones.  (Applause.)  And in return, grant schools flexibility:  to teach with creativity and passion; to stop teaching to the test; and to replace teachers who just aren’t helping kids learn.  That’s a bargain worth making.  (Applause.)

We also know that when students don’t walk away from their education, more of them walk the stage to get their diploma.  When students are not allowed to drop out, they do better.  So tonight, I am proposing that every state — every state — requires that all students stay in high school until they graduate or turn 18.  (Applause.)

When kids do graduate, the most daunting challenge can be the cost of college.  At a time when Americans owe more in tuition debt than credit card debt, this Congress needs to stop the interest rates on student loans from doubling in July.  (Applause.)

Extend the tuition tax credit we started that saves millions of middle-class families thousands of dollars, and give more young people the chance to earn their way through college by doubling the number of work-study jobs in the next five years.  (Applause.)

Of course, it’s not enough for us to increase student aid.  We can’t just keep subsidizing skyrocketing tuition; we’ll run out of money.  States also need to do their part, by making higher education a higher priority in their budgets.  And colleges and universities have to do their part by working to keep costs down.

Recently, I spoke with a group of college presidents who’ve done just that.  Some schools redesign courses to help students finish more quickly.  Some use better technology.  The point is, it’s possible.  So let me put colleges and universities on notice:  If you can’t stop tuition from going up, the funding you get from taxpayers will go down.  (Applause.)  Higher education can’t be a luxury -– it is an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford.

Let’s also remember that hundreds of thousands of talented, hardworking students in this country face another challenge:  the fact that they aren’t yet American citizens.  Many were brought here as small children, are American through and through, yet they live every day with the threat of deportation.  Others came more recently, to study business and science and engineering, but as soon as they get their degree, we send them home to invent new products and create new jobs somewhere else.

That doesn’t make sense.

I believe as strongly as ever that we should take on illegal immigration.  That’s why my administration has put more boots on the border than ever before.  That’s why there are fewer illegal crossings than when I took office.  The opponents of action are out of excuses.  We should be working on comprehensive immigration reform right now.  (Applause.)

But if election-year politics keeps Congress from acting on a comprehensive plan, let’s at least agree to stop expelling responsible young people who want to staff our labs, start new businesses, defend this country.  Send me a law that gives them the chance to earn their citizenship.  I will sign it right away.  (Applause.)

You see, an economy built to last is one where we encourage the talent and ingenuity of every person in this country.  That means women should earn equal pay for equal work.  (Applause.)  It means we should support everyone who’s willing to work, and every risk-taker and entrepreneur who aspires to become the next Steve Jobs.

After all, innovation is what America has always been about.  Most new jobs are created in start-ups and small businesses.  So let’s pass an agenda that helps them succeed.  Tear down regulations that prevent aspiring entrepreneurs from getting the financing to grow.  (Applause.)  Expand tax relief to small businesses that are raising wages and creating good jobs.  Both parties agree on these ideas.  So put them in a bill, and get it on my desk this year.  (Applause.)

Innovation also demands basic research.  Today, the discoveries taking place in our federally financed labs and universities could lead to new treatments that kill cancer cells but leave healthy ones untouched.  New lightweight vests for cops and soldiers that can stop any bullet.  Don’t gut these investments in our budget.  Don’t let other countries win the race for the future.  Support the same kind of research and innovation that led to the computer chip and the Internet; to new American jobs and new American industries.

And nowhere is the promise of innovation greater than in American-made energy.  Over the last three years, we’ve opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration, and tonight, I’m directing my administration to open more than 75 percent of our potential offshore oil and gas resources.  (Applause.)  Right now — right now — American oil production is the highest that it’s been in eight years.  That’s right — eight years.  Not only that — last year, we relied less on foreign oil than in any of the past 16 years.  (Applause.)

But with only 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves, oil isn’t enough.  This country needs an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy.  (Applause.)  A strategy that’s cleaner, cheaper, and full of new jobs.

We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years.  (Applause.)  And my administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy.  Experts believe this will support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade.  And I’m requiring all companies that drill for gas on public lands to disclose the chemicals they use.  (Applause.)  Because America will develop this resource without putting the health and safety of our citizens at risk.

The development of natural gas will create jobs and power trucks and factories that are cleaner and cheaper, proving that we don’t have to choose between our environment and our economy.  (Applause.)  And by the way, it was public research dollars, over the course of 30 years, that helped develop the technologies to extract all this natural gas out of shale rock –- reminding us that government support is critical in helping businesses get new energy ideas off the ground.  (Applause.)

Now, what’s true for natural gas is just as true for clean energy.  In three years, our partnership with the private sector has already positioned America to be the world’s leading manufacturer of high-tech batteries.  Because of federal investments, renewable energy use has nearly doubled, and thousands of Americans have jobs because of it.

When Bryan Ritterby was laid off from his job making furniture, he said he worried that at 55, no one would give him a second chance.  But he found work at Energetx, a wind turbine manufacturer in Michigan.  Before the recession, the factory only made luxury yachts.  Today, it’s hiring workers like Bryan, who said, “I’m proud to be working in the industry of the future.”

Our experience with shale gas, our experience with natural gas, shows us that the payoffs on these public investments don’t always come right away.  Some technologies don’t pan out; some companies fail.  But I will not walk away from the promise of clean energy.  I will not walk away from workers like Bryan.  (Applause.)  I will not cede the wind or solar or battery industry to China or Germany because we refuse to make the same commitment here.

We’ve subsidized oil companies for a century.  That’s long enough.  (Applause.)  It’s time to end the taxpayer giveaways to an industry that rarely has been more profitable, and double-down on a clean energy industry that never has been more promising.  Pass clean energy tax credits.  Create these jobs.  (Applause.)

We can also spur energy innovation with new incentives.  The differences in this chamber may be too deep right now to pass a comprehensive plan to fight climate change.  But there’s no reason why Congress shouldn’t at least set a clean energy standard that creates a market for innovation.  So far, you haven’t acted.  Well, tonight, I will.  I’m directing my administration to allow the development of clean energy on enough public land to power 3 million homes.  And I’m proud to announce that the Department of Defense, working with us, the world’s largest consumer of energy, will make one of the largest commitments to clean energy in history -– with the Navy purchasing enough capacity to power a quarter of a million homes a year.  (Applause.)

Of course, the easiest way to save money is to waste less energy.  So here’s a proposal:  Help manufacturers eliminate energy waste in their factories and give businesses incentives to upgrade their buildings.  Their energy bills will be $100 billion lower over the next decade, and America will have less pollution, more manufacturing, more jobs for construction workers who need them.  Send me a bill that creates these jobs.  (Applause.)

Building this new energy future should be just one part of a broader agenda to repair America’s infrastructure.  So much of America needs to be rebuilt.  We’ve got crumbling roads and bridges; a power grid that wastes too much energy; an incomplete high-speed broadband network that prevents a small business owner in rural America from selling her products all over the world.

During the Great Depression, America built the Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge.  After World War II, we connected our states with a system of highways.  Democratic and Republican administrations invested in great projects that benefited everybody, from the workers who built them to the businesses that still use them today.

In the next few weeks, I will sign an executive order clearing away the red tape that slows down too many construction projects.  But you need to fund these projects.  Take the money we’re no longer spending at war, use half of it to pay down our debt, and use the rest to do some nation-building right here at home.  (Applause.)

There’s never been a better time to build, especially since the construction industry was one of the hardest hit when the housing bubble burst.  Of course, construction workers weren’t the only ones who were hurt.  So were millions of innocent Americans who’ve seen their home values decline.  And while government can’t fix the problem on its own, responsible homeowners shouldn’t have to sit and wait for the housing market to hit bottom to get some relief.

And that’s why I’m sending this Congress a plan that gives every responsible homeowner the chance to save about $3,000 a year on their mortgage, by refinancing at historically low rates.  (Applause.)  No more red tape.  No more runaround from the banks.  A small fee on the largest financial institutions will ensure that it won’t add to the deficit and will give those banks that were rescued by taxpayers a chance to repay a deficit of trust.  (Applause.)

Let’s never forget:  Millions of Americans who work hard and play by the rules every day deserve a government and a financial system that do the same.  It’s time to apply the same rules from top to bottom.  No bailouts, no handouts, and no copouts.  An America built to last insists on responsibility from everybody.

We’ve all paid the price for lenders who sold mortgages to people who couldn’t afford them, and buyers who knew they couldn’t afford them.  That’s why we need smart regulations to prevent irresponsible behavior.  (Applause.)  Rules to prevent financial fraud or toxic dumping or faulty medical devices — these don’t destroy the free market.  They make the free market work better.

There’s no question that some regulations are outdated, unnecessary, or too costly.  In fact, I’ve approved fewer regulations in the first three years of my presidency than my Republican predecessor did in his.  (Applause.)  I’ve ordered every federal agency to eliminate rules that don’t make sense.  We’ve already announced over 500 reforms, and just a fraction of them will save business and citizens more than $10 billion over the next five years.  We got rid of one rule from 40 years ago that could have forced some dairy farmers to spend $10,000 a year proving that they could contain a spill — because milk was somehow classified as an oil.  With a rule like that, I guess it was worth crying over spilled milk.  (Laughter and applause.)

Now, I’m confident a farmer can contain a milk spill without a federal agency looking over his shoulder.  (Applause.)  Absolutely.  But I will not back down from making sure an oil company can contain the kind of oil spill we saw in the Gulf two years ago.  (Applause.)  I will not back down from protecting our kids from mercury poisoning, or making sure that our food is safe and our water is clean.  I will not go back to the days when health insurance companies had unchecked power to cancel your policy, deny your coverage, or charge women differently than men.  (Applause.)

And I will not go back to the days when Wall Street was allowed to play by its own set of rules.  The new rules we passed restore what should be any financial system’s core purpose:  Getting funding to entrepreneurs with the best ideas, and getting loans to responsible families who want to buy a home, or start a business, or send their kids to college.

So if you are a big bank or financial institution, you’re no longer allowed to make risky bets with your customers’ deposits.  You’re required to write out a “living will” that details exactly how you’ll pay the bills if you fail –- because the rest of us are not bailing you out ever again.  (Applause.)  And if you’re a mortgage lender or a payday lender or a credit card company, the days of signing people up for products they can’t afford with confusing forms and deceptive practices — those days are over.  Today, American consumers finally have a watchdog in Richard Cordray with one job:  To look out for them.  (Applause.)

We’ll also establish a Financial Crimes Unit of highly trained investigators to crack down on large-scale fraud and protect people’s investments.  Some financial firms violate major anti-fraud laws because there’s no real penalty for being a repeat offender.  That’s bad for consumers, and it’s bad for the vast majority of bankers and financial service professionals who do the right thing.  So pass legislation that makes the penalties for fraud count.

And tonight, I’m asking my Attorney General to create a special unit of federal prosecutors and leading state attorney general to expand our investigations into the abusive lending and packaging of risky mortgages that led to the housing crisis.  (Applause.)  This new unit will hold accountable those who broke the law, speed assistance to homeowners, and help turn the page on an era of recklessness that hurt so many Americans.

Now, a return to the American values of fair play and shared responsibility will help protect our people and our economy.  But it should also guide us as we look to pay down our debt and invest in our future.

Right now, our most immediate priority is stopping a tax hike on 160 million working Americans while the recovery is still fragile.  (Applause.)  People cannot afford losing $40 out of each paycheck this year.  There are plenty of ways to get this done.  So let’s agree right here, right now:  No side issues.  No drama.  Pass the payroll tax cut without delay.  Let’s get it done.  (Applause.)

When it comes to the deficit, we’ve already agreed to more than $2 trillion in cuts and savings.  But we need to do more, and that means making choices.  Right now, we’re poised to spend nearly $1 trillion more on what was supposed to be a temporary tax break for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans.  Right now, because of loopholes and shelters in the tax code, a quarter of all millionaires pay lower tax rates than millions of middle-class households.  Right now, Warren Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary.

Do we want to keep these tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans?  Or do we want to keep our investments in everything else –- like education and medical research; a strong military and care for our veterans?  Because if we’re serious about paying down our debt, we can’t do both.

The American people know what the right choice is.  So do I.  As I told the Speaker this summer, I’m prepared to make more reforms that rein in the long-term costs of Medicare and Medicaid, and strengthen Social Security, so long as those programs remain a guarantee of security for seniors.

But in return, we need to change our tax code so that people like me, and an awful lot of members of Congress, pay our fair share of taxes.  (Applause.)

Tax reform should follow the Buffett Rule.  If you make more than $1 million a year, you should not pay less than 30 percent in taxes.  And my Republican friend Tom Coburn is right:  Washington should stop subsidizing millionaires.  In fact, if you’re earning a million dollars a year, you shouldn’t get special tax subsidies or deductions.  On the other hand, if you make under $250,000 a year, like 98 percent of American families, your taxes shouldn’t go up.  (Applause.)  You’re the ones struggling with rising costs and stagnant wages.  You’re the ones who need relief.

Now, you can call this class warfare all you want.  But asking a billionaire to pay at least as much as his secretary in taxes?  Most Americans would call that common sense.

We don’t begrudge financial success in this country.  We admire it.  When Americans talk about folks like me paying my fair share of taxes, it’s not because they envy the rich.  It’s because they understand that when I get a tax break I don’t need and the country can’t afford, it either adds to the deficit, or somebody else has to make up the difference — like a senior on a fixed income, or a student trying to get through school, or a family trying to make ends meet.  That’s not right.  Americans know that’s not right.  They know that this generation’s success is only possible because past generations felt a responsibility to each other, and to the future of their country, and they know our way of life will only endure if we feel that same sense of shared responsibility.  That’s how we’ll reduce our deficit.  That’s an America built to last.  (Applause.)

Now, I recognize that people watching tonight have differing views about taxes and debt, energy and health care.  But no matter what party they belong to, I bet most Americans are thinking the same thing right about now:  Nothing will get done in Washington this year, or next year, or maybe even the year after that, because Washington is broken.

Can you blame them for feeling a little cynical?

The greatest blow to our confidence in our economy last year didn’t come from events beyond our control.  It came from a debate in Washington over whether the United States would pay its bills or not.  Who benefited from that fiasco?

I’ve talked tonight about the deficit of trust between Main Street and Wall Street.  But the divide between this city and the rest of the country is at least as bad — and it seems to get worse every year.

Some of this has to do with the corrosive influence of money in politics.  So together, let’s take some steps to fix that.  Send me a bill that bans insider trading by members of Congress; I will sign it tomorrow.  (Applause.)  Let’s limit any elected official from owning stocks in industries they impact.  Let’s make sure people who bundle campaign contributions for Congress can’t lobby Congress, and vice versa — an idea that has bipartisan support, at least outside of Washington.

Some of what’s broken has to do with the way Congress does its business these days.  A simple majority is no longer enough to get anything -– even routine business –- passed through the Senate.  (Applause.)  Neither party has been blameless in these tactics.  Now both parties should put an end to it.  (Applause.)  For starters, I ask the Senate to pass a simple rule that all judicial and public service nominations receive a simple up or down vote within 90 days.  (Applause.)

The executive branch also needs to change.  Too often, it’s inefficient, outdated and remote.  (Applause.)  That’s why I’ve asked this Congress to grant me the authority to consolidate the federal bureaucracy, so that our government is leaner, quicker, and more responsive to the needs of the American people.  (Applause.)

Finally, none of this can happen unless we also lower the temperature in this town.  We need to end the notion that the two parties must be locked in a perpetual campaign of mutual destruction; that politics is about clinging to rigid ideologies instead of building consensus around common-sense ideas.

I’m a Democrat.  But I believe what Republican Abraham Lincoln believed:  That government should do for people only what they cannot do better by themselves, and no more.  (Applause.)  That’s why my education reform offers more competition, and more control for schools and states.  That’s why we’re getting rid of regulations that don’t work.  That’s why our health care law relies on a reformed private market, not a government program.

On the other hand, even my Republican friends who complain the most about government spending have supported federally financed roads, and clean energy projects, and federal offices for the folks back home.

The point is, we should all want a smarter, more effective government.  And while we may not be able to bridge our biggest philosophical differences this year, we can make real progress.  With or without this Congress, I will keep taking actions that help the economy grow.  But I can do a whole lot more with your help.  Because when we act together, there’s nothing the United States of America can’t achieve.  (Applause.)  That’s the lesson we’ve learned from our actions abroad over the last few years.

Ending the Iraq war has allowed us to strike decisive blows against our enemies.  From Pakistan to Yemen, the al Qaeda operatives who remain are scrambling, knowing that they can’t escape the reach of the United States of America.  (Applause.)

From this position of strength, we’ve begun to wind down the war in Afghanistan.  Ten thousand of our troops have come home.  Twenty-three thousand more will leave by the end of this summer.  This transition to Afghan lead will continue, and we will build an enduring partnership with Afghanistan, so that it is never again a source of attacks against America.  (Applause.)

As the tide of war recedes, a wave of change has washed across the Middle East and North Africa, from Tunis to Cairo; from Sana’a to Tripoli.  A year ago, Qaddafi was one of the world’s longest-serving dictators -– a murderer with American blood on his hands.  Today, he is gone.  And in Syria, I have no doubt that the Assad regime will soon discover that the forces of change cannot be reversed, and that human dignity cannot be denied.  (Applause.)

How this incredible transformation will end remains uncertain.  But we have a huge stake in the outcome.  And while it’s ultimately up to the people of the region to decide their fate, we will advocate for those values that have served our own country so well.  We will stand against violence and intimidation.  We will stand for the rights and dignity of all human beings –- men and women; Christians, Muslims and Jews.  We will support policies that lead to strong and stable democracies and open markets, because tyranny is no match for liberty.

And we will safeguard America’s own security against those who threaten our citizens, our friends, and our interests.  Look at Iran.  Through the power of our diplomacy, a world that was once divided about how to deal with Iran’s nuclear program now stands as one.  The regime is more isolated than ever before; its leaders are faced with crippling sanctions, and as long as they shirk their responsibilities, this pressure will not relent.

Let there be no doubt:  America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal.  (Applause.)

But a peaceful resolution of this issue is still possible, and far better, and if Iran changes course and meets its obligations, it can rejoin the community of nations.

The renewal of American leadership can be felt across the globe.  Our oldest alliances in Europe and Asia are stronger than ever.  Our ties to the Americas are deeper.  Our ironclad commitment — and I mean ironclad — to Israel’s security has meant the closest military cooperation between our two countries in history.  (Applause.)

We’ve made it clear that America is a Pacific power, and a new beginning in Burma has lit a new hope.  From the coalitions we’ve built to secure nuclear materials, to the missions we’ve led against hunger and disease; from the blows we’ve dealt to our enemies, to the enduring power of our moral example, America is back.

Anyone who tells you otherwise, anyone who tells you that America is in decline or that our influence has waned, doesn’t know what they’re talking about.  (Applause.)

That’s not the message we get from leaders around the world who are eager to work with us.  That’s not how people feel from Tokyo to Berlin, from Cape Town to Rio, where opinions of America are higher than they’ve been in years.  Yes, the world is changing.  No, we can’t control every event.  But America remains the one indispensable nation in world affairs –- and as long as I’m President, I intend to keep it that way.  (Applause.)

That’s why, working with our military leaders, I’ve proposed a new defense strategy that ensures we maintain the finest military in the world, while saving nearly half a trillion dollars in our budget.  To stay one step ahead of our adversaries, I’ve already sent this Congress legislation that will secure our country from the growing dangers of cyber-threats.  (Applause.)

Above all, our freedom endures because of the men and women in uniform who defend it.  (Applause.)  As they come home, we must serve them as well as they’ve served us.  That includes giving them the care and the benefits they have earned –- which is why we’ve increased annual VA spending every year I’ve been President.  (Applause.)  And it means enlisting our veterans in the work of rebuilding our nation.

With the bipartisan support of this Congress, we’re providing new tax credits to companies that hire vets.  Michelle and Jill Biden have worked with American businesses to secure a pledge of 135,000 jobs for veterans and their families.  And tonight, I’m proposing a Veterans Jobs Corps that will help our communities hire veterans as cops and firefighters, so that America is as strong as those who defend her.  (Applause.)

Which brings me back to where I began.  Those of us who’ve been sent here to serve can learn a thing or two from the service of our troops.  When you put on that uniform, it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white; Asian, Latino, Native American; conservative, liberal; rich, poor; gay, straight.  When you’re marching into battle, you look out for the person next to you, or the mission fails.  When you’re in the thick of the fight, you rise or fall as one unit, serving one nation, leaving no one behind.

One of my proudest possessions is the flag that the SEAL Team took with them on the mission to get bin Laden.  On it are each of their names.  Some may be Democrats.  Some may be Republicans.  But that doesn’t matter.  Just like it didn’t matter that day in the Situation Room, when I sat next to Bob Gates — a man who was George Bush’s defense secretary — and Hillary Clinton — a woman who ran against me for president.

All that mattered that day was the mission.  No one thought about politics.  No one thought about themselves.  One of the young men involved in the raid later told me that he didn’t deserve credit for the mission.  It only succeeded, he said, because every single member of that unit did their job — the pilot who landed the helicopter that spun out of control; the translator who kept others from entering the compound; the troops who separated the women and children from the fight; the SEALs who charged up the stairs.  More than that, the mission only succeeded because every member of that unit trusted each other — because you can’t charge up those stairs, into darkness and danger, unless you know that there’s somebody behind you, watching your back.

So it is with America.  Each time I look at that flag, I’m reminded that our destiny is stitched together like those 50 stars and those 13 stripes.  No one built this country on their own.  This nation is great because we built it together.  This nation is great because we worked as a team.  This nation is great because we get each other’s backs.  And if we hold fast to that truth, in this moment of trial, there is no challenge too great; no mission too hard.  As long as we are joined in common purpose, as long as we maintain our common resolve, our journey moves forward, and our future is hopeful, and the state of our Union will always be strong.

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

END
10:16 P.M. EST

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White House Recap December 31, 2011 – January 6, 2012: The Obama Presidency’s Weekly Recap — President Obama Appoints Richard Cordray Head of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

WHITE HOUSE RECAP

WHITE HOUSE RECAP: DECEMBER 31, 2011-JANUARY 6, 2012

The President appointed Richard Cordray to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, spoke on a comprehensive review of our defense strategy, and the White House staff shared its New Year’s resolutions.

West Wing Week

 

Weekly Wrap Up: Protecting Consumers

Source: WH, 1-6-12

Consumer Watchdog: After appointing Richard Cordray to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau earlier this week, the President traveled to Shaker Heights, Ohio to talk about his decision— and the fight to help secure a better future for the middle class. The CFPB is in place to ensure  the integrity of the financial system and protect all American consumers from fraud and unfair play. The President said: “See, most people in the financial services industry do the right thing, but they’re at a disadvantage if nobody is enforcing the rules. We can’t let that happen. Now is not the time to play politics while people’s livelihoods are at stake. Now is the time to do everything we can to protect consumers, prevent financial crises like the one that we’ve been through from ever happening again. That starts with letting Richard do his job.”

Jobs for Youth: ‘We Can’t Wait’ to help young Americans find jobs. The President announced Summer Jobs+, a new initiative that will create internship and job opportunities for America’s young people. It calls for businesses, non-profits and government to work together to provide pathways to employment for low-income and disconnected youth in the summer of 2012.  Employers are still signing on to commit jobs to the Summer Jobs+ Bank, a one-stop search tool for youth to access postings from participating employers that is targeted to launch in 60 days.

Military Strategy: The President spoke at the Pentagon Thursday to outline a new global military strategy— moving away from the expansive wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and toward a different posture that emphasizes a new focus for the future. He also reminded us of our duty here at home – to ensure that our troops returning from war receive the care and benefits they deserve. He Said: “We’re also going to keep faith with those who serve, by making sure our troops have the equipment and capabilities they need to succeed, and by prioritizing efforts that focus on wounded warriors, mental health and the well-being of our military families. And as our newest veterans rejoin civilian life, we’ll keep working to give our veterans the care, the benefits and job opportunities that they deserve and that they have earned.”

Year in Photos: From his trip to Ireland to Sasha Obama’s basketball game, the White House photographers have captured it all.  Don’t miss some of the most memorable moments from 2011. Check out the slideshow.

Campaign Buzz January 4, 2012: Senator & 2008 GOP Presidential Nominee John McCain Endorses Mitt Romney for 2012 GOP Republican Presidential Nomination

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

Richard Perry/The New York Times

Senator John McCain endorsed Mitt Romney in Manchester, N.H. on Wednesday. More Photos »

IN FOCUS: JOHN MCCAIN ENDORSES MITT ROMNEY FOR 2012 GOP PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION

McCain endorses Romney for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination: Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the 2008 GOP presidential nominee, endorsed former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney for the 2012 Republican nomination in New Hampshire on Wednesday.
“It’s with some nostalgia that I return to this place that I love so well, but I am really here for one reason and one reason only and that is to make sure that we make Mitt Romney the next president of the United States of America,” said McCain, who won the New Hampshire primary in 2000 and 2008. “And New Hampshire is the state that will catapult him to victory in a very short period of time.”

  • John McCain to endorse Mitt Romney in New Hampshire: John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee in 2008 and a two-time winner of the New Hampshire primary, plans to endorse Mitt Romney today in the nation’s first primary state, sources close to the Arizona … – LAT, 1-4-12
  • GOP official: John McCain to endorse Mitt Romney for Republican presidential nomination: A Republican official says that 2008 GOP nominee John McCain is endorsing Mitt Romney for the party’s 2012 nomination. The official was not authorized to speak publicly about the endorsement and requested anonymity to discuss it. … – WaPo, 1-4-12
  • McCain Expected to Endorse Romney in New Hampshire: Senator John McCain of Arizona is expected to endorse Mitt Romney on Wednesday in New Hampshire, giving the former Massachusetts governor a boost at a critical moment in the campaign…. – NYT, 1-4-12
  • Santorum says ‘moderate’ McCain’s endorsement of Romney not a surprise: In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer early Wednesday morning, former senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) said he has “nothing but respect” for Sen. John McCain and congratulated former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R) on winning … – WaPo, 1-4-12
  • McCain to Endorse Romney: Sen. John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, will endorse Mitt Romney for the party’s 2012 nomination, a GOP official said. Mr. McCain’s endorsement is scheduled to be announced Wednesday, the official said. … – AP, WSJ, 1-4-12
  • McCain to endorse Romney in NH: Arizona Sen. John McCain is expected to endorse Mitt Romney on Wednesday according to reports. McCain, the GOP’s 2008 presidential nominee will travel to New Hampshire to endorse Romney… – The Hill, 1-4-12

Campaign Buzz October 5, 2011: Sarah Palin Announces Decision Not to Run for President & Republican Presidential Nomination in 2012 Election

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.

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin speaks to Tea Party members on Sept. 3 in Indianola, Iowa. | AP Photo

IN FOCUS: SARAH PALIN ANNOUNCES SHE WILL NOT BE RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT IN 2012

Sarah Palin reportedly says she won’t run for president in 2012: Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin said in a statement on Wednesday that she will not seek the GOP nomination for president in 2012, according to media reports.

“After much prayer and serious consideration, I have decided that I will not be seeking the 2012 GOP nomination for President of the United States. As always, my family comes first and obviously Todd and I put great consideration into family life before making this decision. When we serve, we devote ourselves to God, family and country. My decision maintains this order.” — Sarah Palin Statement

Full Text Campaign Buzz October 5, 2011: Sarah Palin’s Statement on Decision to Not Run for President & Republican Presidential Nomination in 2012 Election (Transcript) — History Musings

  • Palin Says She’s Not Running: Sarah Palin tells a radio host that she can be more active in trying to oust President Obama if she is not a candidate…. – NYT, 10-5-11
  • Sarah Palin says she will not run for president: Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said Wednesday she will not run for president, leaving little doubt that the eventual Republican nominee will come from the current field of contenders.
    After months of leaving her fans guessing, Palin said in a statement that she and her husband Todd “devote ourselves to God, family and country.” She said her decision maintains that order.
    Palin sent the statement to supporters. She told conservative radio host Mark Levin that she would not consider a third party candidacy because it would assure President Barack Obama’s reelection.
    In a video posted on Youtube, Palin said, “you don’t need an office or a title to make a difference.”… – AP, 10-5-11
  • Palin won’t run for president: In a letter to supporters, the 2008 vice presidential nominee took herself out of the running for the Republican nomination. Instead, Palin said she can be more effective helping other Republicans win office as governors…. – USA Today, 10-5-11
  • Palin Decides Against 2012 Run: Sarah Palin said she won’t seek the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, ending a lengthy and attention-grabbing political flirtation that kept voters and potential rivals guessing…. – Bloomberg, 10-5-11
  • Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin says she will not run for president, won’t run for President: Palin said in a statement Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011, that she is not running for president … – WaPo, 10-5-11
  • Sarah Palin says she will not run for president: Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said Wednesday she will not run for president, leaving little doubt that the eventual Republican nominee will come from the current field of contenders. … – Forbes, 10-5-11
  • Palin Opts Against 2012 Presidential Run: Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin announced Wednesday that she won’t enter the 2012 presidential race, making it all but certain that the current crop of GOP candidates has been set.
    In a letter to her supporters, the 2008 vice presidential nominee and Fox News contributor said her decision was based on a “review of what common sense conservatives and independents have accomplished, especially over the last year.”
    “I believe that at this time I can be more effective in a decisive role to help elect other true public servants to office — from the nation’s governors to congressional seats and the presidency,” she said.
    “I will continue driving the discussion for freedom and free markets, including in the race for president where our candidates must embrace immediate action toward energy independence through domestic resource developments of conventional energy sources, along with renewables,” she said.
    “We must reduce tax burdens and onerous regulations that kill American industry, and our candidates must always push to minimize government to strengthen and allow the private sector to create jobs.”…. – Fox News, 10-5-11
  • Sarah Palin 2012 decision: Not running: Sarah Palin will not seek the Republican nomination for president. The former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee announced the news to conservative radio talk show host Mark Levin and in a letter to supporters Wednesday evening.
    “I have decided that I will not be seeking the 2012 GOP nomination for President of the United States,” she wrote. “As always, my family comes first and obviously Todd and I put great consideration into family life before making this decision. When we serve, we devote ourselves to God, family and country. My decision maintains this order.”
    Asked if she will support the GOP nominee, Palin told Levin: “I have confidence in that. I look forward to supporting our nominee. . The right candidate will be elevated that will be our nominee. We’ll be able to get behind that person and make sure that Barack Obama is replaced.”…. – Politico, 10-5-11
  • Sarah Palin not running for president: Sarah Palin announced Wednesday evening that she is not going to run for president in 2012. The candidate, who inspired months of speculation regarding a possible presidential bid, announced her decision in an interview Wednesday with conservative radio host Mark Levin.
    Levin read a statement from Palin announcing the decision before speaking to the former vice presidential nominee on his show.
    In the statement, Palin cited family considerations and said she thought she could be more effective in helping others get elected…. – CBS News, 10-5-11

Full Text Campaign Buzz October 5, 2011: Sarah Palin’s Statement on Decision to Not Run for President & Republican Presidential Nomination in 2012 Election (Transcript)

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Sarah Palin’s Statement on 2012 Decision

October 5, 2011

Wasilla, Alaska

After much prayer and serious consideration, I have decided that I will not be seeking the 2012 GOP nomination for President of the United States. As always, my family comes first and obviously Todd and I put great consideration into family life before making this decision. When we serve, we devote ourselves to God, family and country. My decision maintains this order.

My decision is based upon a review of what common sense Conservatives and Independents have accomplished, especially over the last year. I believe that at this time I can be more effective in a decisive role to help elect other true public servants to office – from the nation’s governors to Congressional seats and the Presidency. We need to continue to actively and aggressively help those who will stop the “fundamental transformation” of our nation and instead seek the restoration of our greatness, our goodness and our constitutional republic based on the rule of law.

From the bottom of my heart I thank those who have supported me and defended my record throughout the years, and encouraged me to run for President. Know that by working together we can bring this country back – and as I’ve always said, one doesn’t need a title to help do it.

I will continue driving the discussion for freedom and free markets, including in the race for President where our candidates must embrace immediate action toward energy independence through domestic resource developments of conventional energy sources, along with renewables. We must reduce tax burdens and onerous regulations that kill American industry, and our candidates must always push to minimize government to strengthen the economy and allow the private sector to create jobs.

Those will be our priorities so Americans can be confident that a smaller, smarter government that is truly of the people, by the people, and for the people can better serve this most exceptional nation.

In the coming weeks I will help coordinate strategies to assist in replacing the President, re-taking the Senate, and maintaining the House.

Thank you again for all your support. Let’s unite to restore this country!

God bless America.

– Sarah Palin

Niall Ferguson: America’s Dumbest Budget Cut

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

Source: Newsweek, 6-26-11

Why Republicans are wrong to put fiscal arithmetic ahead of global influence.

republicans-budget-ferguson

Emmanuel Dunand / AFP-Getty ImagesPeople outside the 2012 Republican candidates debate in New Hampshire. Bring the troops home. Considering how polarized American politics is supposed to be, the consensus on this one point verges on the supernatural.

President Obama recently announced a new schedule for scaling down the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. A total of 10,000 men will come home this year and a further 20,000 by the end of next summer. The surge is over.

This is not a declaration of victory. It is a declaration of bankruptcy. “From a fiscal standpoint, we’re spending too much money on Iraq and Afghanistan,” a senior administration official told The New York Times. “There’s a belief from a fiscal standpoint that this is cannibalizing too much of our spending.”

There was a time when Republicans—and not a few Democrats—would have been dismayed by such a retreat. Yet in their televised debate just a few days before the president’s announcement, the Republican presidential hopefuls vied with one another to out-dove him….READ MORE

Political Headlines June 13, 2011: Michele Bachmann Announces She is Running for the Republican Presidential Nomination During GOP New Hampshire Debate

POLITICAL HEADLINES

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 2012….

Michele Bachmann Announces Candidacy for President: Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota interrupted her answer to a question at a Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire to announce that she had filed papers on Monday to formally declare her candidacy for the Republican nomination for president.

  • Michele Bachmann enters presidential race: Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, an outspoken Republican with close ties to the tea party, announced Monday that she is running for president, a candidacy that could further shake up a volatile fight for the GOP nomination.
    The first female contender to enter the 2012 race, Bachmann announced her bid during a Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire. The third-term Minnesota congresswoman has been leaning heavily toward a run over the past few months, visiting early primary states, raising money and railing against President Barack Obama.
    “We cannot risk giving President Obama four more years to dismantle our nation. We must act now,” Bachmann said in a fundraising letter sent within an hour of her entrance. “That’s why I’ve made the decision to get in this race.”
    She brings high energy, charisma and proven fundraising ability to the race to nominate a Republican challenger to Obama. She also is known for unyielding stances, biting commentary and high-profile gaffes.
    Bachmann is attempting the rare leap from the U.S. House to the presidency…. – AP, 6-13-11
  • Michele Bachmann uses GOP debate to announce presidential candidacy: Rep. Michele Bachmann used the first major presidential debate of the 2012 campaign to announce that she is formally running for president.
    For Bachmann, the conservative from Minnesota, the announcement was expected, but the timing of it was not. She had been expected to declare later in the month in Iowa.
    But early in the debate in Manchester, N.H., live on CNN, Bachmann said that she had filed her paperwork Monday with the Federal Election Commission to launch a presidential fundraising committee.
    She said she would soon make a public announcement. CNN’s John King, a bit flustered, quickly pushed Bachmann to return to addressing the debate topic at hand.
    Bachmann, 55, has served in the House since 2007. A former tax attorney, she’s popular among “tea party” activists. At present, she is the only woman in the GOP field.
    She also appeals to social conservatives. The mother of five, she has also served as foster parent to 23 other children…. – LAT, 6-13-11

Political Buzz: Sarah Palin’s “One Nation” Tour or Launching 2012 Presidential Campaign Tour

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.

ELECTIONS — PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 2012….

Damon Winter/The New York Times

Sarah and Todd Palin after a family visit on Monday to the National Archives in Washington.

This past week Sarah Palin has embarked on a tour of the Northeastern US with her family starting in Washington and ending in New Hampshire. Dubbed the “One Nation” Bus Tour, the modern whistle stop trip included stops at historical locations, meeting with the people and the press. The media has been closely monitoring Palin’s tour, speculating the true intention; a trip or a Presidential campaign exploration. Either way, the tour has captured the attention of the press and country, especially with Palin stopping in New Hampshire, the early primary state on the same day at fellow Republican Mitt Romney launched his Presidential campaign also in New Hampshire.

  • Palin Watch – Sarah Palin News Blog Alaska Dispath
  • Photos: Sarah Palin’s “One Nation” Bus Tour: Sarah Palin has been willing to offer but a scrap of information of upcoming destinations, Palin set off from Washington for an East Coast bus tour, telling reporters that her tour might “at some point” go to Iowa, where the 2012 voting begins….. – Denver Post
  • Sarah Palin to collide with Mitt Romney rollout in New Hampshire: Sarah Palin will be casting a long shadow over Mitt Romney’s day in the sun in New Hampshire on Thursday.
    She’s bringing her I-haven’t-made-up-my-mind-yet bus tour across America to the Granite State even as Romney formally declares he’s in the 2012 race.
    Palin will attend a coastal clambake Thursday evening with some key New Hampshire Republicans. According to Politico, she called the timing “coincidental.”
    Palin is spending much of the day in Boston. She visited the Old North Church early Thursday.
    The ex-Alaska governor, who is winding up her weeklong tour, told the assembled media throng that has doggedly followed her every move from the Pentagon parking lot to the Freedom Trail that she still doesn’t know if she’s running for president in 2012.
    “Still looking at the field, knowing there’s going to be a lot of shakeup in that lineup,” Palin said
    Romney will be delivering a speech in Stratham, N.H. Palin said, “Maybe we’ll run into him.”
    Palin hasn’t been going out of her way to make friends in the early primary state. Earlier this week in an interview with CNN, she said that New Hampshire voters aren’t particularly special.
    “I guess that’s that nonpolitician in me not looking at a New Hampshire voter any differently just because they have, you know, an earlier primary than somebody else,” she said…. – LAT, 6-2-11
  • Palin tours Boston, says Romney timing coincidence: Sarah Palin took her tour of the United States, seen by some as a possible warm-up to a run at the Republican presidential nomination, to the Democratic stronghold of Massachusetts on Thursday.
    On a tour through the city’s Revolutionary War-era historic sites, Palin said her trip was not timed to distract attention from Massachusetts ex-governor Mitt Romney’s formal announcement in neighboring New Hampshire of the start of his presidential campaign .
    Palin, a former governor of Alaska, told reporters in the morning that the timing of the trip was “coincidental.”
    She herself was expected to travel next to New Hampshire, traditionally the state with the nation’s first nominating primary, making it a key destination for all potential candidates.
    After visiting sites including the Old North Church and the house of Revolutionary War hero Paul Revere, Palin stopped to talk with onlookers on the cobblestoned streets of the city’s North End…. – Reuters, 6-2-11
  • Sarah Palin Remembers Ronald Reagan At Liberty State Park: Sarah Palin, a potential candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and former Governor of Alaska, visited the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island today on her “One Nation” bus tour. Last night, Palin went to dinner in Manhattan with real estate mogul and reality TV star Donald Trump.
    Palin’s “One Nation” tour continues to be defined by themes of freedom, liberty and patriotism. The Statue of Liberty was a gift from the French and is an internationally recognized symbol of both freedom and democracy. Ellis Island served as the inspection station for the millions of immigrants who came to the United States between 1892 and 1954.
    “What a wonderful day to visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island!” said Palin. In what seemed like a veiled reference to her own presidential aspirations, Palin talked about former President Ronald Reagan’s visit to Liberty State Park in 1980. “He spoke of the Americans who passed through Ellis Island and whose first glimpse of their adopted country was the grand statue in New York’s harbor. He talked about our shared values and the common thread of the American dream across an endless mix of backgrounds,” said Palin…. – The State Column, 6-2-11
  • On the Media: News flash — Sarah Palin rides a bus What it means, though, nobody outside of Team Palin knows for sure. But reporters still give chase, just in case: It’s not exactly blockbuster news when Sarah Palin calls the U.S. Constitution an important document, tries to one-up President Obama in praise of the U.S. military or heaps another load of condescension on the media.
    But it is news when Palin does all these things within a few days of one another as part of a tour that has her dancing around a possible run for president of the United States. It’s news, less because Palin might actually run than because this is what politicians do. And the media cover what they do, good bad and indifferent, especially when they are as fascinating and polarizing as Sarah Palin.
    Ever since Palin announced her “One Nation” tour, multiple media outlets have scrambled to follow her bus, with no itinerary or real help from the principal and her team. And plenty of other people have taken to the Internet to denounce the whole spectacle as a publicity stunt and brand-booster for a brand badly in need of a lift.
    Far from the daily schedules and constant updates they are accustomed to on campaign tours, reporters have had to beg sources close to Palin for hints about what will happen next. A reporter for the Times of London incorrectly guessed at a Memorial Day trip to Gettysburg (it came a day later) and only happened on her as he later staked out the road to Mount Vernon.
    Team Palin threw the trailing scribes off the scent again Tuesday, leaving her bus idling outside her Gettysburg hotel while she slipped out to take a tour of the Civil War battlefield in an SUV. Palin is believed to be arriving in New Hampshire, which holds the first presidential primary, by week’s end. But no one outside the Palin bubble knows for sure…. – LAT, 6-1-11
  • The Influence Industry: The fine lines between a Palin vacation and Palin tour: When most families go on a summer vacation, they don’t have a political-action committee to pay the bills.
    Not so for Sarah Palin, the former vice presidential candidate and Alaska governor, who has joined her husband, children and parents in a widely publicized bus tour of East Coast historic sites this week.
    The trip appears to be part vacation, part political rally and part reality show. Fuel, lodging and other expenses are being paid for by SarahPAC, Palin’s political committee, which is also soliciting donations online in connection with the journey.
    “You can show your support for the Fundamental Restoration of America and the ‘One Nation Tour’ by making a generous donation to SarahPAC today,” reads a message on the SarahPAC Web site.
    The arrangement is perfectly legal, campaign-finance experts say. SarahPAC is set up as an unconnected PAC, meaning that the usual restrictions on candidate committees don’t apply. Regular candidate committees, for example, are barred from converting campaign money to personal use.
    As a result, unless Palin decides to formally explore a possible presidential run, she is free to spend the money raised by SarahPAC for “any lawful purpose” under federal law, experts said. That means it doesn’t matter whether the trip is a holiday, a political event or something in between…. – WaPo, 6-1-11
  • Palin tour: campaign prelude or publicity stunt?: Sarah Palin is going rogue again, confounding the press and delighting fans on a family bus tour that could be a prelude to an unconventional White House campaign — or a branding exercise for Palin Inc.
    The 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee has kept reporters scrambling across three states for three days, refusing to publish her schedule while traveling the countryside in a flashy, painted campaign-style bus.
    After announcing the tour of East Coast historic sites last week, Team Palin went silent on the itinerary and refused to accommodate press coverage. It was an unusual strategy for any politician, particularly one considering a White House run in 2012.
    It was hardly surprising for Palin, however, who denounces the “lamestream media” and built her political image around her unconventional style. And it paid immediate dividends with coverage from reporters who chased her like paparazzi after Angelina Jolie…. – Reuters, 5-31-11
  • Palin confirms she’s in LLC that bought Ariz. home: Sarah Palin has confirmed that she is part of a company that purchased a home north of Phoenix, but she said she hasn’t moved from Alaska.
    Safari Investments LLC paid nearly $1.7 million cash for the five-bedroom, 7,900-square-foot home in rural north Scottsdale in May.
    In an interview aired Tuesday night, the former Alaska governor told Fox News Channel’s Greta Van Susteren that she is part of Safari Investments and it “has some property in Arizona now.”
    “You know, many, many Alaskans purchase property in Arizona, Nevada and Texas,” Palin said from her bus that has been touring the East Coast. “I think we do that because not only are we good investors, and it’s a buyer’s market, but we like to thaw out once in a while.”… – AP, 5-31-11
  • Sarah Palin’s bus tour stops at National Archives, Mount Vernon and Baltimore: The former Alaska governor is believed to be headed to Philadelphia next. She continues to insist her patriotic-themed bus is not a campaign bus.
    It’s still unclear whether Sarah Palin’s road trip is an educational family tour of historical America or a dry run for her potential Republican presidential bid.
    But Monday, two things became clear: She will not shy away from unscripted encounters, and she isn’t going let anyone know in advance where she’s going as she wends her way across the country this summer.
    In an impromptu news conference Monday evening in the parking lot of her Gettysburg hotel shortly after taking a four-mile run in steaming heat, Palin said she thought the current crop of Republican presidential contenders is “strong” and that any campaign she might wage “would definitely be unconventional and nontraditional, yes, knowing us, yeah, it would have to be.”
    And that was as far as she would go, leaving the former Alaska governor’s intentions, like much of her bus tour, a mystery. Although she announced her “One Nation” tour with great fanfare on her website, Palin has refused to post information about her schedule, leaving reporters scrambling across the Eastern Seaboard to figure out her stops.
    Her bus tour began for real on Monday after she spent Sunday, the ostensible start day, riding in a motorcycle procession for veterans and surreptitiously visiting Washington monuments. Her patriotic-themed bus, decorated with a blown-up image of the U.S. Constitution, pulled up to the National Archives in Washington at 9:30 a.m. on Memorial Day, half an hour before opening.
    Her party — which included her husband, three daughters and her parents, as well as Greta Van Susteren, a host on Fox News, with whom Palin has an exclusive contract — was ushered into the building for a private look at the U.S. Constitution, Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights, cloistered in a darkened rotunda under glass.
    By the time she exited the archives half an hour later, a small crowd of reporters and well-wishers had gathered outside.
    “I wish every student in America could get here,” she afterward. “It is heartwarming, and it means so much to so many of us to be able to physically be here and see the foundation of America.”… – LAT, 5-31-11
  • SARAH PALIN: Memorial Day brings out presidential hopefuls: Politicians were in plentiful supply this Memorial Day as the ramp-up to the 2012 presidential election began in earnest.
    Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who began a nationwide bus tour Sunday, generated plenty of buzz, visiting Fort McHenry in Baltimore and Mount Vernon in Virginia on Monday.
    She told CNN on Monday that she plans to take her “One Nation” bus tour to Iowa, the state that votes first in the race for the Republican presidential nomination…. – CNN, 5-31-11
  • Palin Family Hits Road, if Not 2012 Trail: Sarah Palin dropped a fresh hint Monday about her presidential ambitions, telling reporters that her “One Nation” bus tour might “at some point” go to Iowa, where the 2012 voting begins.
    But that scrap of information was about all Ms. Palin was willing to offer to reporters as she spent Memorial Day bouncing among historic locations in Washington, Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
    Day 2 of the tour started Monday morning with a visit to the National Archives in Washington, where she and her family took a private moment to look at the Constitution. The family went from there to Mount Vernon, home of George Washington, and to Fort McHenry in Baltimore. A stop at the Gettysburg battlefield in Pennsylvania was also on the itinerary.
    Throughout the day, Ms. Palin continued to play coy with reporters eager to know her itinerary. After the National Archives stop, a reporter yelled out, “Sarah, where are you going next?” She quickly answered, “Mount Vernon,” then added, “Oh — you are a reporter, darn you!”
    Ms. Palin announced her bus tour with great fanfare last week and is using it on her Web site to raise money for her political action committee. Despite that, she is acting as though her family is just like any other on vacation…. – NYT, 5-30-11
  • In Gettysburg, post-jog Palin greets supporters: It’s too hot in central Pennsylvania, according to Sarah Palin, but while it wore out those on her bus tour, she snuck in a jog as reporters and supporters searched for her whereabouts.
    The Palin-crazed media and faithful fans found her late Monday afternoon, as she and her family paused their northbound road trip to rest up at a hotel on the outskirts of Gettysburg.
    National reporters trailed the Palins throughout the day, during their stops at the National Archives, Mount Vernon and Fort McHenry. When her bus was spotted at a hotel minutes from the historic battlefield that she was expected to visit today, reporters flocked and fans posed for pictures next to the Constitution-emblazoned motorcoach.
    Rumors swirled that she would be heading back out later that evening, and with a group gathered watching one hotel exit, she drew stunned looks as she and her daughter Piper walked up from behind the crowd and said hello…. – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 5-30-11
  • Palin Appearance at ‘Rolling Thunder’ Feeds Election Speculation Fury: Sarah Palin arrives at the beginning of Rolling Thunder at the Pentagon during the Memorial Day weekend in Washington.
    Sarah Palin could win the Republican nomination and defeat President Obama, Sen. John McCain said Sunday as his former vice presidential running mate fueled 2012 speculation by appearing at the annual Memorial Day rally on the National Mall.
    “Of course she can, she can. Whether she will or not, whether she’ll even run, I don’t know,” McCain, R-Ariz., told “Fox News Sunday.” “She certainly is a major factor. And I believe that she can be very competitive.”
    Palin’s participation in the annual Memorial Day parade in Washington, D.C., has fueled as much noise about a potential presidential candidacy as the thousands of motorcycle-riding veterans participating in the Rolling Thunder ride-along Sunday.
    At the Pentagon parking lot where the mob of veterans and their families pre-positioned for the thunderous two-wheeler march down Constitution Ave, Palin, who did not address the Memorial Day crowd, said she was thrilled to participate.
    “I love that smell of the emissions,” she said, donning sunglasses and a Harley Davidson skullcap-style, black helmet…. – Fox News, 5-29-11
  • Palin swarmed at first bus tour stop: Amid the chaos, there was Sarah Palin. Only one advance staffer was on hand to wrangle the fans and reporters hoping to get close to the former vice presidential nominee, who arrived at Sunday’s Rolling Thunder rally driving her own motorcycle.
    At the first stop on Palin’s bus tour – which so far has a vague itinerary but no other formally announced stops – security and press relations were left to a small group of disgruntled bikers.
    When asked about the tour, Palin offered only, “This is our first stop, we’re very thankful to be here.” A map of the tour’s stops on her PAC’s website remains blank.
    Palin arrived with her daughter Willow on the front of the motorcycle she was driving and her husband Todd and oldest daughter Bristol each on separate bikes. Still, their presence was very small in comparison to the rest of the rally, drawing about 200 people in a swarm around her at an event that drew thousands of veterans. Her husband, wearing a navy blue T-shirt with “Washington, D.C.” printed on the front, worked the crowd with ease – offering fast and short responses to a few reporters and glad-handing the many fans of his wife. They talked happily with those within shouting distance, and they joined the former vice presidential nominee in signing leather vests, posing for the cameras and answering questions to the few reporters who got close enough. She even held a brief availability with reporters in the corner of the parking lot away from the main group.
    Organizers of the annual veterans motorcycle ride were clearly frustrated by the media attention and fuss brought by Palin, and the bikers weren’t as encouraging as the Palins. Yelling, and in a few instances, shoving, they tried to keep away press trying to snap photographs or capture a rare quote…. – Politico, 5-29-11
  • Sarah Palin’s ‘One Nation’ bus tour shrouded in secrecy: 2012 run for President or publicity stunt?: Sarah Palin is hopping aboard a national bus tour this weekend and now the big mystery is whether she’s also switching gears for a White House run.
    The former Alaska governor’s One Nation road trip is shrouded in secrecy, with her political action committee only revealing that she’ll start in Washington and go up through New England to “educate and energize Americans about our nation’s founding principles.”
    Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty shrugged off Palin’s bus tour Friday when asked on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” if the trip indicated a run for the Oval Office…. – NY Daily News, 5-27-11
  • Palin to Begin Public Tour This Weekend: Sarah Palin will begin a bus tour of the East Coast on Memorial Day weekend, the latest and most significant evidence that the former governor of Alaska is still seriously considering a run for the Republican presidential nomination this year.
    Ms. Palin will begin the series of high-profile public events in the Washington area, starting with the annual Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally and continuing on through the Northeast, according to a statement on her Web site.
    Her purchase of a house in Arizona and recent additions to her staff have prompted renewed speculation about her political intentions even as the field of Republicans who are vying to challenge President Obama has dwindled in recent weeks.
    The bus tour, which will extend beyond the weekend, will take Ms. Palin and her family through the Northeast in a decorated, red-white-and-blue charter bus, heightening comparisons to a campaign whistle-stop tour…. – NYT, 5-26-11
  • Sarah Palin and her ‘One Nation’ bus tour, coming to a town near voters soon: Sarah Palin, who admitted recently that she had the fire in the belly to run for president, now has a bus tour to go with it.
    The Republican former governor, who wandered all over Alaska in a motorhome last year for her Discovery Channel reality series, will do the same starting Sunday at a biker rally in Washington.
    According to Scott Conroy at RealClearPolitics.com, an essential daily read for politics fans, the tour will, of course, involve members of the Palin family and first focus on the Northeast. That’s a seemingly unlikely place for RepSarah palin one nation Busublican political kickoffs, unless you can say ‘the first primary state of New Hampshire is a whole lot nicer in June than January.’
    The trips could last for weeks and are guaranteed to attract many media trailing along in the bus exhaust fumes. Like the NASCAR race she attended last year, Sunday’s annual … … Memorial Day Rolling Thunder biker rally at the Pentagon and down the National Mall offers an ideal opportunity for the kind of handshaking, picture-posing, you-betcha retail politicking that Palin loves and is so good at. Among folks who like her…. – LAT, 5-26-11

Sunday: Sarah Palin arrives at the beginning of Rolling Thunder at the Pentagon during the Memorial Day weekend in Washington.

AP2011

Sunday: Sarah Palin arrives at the beginning of Rolling Thunder at the Pentagon during the Memorial Day weekend in Washington.

  • Sarah Palin: ‘I’m Not the Conventional, Status Quo Politician … the Last Thing I Worry About Is the Mainstream Media’: GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Here’s Governor Palin on her “One Nation” bus tour.VAN SUSTEREN: So Governor, we’re on the bus. Whose idea was this bus?

    SARAH PALIN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR/FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: You know, Todd had this idea. He was reading on an airplane some months ago an article by Thomas Sowell, and in this article, Thomas Sowell was talking about our economy and how to get it back on the right track and how much of the solution has to do with the foundation of America.
    And Todd — he texted me when he landed at the airport and said, You know, we need to remind America about our charters of liberty, about our Constitution, about our Declaration of Independence and how America was built on this idea of individual power within us, and then collectively, how we all work together to create this great union. We need to remind America how important it is to protect all that’s good about America as written out in our Constitution and our Declaration of Independence. Go around the country and start talking about it.

    VAN SUSTEREN: All right, you…

    PALIN: Right on!

    VAN SUSTEREN: You’ve obviously driven the media nuts. I don’t know if you’ve noticed that. But I mean, everybody’s talking about it. Everyone’s trying to find out where you’re going, what are you doing. What do you say about that because it’s — it — everybody’s been talking about it.

    PALIN: Well, you know, I know that many in the mainstream media are looking for kind of a conventional — a campaign-type tour. And I’ve said from the beginning this isn’t a campaign tour, except to campaign on our Constitution, our charters of liberty. And they want kind of a conventional idea of, We want a schedule. We want to follow you. We want you to bring us along with you.
    I’m, like, (A) I don’t think I owe anything to the mainstream media. I think that it would be a mistake for me to become some kind of conventional politician and doing things the way that it’s always been done with the media in terms of relationship with them. Tell them to come on along and then we’ll orchestrate this, we’ll script this, and we’ll basically write a story for you, media, about what we’re doing every day.
    No, I want them to have to do a bit of work on a tour like this, and that would include not necessarily telling them beforehand where every stop is going to be. You know, if they — we’ll do a stop. We’ll do a lot of OTRs, off the records. We’ll meet a lot of great Americans. And then I’ll write about that at the end of the day.
    And it’s not about me. It’s not a publicity-seeking tour. It’s about highlighting the great things about America. And the media can figure out where we’re going if they do their investigative or they are going to keep kind of , as you put it, going crazy trying to figure out what we’re doing…. – Fox News, 5-31-11

Political Buzz June 6, 2011: Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney Announces He is Seeking the 2012 Republican Presidential Nomination

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.

ELECTIONS — PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 2012….

Mitt Romney announced that he is formally entering the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination in Stratham, New Hampshire, on Thursday.
Brian Snyder/ReutersMitt Romney announced that he is formally entering the race for the Republican presidential nomination on Thursday.

 

Republican Mitt Romney, a 2008 candidate, made official what has been speculated since the end of the 2008 campaign, that he will make a second presidential bid in 2012. Romney made the official announcement at a farm in Stratham, New Hampshire, stating that President Obama “has failed America.” Romney is currently leading in the polls of all potential 2012 GOP candidates.

  • Romney is tops in poll of Republicans: Among Iowa Republicans, Mitt Romney is tops, but Herman Cain and Sarah Palin are tied for second place, a new survey shows.
    Romney registers at 21 percent, with Cain and Palin at 15 percent, according to a new Public Policy Polling survey released Wednesday.
    Palin, a former Alaska governor and Republican presidential nominee John McCain’s running mate in 2008, has surged 7 points since Public Policy Polling’s last survey six weeks ago…. – Des Moines Register, 6-2-11
  • Live blog of Romney presidential announcement: Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is today publicly launching his second bid for the presidency with an outdoor speech at a farm in the lead primary state of New Hampshire…. – Boston Globe, 6-2-11
  • Mitt Romney kicks off 2012 presidential bid: We will be live blogging Republican Mitt Romney’s formal announcement that he’s running for president. It’s the second try for the White House by the ex-Massachusetts governor.
    1:15 p.m. ET Romney is talking about his father, George, who started out working in plaster and ended up running American Motors.
    1:13 p.m. ET Romney vows to repeal what he calls “Obamacare” and to balance the federal budget. His main focus will be on the economy. “My No. 1 job will to see that America is No. 1 in job creation,” he says.
    1:11 p.m. ET Says he is shaped by his 25 years in government, his work at the Salt Lake Winter Olympics and as governor. “Turning around a crisis takes experience and bold action. For millions of Americans, the economy is in crisis today. Unless we change course, it’ll be a crisis tomorrow.”…. – USA Today, 6-2-11
  • Mitt Romney hammers Obama in today’s speech: Former Bay State Gov. Mitt Romney stressed his economic experience while taking direct aim at President Obama in a sweeping address this afternoon as he announced he’s jumping into the 2012 presidential race.
    “I’m Mitt Romney. I believe in America and I am running for president of the United States,” he said.
    The GOP front-runner in some polls made his candidacy official in New Hampshire as potential rival Sarah Palin pulls out of Boston and heads to the Granite State.
    “Barack Obama has failed America,” Romney said during a noontime speech in Stratham, N.H.
    “It’s time for a president who cares more about American workers than he does America’s union bosses,” Romney said.
    Romney kept the pressure on the president’s poor jobs performance — even questioning Obama’s work history.
    “If you want to create jobs, it helps to have actually had a job and I have,” said Romney.
    Romney added about Obama: “We didn’t know what sort of a president he would make. It was a moment of crisis for our economy, and when Barack Obama came to office, we wished him well and hoped for the best. Now, in the third year of his four-year term, we have more than promises and slogans to go by.”… – Boston Herald, 6-2-11
  • Romney opens presidential bid challenging Obama: Just as Mitt Romney declared Thursday that he’s in, it’s suddenly looking like he’ll have more company in his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.
    While Romney made his candidacy official in New Hampshire, political heavyweights Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani caused a stir of their own with visits to the first-in-the-nation primary state. And rumblings from Texas Gov. Rick Perry, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota further undercut Romney’s standing as the closest thing the GOP has to a front-runner.
    “I’m Mitt Romney and I believe in America. And I’m running for president of the United States,” Romney said to cheers on a sunny farm here in Southern New Hampshire.
    The former business executive previewed a campaign message focused on the economic woes that top voters’ concerns: rising gas prices, stubbornly high unemployment and persistent foreclosures.
    “It breaks my heart to see what is happening to this great country,” Romney said. “No, Mr. President, you had your chance.”
    It’s a pitch tailored to the conservatives who hold great sway in picking the GOP’s presidential nominee in Iowa and South Carolina – and the independents who are the largest political bloc in New Hampshire. And it is as much a statement on his viability as it is an indictment of Obama’s leadership.
    “Barack Obama has failed America,” Romney said as he began his second White House bid. “When Barack Obama took office, the economy was in recession, and he made it worse.”… – AP, 6-2-11
  • Romney Kicks Off Presidential Run in New Hampshire: Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney made it official Thursday: He’s making a 2012 run for the White House.
    In a speech before a crowd of hundreds at a farm in Stratham, N.H., Romney presented himself as a viable alternative to President Obama, who he said has upped America’s “misery index,” made the recession worse and made it longer.
    “Barack Obama has failed America,” he said.
    Romney, who was introduced by his wife, Anne, said that he holds the keys to a more prosperous America.
    “My generation will pass the torch to the next generation, not a bill,” he said, adding that his administration will restore state powers over dozens of government programs.
    “And that begins with a complete repeal of Obamacare,” he said. “From my first day in office my No.1 job will be to see that America once again is number in job creation.”… – Fox News, 6-2-11
  • Romney makes 2nd presidential bid official: Mitt Romney officially launched another run for president Thursday, choosing a key early voting state to deliver a strong message against the Democratic administration’s handling of the economy.
    Romney made the announcement at Bittersweet Farm, owned by a former speaker of the New Hampshire Legislature, Doug Scamman. New Hampshire was also the backdrop for Romney’s online announcement in April that he was forming a presidential exploratory committee.
    New Hampshire, which is first in the national primary next year, is being described as a must-win state for Romney, who finished second there in his 2008 White House bid to the party’s eventual nominee, Arizona Sen. John McCain.
    Mitt Romney is opening his first formal day as a 2012 Republican presidential candidate by pitching himself as the one to heal the economy and says, “Barack Obama has failed America.”
    Romney, a Boston-based businessman who amassed a personal fortune turning around troubled companies, emphasized the need to fix the nation’s economy in a speech delivered near a barn decorated with his campaign slogan, “Believe in America.”
    President Barack Obama, “has failed America,” Romney said, describing a family in Las Vegas who have seen homes in their suburban neighborhood abandoned, “crushed by this Obama economy.”
    He said government has grown too much, calling for spending to be capped and the federal budget to be balanced, warning, “We are only inches away from ceasing to be a free market economy.”
    Romney also promised to insist that Washington “learns to respect the Constitution, including the 10th Amendment,” and said the responsibility for dozens of government programs will be returned to the states beginning “with a complete repeal of Obamacare.”…. – KSL, 6-2-11
  • For Mitt Romney, Chili Comes First: Before he announces he’s running for president, Mitt Romney has a more important task to take care of: doling out portions of his wife Ann’s “world famous” chili.
    Romney and his wife served up the chicken chili on the Bittersweet Farm in Stratham, New Hampshire, just after noon, then moving on to work the crowds, shaking hands and signing autographs.
    One spectator offered Romney an apron, which the soon-to-be presidential hopeful declined despite the supporter’s encouragement, “We don’t want you to get dirty, Mitt!”
    Clutching Ann’s hand through the swarm of cameras and reporters, one bystander asked Ann if she is “ready for round two.”
    “Yes!” she responded.
    Another supporter cheered, “Good luck President Romney! New Hampshire loves you,” just as Romney and his wife disappeared behind hay bales to ready for the big announcement…. – ABC News, 6-2-11
  • Romney to Announce Candidacy in New Hampshire: Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, will make his second bid for the presidency official on Thursday with a broadside against President Obama and a call for a new economic agenda.
    In excerpts released by his campaign, Mr. Romney accuses the president of failing to live up to the promise of economic recovery he made during his 2008 campaign.
    “At the time, we didn’t know what sort of a president he would make,” Mr. Romney will say as he makes his announcement from a family farm in New Hampshire. “Now, in the third year of his four-year term, we have more than promises and slogans to go by. Barack Obama has failed America.”
    The attacks on Mr. Obama promise to be a centerpiece of Mr. Romney’s campaign as he seeks to present himself as the inevitable choice for Republicans eager to reclaim the White House. In his speech on Thursday, he will pledge, without hesitance, to repeal the president’s health care reforms.
    “We will return responsibility and authority to the states for dozens of government programs – and that begins with a complete repeal of Obamacare,” he will say, according to the excerpts. “From my first day in office my number one job will be to see that America once again is number in job creation.”
    Mr. Romney makes his candidacy official at a local family farm, where he invited supporters and media to a “Cookout With Mitt and Ann.” Under clear skies and with tractors and hay bales as a backdrop, Mr. Romney hopes to send the message that he intends to win New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary…. – NYT, 6-2-11
  • Mitt Romney is officially in. Will he do better this time?: Mitt Romney is formally in the presidential race per his announcement Thursday at a hot-dog and chili cookout at a New Hampshire farm. Will he do better in the 2012 election cycle than he did last time around?
    Mr. Romney’s 2008 try for the White House didn’t go that well, after all. The well-funded ex-governor of Massachusetts thought he could burst out of the starting blocks with wins in the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. Instead, he finished well behind the surprising Mike Huckabee in the former and lost to eventual nominee Sen. John McCain in the latter. His candidacy was burnt toast within weeks.
    There’s reason to believe he’ll be more successful with this attempt. He’s been the front-runner in almost all preseason polls, hovering at about 22 to 24 percent of the GOP primary vote. Perhaps more important, he’s liked, if not well liked. His Gallup Positive Intensity Score (produced by subtracting the percentage of voters who have a highly unfavorable opinion of him from the percentage who have a highly favorable one) is about 14, which is decent. Minnesota ex-governor Tim Pawlenty and former you-know-what Sarah Palin score about the same…. – CS Monitor, 6-2-11
  • Romney to Announce Candidacy in New Hampshire: Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, will make his second bid for the presidency official on Thursday with a broadside against President Obama and a call for a new economic agenda.
    In excerpts released by his campaign, Mr. Romney accuses the president of failing to live up to the promise of economic recovery he made during his 2008 campaign.
    “At the time, we didn’t know what sort of a president he would make,” Mr. Romney will say as he makes his announcement from a family farm in New Hampshire. “Now, in the third year of his four-year term, we have more than promises and slogans to go by. Barack Obama has failed America.”
    The attacks on Mr. Obama promise to be a centerpiece of Mr. Romney’s campaign as he seeks to present himself as the inevitable choice for Republicans eager to reclaim the White House. In his speech on Thursday, he will pledge, without hesitance, to repeal the president’s health care reforms.
    “We will return responsibility and authority to the states for dozens of government programs – and that begins with a complete repeal of Obamacare,” he will say, according to the excerpts. “From my first day in office my number one job will be to see that America once again is number in job creation.”
    Mr. Romney makes his candidacy official at a local family farm, where he invited supporters and media to a “Cookout With Mitt and Ann.” Under clear skies and with tractors and hay bales as a backdrop, Mr. Romney hopes to send the message that he intends to win New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary.
    The choice of the Bittersweet Farm for his announcement is an interesting one for Mr. Romney, who regularly argues for a smaller federal government that spends less. The rolling green hills of the farm were preserved in recent years in part with $1 million in federal money, according to a recent report in Seacoast Online…. – NYT, 6-2-11
  • Romney to Announce White House Bid, Declare ‘Obama has Failed America’: Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will announce today that he’s making his bid for the Republican presidential nomination official, declaring, “Barack Obama has failed America.”
    In excerpts of prepared remarks obtained by ABC News, Romney rails against the president’s handling of the struggling economy and vows to shrink the size of the government.
    “A few years ago, Americans did something that was, actually, very much the sort of thing Americans like to do: We gave someone new a chance to lead; someone we hadn’t known for very long, who didn’t have much of a record but promised to lead us to a better place,” Romney says in his prepared remarks. “Now, in the third year of his four-year term, we have more than promises and slogans to go by.”
    Today marks Romney’s second campaign for the presidency. In 2008, Romney withdrew from the race after being overtaken by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., on Super Tuesday. McCain got Romney’s endorsement and the GOP nomination.
    Romney is again being pegged as a GOP frontrunner, much as he was the first time he ran for the White House. According to the latest Gallup poll, released last week, 17 percent of those voters who lean toward the GOP said they would vote for Romney. Fifteen percent of those polled said they would cast their ballots for the former GOP vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin…. – ABC News, 6-2-11
  • Can Romney keep going as front-runner?: Media interest in New Hampshire appearances by non-candidates Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani rivals that for Romney’s official campaign announcement today. Republican activists are pleading with prospects from Gov. Chris Christie in New Jersey to Gov. Rick Perry in Texas to jump into the presidential race. Romney’s vulnerabilities, from a stiff public persona to the health care law he signed in Massachusetts, have long been on display.
    Less recognized are Romney’s considerable strengths. With the sort of deliberation reminiscent of Barack Obama’s efforts to avoid being caught in the tumult of the day in 2008, Romney has been building a below-the-radar campaign that reflects lessons learned the hard way four years ago.
    When he formally announces his candidacy at Bittersweet Farm in Stratham, N.H., Romney will be able to boast the biggest war chest and a message honed for the moment: That he’s a savvy business executive with the skills to turn around a battered economy…. – USA Today, 6-2-11
  • Obama ‘failed America,’ GOP’s Romney says Republican to stress the economy, jobs as Democrats counterattack: Mitt Romney is formally kicking off his presidential run Thursday in New Hampshire, opening his bid for the White House with an attack on President Barack Obama’s economic policies, saying the incumbent has “failed America.”
    The former Massachusetts governor, who lost out to Sen. John McCain for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, made the charge in an early-morning blog post on his website, ahead of his formal announcement scheduled noon Eastern time.
    Romney also says that Obama made the recession worse and longer-lasting and that the president’s stimulus package hasn’t kept unemployment below 8%; the April jobless rate stood at 9%.
    House Republicans and Democrats agreed to vote down a measure that would have raised the federal debt ceiling by $2.4 trilion, citing its lack of a link to deficit-reducing plans.
    “This is not just a problem — this is a national crisis,” Romney says…. – Market Watch, 6-2-11
  • Romney seeks 2nd chance with GOP presidential bid: What are the odds of this? A guy gets into a head-on collision, has a police officer write “He is dead” at the scene, and lives to tell.
    Mitt Romney knows a thing or two about second chances.
    After that long-ago highway collision when he was a young missionary serving in France, Romney earned an outsized reputation and millions of dollars as a corporate turnaround artist, fixing bottom lines, cleaning up the scandal-tarred Salt Lake City Olympics and giving various other endeavors a second wind.
    Now he is determined to do that for himself. (And his country, he would say.)
    “I’ve never seen an enterprise in more desperate need of a turnaround than the U.S. government,” Romney says.
    An also-ran to John McCain in the 2008 Republican nomination fight, Romney is the closest thing to a front-runner that the still-jelling GOP presidential field for 2012 has to offer. On Thursday, the former Massachusetts governor makes his candidacy official during an appearance at a farm in Stratham, N.H.
    With his good looks, able fundraising, strong political organization, solid family and business acumen, Romney sounds like a candidate ordered from central casting to run in a time of economic stress.
    But to succeed where he failed four years ago, Romney, 64, will need to convince voters that behind the picture-perfect presentation lurks a human being with a passion to lead and an unshakeable set of convictions…. – AP, 6-2-11
  • Mitt Romney’s announcement speech: It’s the economy, stupid: Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney will formally enter the 2012 presidential race today. (Photo by J.D. Pooley/Getty Images) Mitt Romney will formally enter the Republican presidential race today with a speech that sternly rebukes President Obama for his handling of the economy and presents the former Massachusetts governor’s resume as best suited for these trying economic times.
    “Barack Obama has failed America,” Romney will say, according to excerpts of the address obtained by The Fix. “From my first day in office my No. 1 job will be to see that America once again is No. 1 in job creation.”
    Romney will also repeat his call to repeal Obama’s health care law and make a pledge to “return responsibility and authority to the states for dozens of government programs”.
    It’s not clear whether Romney will address the health care plan he signed as governor of Massachusetts, a major sore spot for some Republicans.
    Romney will deliver the speech at 12:30 p.m. in Stratham, N.H. — an indication of the importance of the Granite State to his chances at the Republican nomination. (You can watch a live stream of the speech here.)
    Romney enters the GOP presidential race as its nominal frontrunner — leading in most polls conducted on the race and expected to be, by far, the strongest fundraiser in the field. He raised more than $10 million in a single day last month…. – WaPo, 6-2-11

Political Headlines: Economy Shadows Obama 2012 Re-Election Hopes

ELECTIONS — PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 2012….

President Barack Obama speaks during Memorial Day ceremonies at Arlington Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, May 30, 2011. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

President Barack Obama speaks during Memorial Day ceremonies at Arlington Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, May 30, 2011. Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

 

  • Analysis: Economy shadows Obama 2012 re-election hopes: Disappointing news on the economy — the issue most important to American voters — has cast a cloud over President Barack Obama’s hopes of re-election next year.
    Polls show the president favored to win the election, with his approval ratings buoyed by foreign policy successes, most notably the killing of Osama bin Laden.
    Obama has also benefited from the Republicans’ failure so far to assemble a field of strong presidential candidates, which has given him a head start on building his campaign apparatus and raising millions of dollars to pay for it.
    But the economy remains the major downside for Obama’s 2012 prospects, with U.S. economic growth at a tepid 1.8 percent annual rate in the first three months of 2011.
    Economists do not foresee a sharp decline in the country’s financial fortunes before the November 2012 election, but a double-dip in home prices, the impact of high gasoline prices on consumers and a slowdown in regional manufacturing are raising concerns the current soft patch could become protracted….. – Reuters, 6-1-11

May 9, 2011: Newt Gingrich Plans Republican Presidential Candidacy Announcement on Wednesday

POLITICAL HIGHLIGHTS

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.

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 2012….

  • Spokesman: Newt Gingrich to announce presidential bid Wednesday via Facebook and Twitter
  • Gingrich to announce run for White House: Newt Gingrich’s Republican allies from his days as House speaker welcomed the news Monday that he plans to formally launch his presidential campaign Wednesday. Former Louisiana representative Bob Livingston, who was to succeed Gingrich as speaker in 1998, said that Gingrich would be an exciting addition to the field and that he would likely support the Georgia Republican.
    “Will he immediately unify everybody in the country? Probably not,” Livingston said. “But I think that he’s got a better understanding of some of the deeper issues that affect the country than most candidates do, and for that reason, I think it’s a good idea that he’s running.”
    Gingrich plans to announce his candidacy via Facebook and Twitter, according to spokesman Rick Tyler. Gingrich will follow those social media announcements with an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Wednesday night, a speech at the Georgia Republican Party Convention on Friday and an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday…. – USA Today, 5-9-11
  • Gingrich expected to announce candidacy in wake of Paul’s Iowa visit, office opening: Former Speaker of the U.S. House Newt Gingrich is expected to officially announce his presidential candidacy for 2012 Wednesday, according to his Facebook page.
    “I have been humbled by all the encouragement you have given me to run. Thank you for your support. Be sure to watch Hannity this Wednesday at 9pm ET/8pm CT. I will be on to talk about my run for President of the United States,” said the Facebook message.
    Gingrich’s announcement will come a day after fellow potential GOP presidential contender and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, a Texas Republican, visits Iowa to open a campaign office in Ankeny. Paul participated in last week’s debate in South Carolina, but has yet to officially declare his candidacy for 2012…. – Iowa Independent, 5-9-11
  • Gingrich joins Republican presidential field Former House speaker has name recognition, but carries some negative political baggage: Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and a Republican powerhouse in the 1990s, announced that he was joining the race for the party’s presidential nomination to challenge President Barack Obama in 2012. He also brings considerable negative political baggage: three marriages, resignation under an ethics cloud while leader of the House and a tendency to shoot-from-the-hip when speaking.
    In 1994, Gingrich led the Republican Party to its first House majority in 40 years. But any Republican candidate could face insurmountable difficulties in defeating the incumbent Obama, who remains personally popular with Americans and has seen his job approval rating rise notably in the early days after the killing of al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden…. – AP, MSNBC, 5-10-11
  • Gingrich Run Reflects His Sense of History: Whatever can Newt Gingrich be thinking? That’s the question a lot of political handicappers are asking now that Newt, as he is universally known in Washington, has decided to enter the 2012 campaign, with an announcement expected on Wednesday. Until recently, most of my colleagues assumed that the former speaker of the House, who flirted with running four years ago, was merely doing the same thing now, just to stay in the news….. – NYT, 5-10-11
  • Gingrich Set to Run, With Wife in Central Role: Callista Bisek’s friends from rural Wisconsin were stunned when, well over a decade ago, she confided that she was secretly dating an older, married man: Newt Gingrich. Still in her 20s when they met, Ms. Bisek had been raised in a town of 1,500, the only child of a meat packer and a secretary. A churchgoing Roman Catholic, she had attended a Lutheran college where she practiced piano five hours a day. “Is this the wisest course for you to be taking?” Karen Olson, her best friend, recalled asking.
    Today, Ms. Bisek is Mrs. Gingrich, married for 11 years, but perhaps best remembered for the six-year affair that contributed to her husband’s political downfall. His critics cast Mr. Gingrich, the former House speaker, as a hypocrite who sought to impeach a president over infidelity while engaging in it himself with Ms. Bisek, who was a Congressional aide…. – NYT, 5-10-11
  • Bio Box: 2012 Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich — AP NAME: Newton Leroy Gingrich
    AGE: 67. Born in Harrisburg, Pa.; June 17, 1943.
    EDUCATION: B.A. History, Emory University; M.A. and Ph.D., Tulane University,
    FAMILY: Wife, Callista, Two daughters, Kathy Gingrich Lubbers and Jackie Gingrich Cushman, from his first marriage.
    CAREER: Taught history at West Georgia College in Carrollton, Ga. Also taught at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Ga. Elected to Congress in 1978. Re-elected 10 times. In 1994, Gingrich led Republicans to control of the U.S. House and was elected speaker. He stepped down from Congress in 1999. Gingrich has formed a network of business and not-for-profit groups. He has written numerous books, made documentary films and worked as a political commentator for Fox News.
    QUOTE: “Our best leaders have reminded us that we have a moral obligation to the cause of freedom and that the cause of freedom is the cause of all mankind.”
  • Newt Gingrich to (finally) make it official: Politico Arena, 5-9-11

Political Headlines April 4, 2011: President Obama Formally Launches 2012 Re-election Bid

POLITICAL HIGHLIGHTS

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.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

ELECTIONS — PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 2012….

President Barack Obama announces 2012 re-election bid: President Barack Obama announced his 2012 re-election bid in a YouTube video.

With short video, Obama launches bid for re-election

Source: CNN, 4-4-11
President Obama  announced his re-election campaign early Monday via an online video.
With a short video on BarackObama.com, the sitting president of the United States has launched his bid for re-election.
Using what apparently will be one of his campaign slogans, “It begins with us,” the campaign has told supporters that the kickoff of the campaign has started and that means the race for contributions is on.
The familiar looking blue “O” over red and white stripes is back again for 2012. And at the bottom of the website, the candidates’ names are clearly identified: OBAMA-BIDEN — for Vice President Joe Biden.
Shortly afterward, Obama sent an e-mail to supporters to say he will also file papers Monday with the Federal Election Commission.
“We’ve always known that lasting change wouldn’t come quickly or easily. It never does. But as my administration and folks across the country fight to protect the progress we’ve made — and make more — we also need to begin mobilizing for 2012, long before the time comes for me to begin campaigning in earnest,” Obama said in his e-mail message….READ MORE

Obama launches reelection campaign with e-mail, web video: The president pledges to focus on his job, but will pick up the tempo of campaigning this month with several fundraisers. The campaign is hoping to raise a record $1 billion…. – LAT, 4-4-11

Obama re-election launches with e-mail, website: President Barack Obama formally launched his re-election campaign Monday, urging grass-roots supporters central to his first White House run to mobilize again to protect the change he’s brought over the past two years. The official start of his second White House bid comes 20 months before the November 2012 election.
“We’ve always known that lasting change wouldn’t come quickly or easily. It never does,” the Democrat said in an e-mail to supporters announcing his candidacy. “But as my administration and folks across the country fight to protect the progress we’ve made — and make more — we also need to begin mobilizing for 2012, long before the time comes for me to begin campaigning in earnest.” – AP, 4-4-11

QUOTES

Obama 2012 Email Announcement: Today, we are filing papers to launch our 2012 campaign.

We’re doing this now because the politics we believe in does not start with expensive TV ads or extravaganzas, but with you — with people organizing block-by-block, talking to neighbors, co-workers, and friends. And that kind of campaign takes time to build.
So even though I’m focused on the job you elected me to do, and the race may not reach full speed for a year or more, the work of laying the foundation for our campaign must start today.
We’ve always known that lasting change wouldn’t come quickly or easily. It never does. But as my administration and folks across the country fight to protect the progress we’ve made — and make more — we also need to begin mobilizing for 2012, long before the time comes for me to begin campaigning in earnest.
As we take this step, I’d like to share a video that features some folks like you who are helping to lead the way on this journey. Please take a moment to watch:

Watch the video

In the coming days, supporters like you will begin forging a new organization that we’ll build together in cities and towns across the country. And I’ll need you to help shape our plan as we create a campaign that’s farther reaching, more focused, and more innovative than anything we’ve built before.
We’ll start by doing something unprecedented: coordinating millions of one-on-one conversations between supporters across every single state, reconnecting old friends, inspiring new ones to join the cause, and readying ourselves for next year’s fight.
This will be my final campaign, at least as a candidate. But the cause of making a lasting difference for our families, our communities, and our country has never been about one person. And it will succeed only if we work together.
There will be much more to come as the race unfolds. Today, simply let us know you’re in to help us begin, and then spread the word:
http://my.barackobama.com/2012
Thank you,
Barack

February 15, 2011: Obama Budget Press Conference

Presidential Press Conference on the 2012 Budget

February 15, 2011: President Obama Unveils Massive $3.7 Trillion 2012 Budget, Republicans Vow Cuts

POLITICAL HIGHLIGHTS

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.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

Drew Angerer/The New York Times

President Obama spoke about the budget and education at Parkville Middle School and Center of Technology in Baltimore on Monday. He was flanked by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at left and Jack Lew, director of the Office of Management and Budget, at right.

STATS & POLLS

THE HEADLINES….

  • Obama’s Budget Focuses on Path to Rein in Deficit: With President Obama’s release on Monday of a budget for next year and House action this week on a Republican plan for immediate deep spending cuts, the nation is getting its clearest view since the president took office of the parties’ competing visions of the role of government, the urgency of addressing the deficit and the best path to long-term economic success.
    Mr. Obama used his budget for the fiscal year 2012 and beyond to make the case for selectively cutting spending while increasing resources in areas like education and clean energy initiatives that hold the potential for long-term payoffs in economic growth. With this year’s deficit projected to hit a record, $1.6 trillion, he laid out a path for bringing down annual deficits to more sustainable levels over the rest of the decade…. – NYT, 2-15-11
  • Obama budget: Some cuts, not the slashes GOP asks: Putting on the brakes after two years of big spending increases, President Barack Obama unveiled a $3.7 trillion budget plan Monday that would freeze or reduce some safety-net programs for the nation’s poor but turn aside Republican demands for more drastic cuts to shrink the government to where it was before he took office….. – AP, 2-15-11
  • Highlights of Obama’s 2012 spending plan: Obama sends plan to Capitol Hill; goal is to get funding in place by start of 2012 fiscal year… Plan includes a significant increase in education funding… Plan decreases discretionary resources for the Department of Transportation…. It trims funding for African Development and Inter-American Foundations by nearly 20%
    President Obama’s spending plan is just the first step in a process that will involve no less than 40 congressional committees, 24 subcommittees, countless hearings and a number of floor votes in the House and Senate, with the aim of getting funding in place for the federal government by the beginning of the 2012 fiscal year October 1.
    Congress never passed a budget for the current fiscal year, and the government has been running on a “continuing resolution,” which expires March 4. House Republicans have thrown down the gauntlet over cuts to current programs and threaten to shut down the government if they don’t get their way.
    After Obama sends his 2012 plan to Capitol Hill, House and Senate budget committees each pass their own budget resolutions, which set caps on spending and establish revenue targets and generally serve as five- to 10-year blueprints for congressional priorities…. – CNN,
  • Obama budget resurrects rejected tax increases: President Barack Obama’s budget proposal resurrects a series of tax increases on certain corporations and the wealthy that were largely ignored by Congress when Democrats controlled both chambers. Republicans, who now control the House, are signaling they will be even less receptive.
    The plan unveiled Monday includes tax increases for oil, gas and coal producers, investment managers and U.S.-based multinational corporations. The plan would allow Bush-era tax cuts to expire at the end of 2012 for individuals making more than $200,000 and married couples making more than $250,000. Wealthy taxpayers would have their itemized deductions limited starting in 2012, including deductions for mortgage interest, charitable contributions and state and local taxes…. – AP, 2-14-11
  • Showtime for House Republican spending cuts: One day after President Barack Obama presented Congress with his $3.7 trillion budget, the focus shifts on Tuesday to Washington’s more immediate spending needs and a controversial spending-cut bill that Republicans hope to pass in the House of Representatives.
    The House legislation, cobbled together by Republicans after weeks of intraparty fighting, would cut about $61 billion from current spending in a bill to fund government activities through the rest of this fiscal year that ends on September 30.
    The spending being proposed would be equal to a 14 percent cut from last year…. – Reuters, 2-15-10
  • House Republicans counter Obama budget plan with much deeper cuts: On Monday, President Obama made his statement about how the government ought to change its spending habits: a gradual plan that minimizes immediate pain by phasing in cuts over a decade.
    Starting Tuesday, House Republicans will move forward with a very different approach, one intended to be viewed as radical and painful. Their proposal deals not with theoretical deficit targets set far in the future but with the final seven months of this year’s budget, a period left in flux by congressional inaction.
    House Republicans want to cut $61 billion from the budget, which would amount to the most significant government contraction since the end of World War II. Decried as “dire” and “disturbing” by Democrats, the plan has become a test for how far Republicans are willing to go in order to deliver on the promise of fiscal austerity that GOP candidates pledged to voters last year.
    “It’s big, and it’s real and it can impact people’s lives,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Monday of the House legislation. “But we have a budget deficit right now of nearly $1.5 trillion. We have a lot of work to do.”… – WaPo, 2-15-11
  • Obama budget: $3.7 trillion FY ‘12 blueprint calls for key ‘investments’; red ink surges: Trying to balance the need to rein in deficits with his belief that spending now on education and other priorities will pay off in the long term, President Obama on Monday sent Congress a $3.7 trillion budget blueprint for 2012 that makes some short-term fixes but puts off heavy lifting on Social Security and Medicare.
    The budget acts as an update on the current fiscal year, as well as a plan for the future, and it shows the federal government will run a record $1.645 trillion deficit in 2011, slimming down to $1.101 trillion in 2012 and continuing the red ink for the foreseeable future, though at lower levels.
    After massive spending during his first two years in office, Mr. Obama proposed some tax increases and strategic spending cuts for 2012, such as in low-income energy assistance and student aid. But he also called for boosting spending on transportation and education – needs the president said cannot be sacrificed even in the face of the deficit…. – Washington Times, 2-14-11
  • Obama budget sets up spending fight Proposed cuts too small for GOP’s fiscal hawks: President Barack Obama sent Congress a $3.73 trillion 2012 budget that would boost spending in Michigan on items like education and energy, while cutting things like heating assistance for the poor and Great Lakes cleanup in an effort to bring the federal deficit under control. White House officials said Obama’s budget proposal for the fiscal year that begins in October would trim the federal deficit by $1.1 trillion over a decade, and produce about a $1.6 trillion budget hole for this year. The plan now goes to Congress, where it’s likely to encounter stiff opposition from Republicans who have said they want deeper cuts and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who will fight for programs and tax breaks benefiting their districts… – The Detroit News, 2-15-11
  • Editorial: The Obama Budget: On paper, President Obama’s new $3.7 trillion budget is encouraging. It makes a number of tough choices to cut the deficit by a projected $1.1 trillion over 10 years, which is enough to prevent an uncontrolled explosion of debt in the next decade and, as a result, reduce the risk of a fiscal crisis.
    The questions are whether its tough choices are also wise choices and whether it stands a chance in a Congress in which Republicans, who now dominate the House, are obsessed with making indiscriminate short-term cuts in programs they never liked anyway. The Republican cuts would eviscerate vital government functions while not having any lasting impact on the deficit.
    What Mr. Obama’s budget is most definitely not is a blueprint for dealing with the real long-term problems that feed the budget deficit: rising health care costs, an aging population and a refusal by lawmakers to face the inescapable need to raise taxes at some point. Rather, it defers those critical issues, in hopes, we assume, that both the economy and the political environment will improve in the future…. – NYT, 2-15-11
  • President Obama’s budget kicks the hard choices further down the road: THE PRESIDENT PUNTED. Having been given the chance, the cover and the push by the fiscal commission he created to take bold steps to raise revenue and curb entitlement spending, President Obama, in his fiscal 2012 budget proposal, chose instead to duck. To duck, and to mask some of the ducking with the sort of budgetary gimmicks he once derided. “The fiscal realities we face require hard choices,” the president said in his budget message. “A decade of deficits, compounded by the effects of the recession and the steps we had to take to break it, as well as the chronic failure to confront difficult decisions, has put us on an unsustainable course.” His budget would keep the country on that course…. – WaPo, 2-15-11

QUOTES

  • The President Unveils a Budget to Win the Future for Our Kids: And I just came to Parkville on a day where we are unveiling our budget, and I’m doing so for a reason. But before I do that I just want to thank Principal Buddy Parker, who is showing us around, as well as Susan Yoder, the eighth grade science teacher who we just visited with in her classroom.
    Over the last few weeks I’ve traveled the country, talking about what we need to do to win the future; talked about the need to invest in innovation, so that the next big idea is discovered here in the United States of America. I’ve talked about the need to invest in high-speed rail and high-speed Internet, so that companies can move goods and information faster than ever. And this week, I’ll be talking about the need to invest in education -– in places like Parkville -– so that every American is equipped to compete with any worker, anywhere in the world.
    These investments are an essential part of the budget my administration is sending to Congress. Because I’m convinced that if we out-build and out-innovate and out-educate, as well as out-hustle the rest of the world, the jobs and industries of our time will take root here in the United States. Our people will prosper and our country will succeed.
    But I’m also convinced that the only way we can make these investments in our future is if our government starts living within its means, if we start taking responsibility for our deficits. That’s why, when I was sworn in as President, I pledged to cut the deficit in half by the end of my first term. The budget I’m proposing today meets that pledge -– and puts us on a path to pay for what we spend by the middle of the decade. We do this in part by eliminating waste and cutting whatever spending we can do without.
    As I start — as a start, I’ve called for a freeze on annual domestic spending over the next five years. This freeze would cut the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade, bringing this kind of spending — domestic discretionary spending — to its lowest share of our economy since Dwight Eisenhower was President. Let me repeat that. Because of our budget, this share of spending will be at its lowest level since Dwight Eisenhower was President. That level of spending is lower than it was under the last three administrations, and it will be lower than it was under Ronald Reagan.
    Now, some of the savings will come through less waste and more efficiency. To take just one example, by getting rid of 14,000 office buildings, lots and government-owned properties we no longer need, we can save taxpayers billions of dollars. And when it comes to programs we do need, we’re making them work better by demanding accountability. Instead of spending first, and asking questions later, we’re rewarding folks inside and outside government who deliver results. And to make sure that special interests aren’t larding up legislation with pet projects, I’ve pledged to veto any bill that contains earmarks.
    Still, even as we cut waste and inefficiency, this budget freeze will require some tough choices. It will mean cutting things that I care deeply about — for example, community action programs in low-income neighborhoods and towns, and community development block grants that so many of our cities and states rely on. But if we’re going to walk the walk when it comes to fiscal discipline, these kinds of cuts will be necessary…. – WH, 2-14-11TranscriptMp4Mp3
  • Jack Lew: The 2012 Budget: Today, the President sent to Congress his budget for the 2012 fiscal year. This document is built around the simple idea that we have to live within our means so we can invest in the future. Only by making tough choices to both cut spending and deficits and invest in what we need to win the future can we out-educate, out-build, and out-innovate the rest of the world.
    This is the seventh Budget that I have worked on at OMB, and it may be the most difficult. It includes more than $1 trillion in deficit reduction – two-thirds from spending cuts — and puts the nation on a path toward fiscal sustainability so that by the middle of the decade, the government will no longer be adding to our national debt as a share of the economy and will be paying for what it spends – and will be able to sustain that for many years afterwards.
    The President has called this budget a down payment because we will still have work to do to pay down the debt and address our long-term challenges. But it is a necessary and critical step for we cannot start to move toward balance and to cutting into the size of our debt until we first stop adding to it – and that is what this Budget does…. – WH, 2-14-11
  • Barack Obama: “The fiscal realities we face require hard choices. A decade of deficits, compounded by the effects of the recession and the steps we had to take to break it, as well as the chronic failure to confront difficult decisions, has put us on an unsustainable course.”
  • Barack Obama: “As we move to rein in our deficits, we must do so in a way that does not cut back on those investments that have the biggest impact on our economic growth, because the best antidote to a growing deficit is a growing economy. So even as we pursue cuts and savings in the months ahead, we must fund those investments that will help America win the race for the jobs and industries of the future – investments in education, innovation, and infrastructure.”
  • Eric Cantor: This week, the House will consider H.R. 1 – historic legislation that will reduce spending by at least $100 billion over the next seven months. This is the largest spending cut in modern history. These are not easy cuts, but we are finally doing what every American has to do both at home and at work – begin a path towards living within our means.
  • John Boehner: President Obama’s latest budget will destroy jobs by spending too much, borrowing too much, & taxing too much. The American people have made it clear they want Washington’s job-crushing spending binge to end. To help our economy get back to creating jobs, we need to liberate it from the shackles of Big Government and out-of-control spending. H.R. 1, on the House floor this week, will help do this.
  • Mitch McConnell: Senator McConnell comments on the President’s Budget: After two years of failed Stimulus programs and Democrats in Washington competing to outspend each other, we just can’t afford to do all the things the administration wants to do. The President has said he wants us to ‘Win the Future.’ But this budget abdicates the future. It simply spends too much, taxes too much, and borrows too much.
  • Sarah Palin: The Truth Behind the White House’s Budget Spin: Today the White House finally produced its proposal for the 2012 budget. Beware of the left’s attempt to sell this as “getting tough on the deficit,” because as an analysis from Americans for Tax Reform shows, the White House’s plans are more about raising taxes and growing more government than reducing budget shortfalls.
    The fine print reveals a White House proposal to increase taxes by at least $1.5 trillion over the next decade. If you want to know how minuscule their proposed $775 million-a-year budget “cuts” really are, please look at this chart. The proposed cuts are so insignificant – less than 1/10 of 1% of this year’s $1.65 trillion budget deficit – that they are essentially invisible on the pie chart. That speaks volumes about today’s budget.
    UPDATE: As J.D. Foster of the Heritage Foundation points out: “…the President proposes a budget that keeps the federal government on a thoroughly irresponsible and unsustainable course.” Please read the Heritage Foundation article and understand the $775 million in proposed cuts noted above are what the White House’s budget director Jacob Lew identified as reflecting what they perceive as some “tough calls.” Yet, as noted, they are a drop in the bucket; and the White House’s total proposed cuts for this year are still not at all enough to make us solvent.

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

  • What the Budget Cuts Say About Obama: President Obama’s proposed budget would cut the deficit by $1.1 trillion in 10 years, with about two-thirds coming from spending cuts and one-third from added revenue. The House Republicans have called for much broader cuts of $2.5 trillion in 10 years.
    Both plans are primarily political statements, since neither is likely to be carried out without significant compromise. While the G.O.P. has long promoted itself as the party of fiscal conservatism, neither it nor the president makes cuts to costly entitlements like Medicare and Social Security.
    How is Mr. Obama positioning himself in the battle to define his party as fiscally responsible? His plan cuts programs that liberals support, like Pell grants, home-heating aid and environmental spending. What do these cuts say about his political strategy or approach?… –
  • Tevi Troy Senior Fellow, the Hudson Institute; Former Deputy HHS secretary Obama’s budget a deficit enabler?: It boggles the mind that the Obama administration would put forward a budget with a trillion dollar deficit that does not address the long-term fiscal morass facing our entitlement programs. Blaming the Republicans for not coming forward with more specific cuts first will not fly; in the strange Kabuki dance of the budget process, it is incumbent on the administration to release its own budget first. Republicans will have their own chance, in the form of the forthcoming battle over the annual Congressional Budget Resolution, to show where they stand on the issue. – Politico, 2-14-11

Senator Joseph Lieberman Retiring in 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.

SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN RETIRING IN 2012

  • Joe Lieberman to retire in 2012: Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) will retire in 2012, according to two Democratic sources familiar with the decision. Lieberman is expected to announce his decision tomorrow.
  • No Fifth Term for Lieberman: Mr. Lieberman, 68, whose term is up in January 2013, has chosen to retire rather than face a difficult campaign for re-election, according to aides and others who spoke to the senator on Tuesday.
    “He believes that if he were to run for re-election it’d be a tough fight,” said Marshall Wittmann, a member of Mr. Lieberman’s Senate staff. “He’s confident he could’ve won that fight. He’s had tough fights before. But he wants to have a new chapter in his life.”
    News of Mr. Lieberman’s plans surfaced on the same day that Senator Kent Conrad, Democrat of North Dakota, announced he would retire.
    Democrats say the decision by Mr. Lieberman, which his office declined to confirm, increases the likelihood that their party will capture his seat next year. Among other things, Democrats noted that President Obama, who won Connecticut overwhelmingly in 2008, would be on the ballot in 2012…. – NYT, 1-18-11
  • Lieberman Decision Could Set Off a Wild Race: Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut plans to announce Wednesday he will not seek a fifth term in office, setting the stage for what will likely be a wide-open Democratic primary and perhaps another deep-pocketed campaign by former wrestling executive Linda McMahon.
    Mr. Lieberman’s decision would end a remarkable and unusual political career when his current term expires in January 2013. His independence has made him an important factor in close Senate votes, but it has not endeared him to the Democrats and left-leaning independents in his state…. – WSJ, 1-18-11

October 11, 2010: Obama Shuffles Cabinet, Talk of Obama-Hillary Ticket in 2012

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor/Features Editor at HNN. She has a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. Her blog is History Musings

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & 111TH CONGRESS:

President Obama with his Incoming and Outgoing Chiefs of Staff   following the Personel Announcement

President Barack Obama leaves the East Room of the White House after announcing that Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, left, is leaving to return to Chicago and will be replaced on an interim basis by Senior Advisor Pete Rouse, right, October 1, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

IN FOCUS: STATS

  • Poll: Half of voters disapprove of Obama’s job: Half of registered voters nationwide — 50 percent — disapprove of the job President Barack Obama is doing in In that September poll, the same proportion of the national electorate — 50 percent — disapproved of the president’s job performance while 45 percent approved. Five percent were unsure. “The battle lines are drawn for the midterm elections,” says Lee M. Miringoff, director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “President Obama’s approval rating is not a disaster, but it’s not high enough to be a battle cry for many of his fellow Democrats facing the 2010 electorate.” Poughkeepsie Journal, 10-8-10
  • Poll: Republicans remain revved up about Nov. 2 elections: Republicans enjoy a substantial “enthusiasm gap” in which their supporters are more likely to vote in this fall’s elections for control of Congress than Democratic voters, according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll.
    The poll found that 51 percent of Republicans are very enthusiastic about voting, a large edge over the 32 percent of independents who are very enthusiastic and almost twice the 28 percent of Democrats. That large gap – a strong indicator that Republicans are more likely to vote – dominates the landscape despite claims by top Democrats that they’re slowly but surely getting their voters more excited and closing the gap…. – Miami Herald, 10-7-10
  • NEWSWEEK Poll: Anger Unlikely to Be Deciding Factor in Midterms: Self-described “angry voters” no more likely to vote; Democrats trusted more than GOP on key issues: Anger is dominating the current political conversation—especially if you’re an older, whiter, economically anxious voter who dislikes President Barack Obama and tends to prefer Republicans to Democrats. But according to the new NEWSWEEK Poll, there’s little reason to believe that anger alone will be the determining factor in November’s midterm elections.
    Self-described “angry” voters fit a rather predictable political and demographic profile. The survey found that only 14 percent are Democrats. The rest are either Republicans (52 percent) or independents (29 percent), with 42 percent of the angry voters declaring themselves Tea Party supporters. For the midterms, angry voters favor Republican candidates over their Democratic rivals, 73 percent to 19 percent. Three quarters want the GOP to win control of Congress. More than seven in 10 specifically describe themselves as angry with Obama and congressional Democrats, and a full 60 percent see their vote in November as a vote against the president. Compared with voters in general, angry voters are 21 percent more likely to say they’re worried about their economic future. They are 10 percent whiter than voters in general and 7 percent less likely to be under 30…. – Newsweek, 10-1-10
  • Bob Woodward Sheds Light on Possibility of Obama/Clinton 2012 Ticket: Longtime Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward made waves when he said late Tuesday that it was “on the table” for Barack Obama to run with Hillary Clinton instead of Joe Biden as a vice president in 2012. The possibility was actually first written in his book “Obama’s Wars.” “Some of Hillary Clinton’s advisers see it as a real possibility in 2012,” Woodward said on CNN yesterday. In an interview with CBS News chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer on Wednesday, Woodward said the possibility should be taken “seriously, because it’s politics.” “In the book what I lay out when Hillary Clinton was under consideration for Secretary of State, Mark Penn, one of her former top advisers said ‘look, it’s a no-brainer, take the job.’” “‘In 2012, Obama might be in trouble. You represent voting blocks Obama did not during the primaries.’ She did very well with working class, women, Latinos and with seniors,” Woodward said. “Obama might need those groups if he’s in political trouble.” Penn stepped down as chief strategist of Clinton’s presidential campaign in April 2008, though remained involved with the campaign. Mr. Obama named Clinton as his nominee to be Secretary of State on December 1, 2008…. – CBS News, 10-6-10
  • Dumping Biden for Clinton: What Would That Accomplish?: One has to wonder what the White House was thinking when a report leaked that President Barack Obama is thinking about dropping Vice President Joe Biden from the ticket in 2012 and replacing him with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Even though David Axelrod, Mr. Obama’s top White House political strategist, quickly shot down the report as “absolutely” without merit, that would be the case no matter what the truth of the matter. The initial report that the idea was on the table at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., came from the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward, whose Watergate fame in the early 1970s and bevy of books since then demonstrate exquisite White House sources regardless of administration. Mr. Woodward being the reporter who got such a leak gave it credibility. Mr. Axelrod and Hillary Clinton’s aides can say whatever they want, but they are not going to be able to stop the talking. Anyone with a brain had to know that would be the case once Mr. Woodward brought rumors about a job swap with Mr. Biden becoming secretary of State and Ms. Clinton vice president into the public domain. And that raises two intriguing questions: Would the switch be a good idea for the president from either a political or a policy point of view?…. – WSJ, 10-6-10
  • THE HEADLINES….

    President Obama Greets Justice Elena Kagan and Chief Justice John   Roberts Before Justice Kagan's Investiture Ceremony

    President Barack Obama talks with Justice Elena Kagan and Chief Justice John Roberts before Kagan’s Investiture Ceremony at the Supreme Court, October 1, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    • White House staff exodus exposes Obama to charges of disarray More senior staff including defence secretary Robert Gates, and senior advisor David Axelrod, leave their jobs: More senior White House staff are to leave in the next few months, adding to the high exit rate from President Barack Obama’s administration. Political analysts attribute the attrition rate to exhaustion, but Republican opponents blame disarray inside the White House, with an insular team responsible for too many policy failures. The imminent departures include those of defence secretary Robert Gates, who has said he hopes to retire early next year, and Obama’s senior White House adviser, David Axelrod, who is planning a return to his home town of Chicago early next year to concentrate on planning for Obama’s 2012 re-election bid. The White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, has been mentioned in the past few weeks in connection with a range of jobs, including White House adviser or chairman of the Democratic national committee, which runs the party. This follows the departure of the national security adviser, General James Jones, after less than two years in office, as well as almost the entire economics team, of whom Peter Orszag and Christina Romer have already gone. Larry Summers is due to return to Harvard before the end of the year. The chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, left last month to stand for mayor of Chicago…. – Guardian, UK, 10-10-10
    • Obama Ratchets Up Tone Against G.O.P.: With his party facing losses in next month’s election, President Obama pressed his argument Sunday that the opposition is trying to steal the election with secret special-interest money, possibly including money from foreign companies. “Don’t let them hijack your agenda,” President Obama told supporters in Philadelphia at the second of four rallies planned. In a speech to a large rally here and in a new television advertisement, Mr. Obama and the Democrats escalated their efforts to present the Republicans as captive to moneyed interests. But Republicans and their allies fired back, dismissing the assertions as desperate last-minute allegations with no evidence to back them up. “You can’t let it happen,” Mr. Obama told thousands of supporters gathered at a school park in a predominantly African-American, working-class neighborhood in northern Philadelphia. “Don’t let them hijack your agenda. The American people deserve to know who’s trying to sway their elections, and you can’t stand by and let the special interests drown out the voices of the American people.”
      “You don’t know,” he said here. “It could be the oil industry, it could be the insurance industry, it could even be foreign-owned corporations. You don’t know because they don’t have to disclose. Now that’s not just a threat to Democrats, that’s a threat to our democracy.”… – NYT, 10-10-10
    • Obama, Biden Energize Voters at Philadelphia Rally: President Barack Obama, campaigning as if his name were on the ballot, implored voters in Philadelphia stump speech to use the three weeks left in the congressional election campaign to “stay fired up” and go to the polls to prevent a Republican landslide. The president relied on an oft-used speech as he addressed the crowd in the city’s Germantown community with the driving cadences that swept him into the White House two years ago.
      “I think the pundits are wrong. I think we’re going to win. But you’ve got to prove them wrong,” Obama said, jabbing his finger toward the audience. “They’re counting on you staying home. If that happens they win.”… – Fox News, 10-10-10
    • Obama: GOP plan to cut funding will hurt education: Offering voters a reason to keep Democrats in power on Capitol Hill, President Barack Obama says Republicans would cut education spending and put the country’s economic future at risk if they had their way. A quality education is paramount, Obama said. He suggested that federal spending on education is one area where he would not compromise. “What I’m not prepared to do is shortchange our children’s education,” Obama said Saturday in his weekly radio and Internet address….
      In his weekly message, Obama acknowledged that the country faces tight fiscal times, but he said a good education is too important to the country’s future prosperity to do it on the cheap.
      “At a time when most of the new jobs being created will require some kind of higher education, when countries that out-educate us today will out-compete us tomorrow, giving our kids the best education is an economic imperative,” he said…. – AP, 10-9-10
    • Jones an awkward fit in Obama circle: The question about James L. Jones was never whether he would be among the first senior officials to depart the Obama administration. The question was always how soon. Jones was the obvious outsider in the White House he called “Obama Nation,” a rarified land populated by veterans of the rough-and-tumble 2008 presidential campaign. A generation older than the president and those immediately around him, Jones is a retired Marine general of stature and experience who believes in the hierarchy of command and the inherent wisdom of orderly decision making…. – WaPo, 10-9-10
    • Economy loses 95K jobs due to government layoffs: A wave of government layoffs in September outpaced weak hiring in the private sector, pushing down the nation’s payrolls by a net total of 95,000 jobs. The unemployment rate held at 9.6 percent last month, the Labor Department said Friday. The jobless rate has now topped 9.5 percent for 14 straight months, the longest stretch since the 1930s. The report is the final one before the November elections, which means members of Congress will face voters next month who are frustrated with an economy that is still struggling to create jobs. The figure that may matter most is 18,000 — the number of positions lost after subtracting the 77,000 temporary census jobs that ended in September. That marks the first loss for that grouping since last December, according to economists at Nomura Securities…. – 10-8-10
    • Analysis: Jobs report is bleak news for Democrats: The die is cast, and it’s grim news for the Democrats. There’s nothing now that Congress or President Barack Obama can do to before the November midterm elections to jolt the nation’s stagnant economy. Friday’s government report — the last major economic news before the midterm elections — showed the nation continued to lose jobs last month, reinforcing the bleak reality that it probably will be years — not months — before employment returns to pre-recession levels below 6 percent. That tightens the pressure on Democrats ahead of the Nov. 2 elections. And it also casts a dark shadow well into the 2012 election season and beyond. “We won’t see under 6 percent for five years,” David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor’s in New York, said Friday after the Labor Department reported that 95,000 more jobs were lost in September and the unemployment rate held at 9.6 percent. “It’s going to be a slow recovery.”…. – AP, 10-8-10
    • Obama economic trends on right track despite job losses: President Barack Obama said Friday economic trends were favorable despite a net loss of jobs in September, after officials released the last unemployment data before mid-term elections. Obama also attacked Republican policies which he said were hampering his capacity to ease the unemployment crisis, less than four weeks ahead of congressional polls in which his Democrats fear heavy losses.
      The president chose to highlight the fact that the economy had now produced “nine straight months of private sector jobs growth” but admitted “that news is tempered by a net job loss in September.”
      “The Republican position doesn’t make much sense, especially since the weakness in public sector employment is a drag on the private sector as well,” Obama said, after touring a small business in suburban Maryland. “The trendline in private sector jobs growth is moving in the right direction,” he said, but added he was not interested in trends or figures but the people behind them…. – AFP, 10-8-10
    • US sends $727 million to community health centers: The Obama administration on Friday announced $727 million will go to help fix up community health centers across the country, the first of $11 billion for the centers promised by the U.S. healthcare reform law. The money will go to 143 community health centers — which provide services regardless of patients’ ability to pay — in about 40 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico, the Health and Human Services department said…. – Reuters, 10-8-10
    • James Jones to step down as national security advisor: The retired Marine general will be replaced by his deputy, Tom Donilon, an administration official says. The move comes amid a larger turnover in the Obama White House…. – LAT, 10-8-10
    • Year After Obama Won Nobel, World Looks for Signs of Peace Increased Fighting in Afghanistan, Stalled Negotiations in Middle East: One year after the Nobel prize jury made its controversial decision to award President Obama the prize for world peace, a larger jury is still waiting for the president to live up to those lofty expectations. Even some of Obama’s allies — like former Nobel laureates Al Gore and Jimmy Carter — declined to assess his performance in fulfilling what the peace prize citation said was his “vision” of world harmony.
      The one year anniversary of Obama’s prize comes as fighting is escalating in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq continues to smolder and Obama struggles to keep fledgling Middle East peace talks from collapsing. Drones are firing missiles in unprecedened numbers and confrontations with Iran and North Korea are hotter than ever…. – ABC News, 10-8-10
    • Obama sends foreclosure docs bill back to Congress: President Barack Obama has rejected a bill that the White House fears could worsen the mounting problems caused by flawed or misleading documents used by banks in home foreclosures. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday that Obama is sending a newly passed bill back to Congress to be fixed because the current version has “unintended consequences on consumer protections.” The bill would loosen the process for providing a notary’s seal to documents and allow them to be done electronically. Obama will not sign a bill that would allow foreclosure and other documents to be accepted among multiple states. Consumer advocates and state officials had argued the legislation would make it difficult for homeowners to challenge foreclosure documents prepared in other states…. – AP, 10-7-10
    • Christie Halts Train Tunnel, Citing Its Cost: The largest public transit project in the nation, a commuter train tunnel under the Hudson River to Manhattan, was halted on Thursday by Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey because, he said, the state could not afford its share of the project’s rising cost. Gov. Chris Christie said that his state could not afford the rising cost of the multibillion-dollar project. Work had already started. Mr. Christie’s decision stunned other government officials and advocates of public transportation because work on the tunnel was under way and $3 billion of federal financing had already been arranged — more money than had been committed to any other transit project in America…. – NYT, 10-7-10
    • Spill Panel Finds U.S. Was Slow to React: The Obama administration was slow to ramp up its response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, then overreacted as public criticism turned the disaster into a political liability, the staff of a special commission investigating the disaster say in papers released Wednesday. In four papers issued by the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, commission investigators fault the administration for giving too much credence to initial estimates that just 1,000 barrels of oil a day were flowing from the ruptured BP PLC well, and for later allowing political concerns to drive decisions such as how to deploy people and material—such as oil-containing boom—to contain the spreading oil. “Though some of the command structure was put in place very quickly, in other respects the mobilization of resources to combat the spill seemed to lag,” the commission investigators found…. – WSJ, 10-6-10
    • U.S. ‘Supportive’ of Peace Talks as Afghans Meet Former Taliban in Kabul: The White House repeated U.S. support for Afghan peace talks with the Taliban as an aide to President Hamid Karzai met former leaders of the guerrilla movement. Education Minister Ghulam Farooq Wardak, a member of a peacemaking council appointed by Karzai, conferred in Kabul this week with ex-officials of the former Taliban regime, Afghanistan’s Pajhwok news agency reported. Pakistani politicians and Arab delegates joined the meeting in the capital, which focused on how best to build a settlement with the insurgency, said a former Taliban official who attended, and who asked not to be named. Karzai’s deputy spokesman, Siamak Herawy, confirmed the meeting, which took place at Kabul’s Serena Hotel, and declined to give details. The Afghan president today summoned his peace council for an inaugural formal meeting on the ninth anniversary of the start of a U.S. bombing campaign that helped force the Taliban from power and install Karzai’s government…. – Bloomberg, 10-6-10
    • Post-election ethics trials set for Rangel, Waters: Ethics trials for two prominent House Democrats were set Thursday for after the midterm elections, depriving Republicans of headlines that could become campaign ads. An angry Rep. Zoe Lofgren, the House ethics committee chairwoman, unilaterally announced the mid-to-late November proceedings for Charles Rangel of New York and Maxine Waters of California. Lofgren, D-Calif., in a written statement, said the five Republicans on the 10-member committee blindsided her last week — when they publicly requested pre-election trials. Republicans made the request while Lofgren was flying from California to Washington. The disagreement has for the moment seriously damaged efforts to run the ethics committee without the partisan rancor evident in most House proceedings…. – AP, 10-7-10
    • Obama asks New Jersey donors for help: President Barack Obama asked wealthy donors Wednesday to help him close an “enthusiasm gap” with Republicans four weeks ahead of pivotal midterm elections. Speaking at a small dinner fundraiser, the president acknowledged that Democrats have a disadvantage because of the high unemployment rate, which he said would inevitably be blamed on the party in power. “Right now all the reports out there are that the main challenge we have is closing an enthusiasm gap between the Democrats and the Republicans,” the president said. “We’re not finished unless we lose sight of that long game and start sulking and sitting back and not doing everything we need to do in terms of making sure our folks turn out.”… – AP, 10-6-10
    • Obama awards Medal of Honor to Green Beret who died in Afghanistan: ‘America is forever in your debt,’ the president tells the parents of Staff Sgt. Robert J. Miller, an Illinois man credited with saving more than 20 U.S. and Afghan troops as he was dying. Full text: Obama awards Medal of Honor
      President Obama awarded the Medal of Honor on Wednesday to Army Staff Sgt. Robert J. Miller, who died in Afghanistan after exposing himself to enemy fire and saving the lives of more than 20 U.S. and Afghan troops. Obama presented the award — the nation’s highest military recognition — to Miller’s parents during a somber ceremony in the East Room of the White House. More than 100 of Miller’s friends and family attended the ceremony. “You gave your oldest son to America, and America is forever in your debt,” Obama told Miller’s parents, Phil and Maureen Miller. The 24-year-old Green Beret was raised in Wheaton, Ill., and “born to lead,” Obama said, noting that Miller earned two Army Commendation Medals during his first tour in Afghanistan.
      “It has been said that courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point,” Obama said at the ceremony. “For Rob Miller, that testing point came three years ago, deep in a snowy Afghan valley.”… – LAT, 10-6-10
    • Rick Sanchez Tells Jon Stewart Sorry, Wife Says: Former CNN anchor Rick Sanchez apologized to “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart Monday, four days after the journalist called the comedian a bigot during a satellite radio interview, according to a post on the Facebook page for Sanchez’s wife (account required). Suzanne Sanchez wrote that her husband was “caught up in the banter and deeply apologizes to anyone who was offended by his unintended comments.” “they had a good talk,” Suzanne Sanchez wrote. “jon was gracious and called rick, ‘thin-skinned.’ he’s right. rick feels horrible that in an effort to make a broader point about the media, his exhaustion from working 14 hr days for 2 mo. straight, caused him to mangle his thought process inartfully.”…. – CBS News, 10-5-10
    • New high court era: Kagan makes 3 women on bench: The Supreme Court began a new era Monday with three women serving together for the first time, Elena Kagan taking her place at the end of the bench and quickly joining in the give-and-take. In a scene that will repeat itself over the next few months, Kagan left the courtroom while the other justices remained to hear a case in which she will take no part. She has taken herself out of 24 pending cases, including the second of the two argued Monday, because of her work as the Obama administration’s solicitor general prior to joining the court in August…. – AP, 10-4-10
    • Kagan fills seats, makes her mark on first day of court term: Their membership has changed, and they haven’t sat together in months. Yet on Monday when Supreme Court justices took up the first case of the term, they quickly fell into familiar patterns. And newest Justice Elena Kagan was right in there with them…. – USA Today, 10-4-10
    • Justice Kagan makes her mark on day one, then has to go: Justice Elena Kagan made the most of her first day on the Supreme Court bench before reluctantly vanishing behind the burgundy curtains — leaving behind her bench-mates. The high court opened its new term Monday hearing oral arguments in two relatively low-profile appeals, but Kagan sat out the second case. It is one of 25 petitions from which the 50-year-old justice has so far recused herself. Because of her recent service as the Obama administration’s solicitor general, Kagan has decided to avoid any conflict of interest by withdrawing from cases the Obama administration had been involved in briefing. This means she will not sit on the bench during arguments or vote on the outcome of cases. The solicitor general works in the Justice Department as the government’s chief advocate before the high court…. – CNN, 10-4-10
    • Obama’s economic board members challenge him on taxes: The conversation was supposed to be about education and community colleges, but two Republicans on President Obama’s economic recovery advisory board challenged him this afternoon on his tax policies. Martin Feldstein and William Donaldson, who date to the Reagan and second Bush administrations, respectively, urged Obama not to raise taxes on the wealthiest 2% of Americans, as the president has proposed. No surprise? Well, Donaldson endorsed Obama in 2008, and Feldstein supported his economic stimulus plan in 2009. So they’re not conservative die-hards…. – USA Today, 10-4-10
    • Obama slams GOP over tax and spending cut plans: Intending to talk about colleges and worker training, President Barack Obama on Monday suddenly found himself in a spirited, election-year debate with a business advisory group about whose tax cuts should be extended and for how long. At a meeting of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, Harvard economist Martin Feldstein pressed Obama to keep all the Bush-era tax cuts, not just the middle-class cuts the president wants to extend. “That would give a boost to confidence,” Feldstein declared. SEC Chairman William Donaldson added that an extension would allay business and consumer uncertainty.
      Obama replied that his stand would benefit 98 percent of American taxpayers. “You’d think (that) would provide some level of certainty,” he said. Obama also reiterated his view that top-income tax brackets would do little to boost the recovery, since the wealthy aren’t holding off buying flat-screen TVs and other big-ticket purchases for lack of a tax cut. Plus, he said, those tax cuts are unaffordable. “If we were going to spend $700 billion, it seems it would be wiser having that $700 billion going to folks who would spend that money right away,” he said. Obama dismissed the notion that the well-off — he included himself — would simply “take our ball and go home” if they didn’t continue to get a big tax cut…. – AP, 10-4-10
    • Jon Stewart responds to Rick Sanchez comments: “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart had a good laugh at Rick Sanchez’s expense this weekend, making light of the former CNN anchor’s recent departure over controversial comments he made about Jews and Stewart. However, Stewart did have a solution for Sanchez: “All he has to do is apologize to us,” he said, “and we’ll hire him back.” Not to be outdone, David Letterman made a surprise cameo at the benefit, telling Stewart that he decided to stop by because he was in the neighborhood, “helping Rick Sanchez clean out his office.”… – CNN, 1-4-10
    • Emanuel Says He’s Preparing Run For Chicago Mayor: Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel announced Sunday that he’s preparing to run for mayor of Chicago, a position widely known as being one he has long desired. Emanuel made the announcement in a video posted Sunday on his website, ChicagoforRahm.com. He had been careful not to launch his candidacy from Washington and headed to Chicago immediately after his resignation was announced by President Barack Obama on Friday.
      In the video, Emanuel said he’s embarking on a “Tell It Like It Is” listening tour of Chicago. “As I prepare to run for mayor, I’m going to spend the next few weeks visiting our neighborhoods at grocery stores, L stops, bowling alleys, and hot dog stands,” Emanuel said. The two-minute video shows a relaxed Emanuel sitting behind a desk wearing a white shirt that’s open at the collar and a dark jacket. Behind him is a photo of his family and several books…. – NPR, 10-3-10
    • Liberal coalition rallies in Washington for jobs, education: A coalition of liberal and progressive groups, including unions and civil rights activists, rallied in Washington Saturday to press for good jobs, immigration and education reform and to make a show of strength one month out from midterm elections. The “One Nation Working Together” rally was held at the Lincoln Memorial, just five weeks after Tea Party enthusiasts met in Washington.
      NAACP President Ben Jealous told CNN the “One Nation” movement is not “the alternative to the Tea Party, we’re the antidote to the Tea Party.”…. – CNN, 10-2-10
    • Big crowd gathers for liberal rally in Washington: Tens of thousands of people rallied near the Lincoln Memorial in the U.S. capital on Saturday as liberal groups attempted to energize their base a month before pivotal congressional elections.
      The rally, held under sunny skies, was billed as “One Nation Working Together” and followed a large rally by conservatives at the same site just over a month earlier. Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO labor organization, urged the crowd to “promise that you’ll make your voices heard, for good jobs and justice and education today and on Election Day.”…. – Reuters, 10-2-10
    • DC rally shows support for struggling Democrats: Tapping into anger as the tea party movement has done, a coalition of progressive and civil rights groups marched Saturday on the Lincoln Memorial and pledged to support Democrats struggling to keep power on Capitol Hill.
      “We are together. This march is about the power to the people,” said Ed Schultz, host of “The Ed Show” on MSNBC. “It is about the people standing up to the corporations. Are you ready to fight back?”
      In a fiery speech that opened the “One Nation Working Together” rally on the National Mall, Schultz blamed Republicans for shipping jobs overseas and curtailing freedoms. He borrowed some of conservative commentator Glenn Beck’s rhetoric and vowed to “take back our country.”
      “This is a defining moment in America. Are you American?” Schultz told the raucous crowd of thousands. “This is no time to back down. This is time to fight for America.”… – AP, 10-2-10
    • Obama promotes clean energy; GOP hits Dem spending: Wind, solar and other clean energy technologies produce jobs and are essential for the country’s environment and economy, President Barack Obama said in promoting his administration’s efforts. The president used his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday, a month away from congressional elections, to charge Republicans with wanting to scrap incentives for such projects.
      “That’s what’s at stake in this debate,” the president said. “We can go back to the failed energy policies that profited the oil companies but weakened our country. We can go back to the days when promising industries got set up overseas. Or we can go after new jobs in growing industries. And we can spur innovation and help make our economy more competitive.”
      “With projects like this one and others across this country, we are staking our claim to continued leadership in the new global economy,” Obama said. “And we’re putting Americans to work producing clean, homegrown American energy that will help lower our reliance on foreign oil and protect our planet for future generations.”… – AP, 10-2-10
    • Rouse wastes no time in first day on job: The Pete Rouse era began shortly before noon on Friday. It didn’t take long before the White House started feeling the difference. Rouse, ushered in as interim White House chief of staff by President Obama in the East Room, called his first senior staff meeting for that afternoon – and scheduled it to last just 10 minutes. It is typical Rouse, advisers said: swift and to the point, without leaving room for people to show off or hold endless debates.
      “If a meeting should take 10 minutes, Pete is not going to make it go 11,” one senior administration official said. “Pete does not want to meet for the sake of meeting.” Rouse will soon move into the large corner office being vacated by Rahm Emanuel, whose resignation Obama announced Friday during an emotional farewell…. – WaPo, 10-1-10
    • Rahm Emanuel: Why Chicago mayor bid may be his toughest race yet: Rahm Emanuel was sent off from his post as White House chief of staff by President Obama on Friday. Political analysts say he won’t have it easy trying to win the race for Chicago mayor…. – CS Monitor, 10-1-10
    • Peter Rouse: out of the shadows and into the limelight Low-key troubleshooter is losing his cherished anonymity to take over as Obama’s chief of staff: Reporting from Washington — Many of the unpleasant little tasks that a White House confronts — nudging an aide out the door, perhaps, or helping a senator find someone a job — tend to wind up on Pete Rouse’s desk. Rouse, 64, a low-key troubleshooter and consummate backroom player whose work is seldom publicized, is being elevated to a post in which he may lose some of his cherished anonymity: White House chief of staff. Rouse will succeed Rahm Emanuel, who is leaving to run for mayor of Chicago. It’s an interim appointment, although White House aides say Rouse could end up getting the post on a permanent basis…. – LAT, 10-1-10
    • Chicago aldermen offended by Emanuel’s royal send-off: President Obama’s royal send-off for Rahm Emanuel may have played well in Washington today, but it laid an egg at Chicago’s City Hall. Some aldermen were downright offended by what they perceived to be Obama’s attempt to dictate Chicago’s next mayor by praising his departing chief of staff to the hilt.
      Others went so far as to advise the president of the United States to butt out or risk a political backlash.
      “The resentment is someone who appears to come in from out of state with a bunch of money — and no significant ties to the South or the West Side — and appearing to clout and buy his way into an election,” said Ald. Howard Brookins (21st). “It would be a mistake if the President goes out for Rahm Emanuel. In communities of color, I don’t believe Rahm has shown himself to be the peoples’ candidate. And I don’t know that Rahm being forced down our throats is the right thing to do.”
      Ald. George Cardenas (12th) went public with sentiment that his suddenly liberated colleagues have been expressing privately ever since Mayor Daley announced his political retirement…. – Chicago Sun-Times
    • White House defends economic stimulus plan: President Barack Obama’s $814 billion economic stimulus plan is meeting its targets for spending and job creation, White House officials said on Friday, however unpopular it may be with the public. Seventy percent of the plan’s funds were paid out by Sept. 30, with $308 billion spent and $243 billion in tax breaks provided, they said, adding that every spending deadline Congress set for the funds was met on time or ahead of schedule, with little fraud or abuse.
      Polls have shown the plan is unpopular with much of the public and has fallen short of expectations for the economy, even though the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates it boosted real gross domestic product in the second quarter by up to 4.5 percent and raised employment by up to 3.3 million jobs…. – Reuters, 10-1-10
    • CNN’s Sanchez out after controversial comments: CNN anchor Rick Sanchez abruptly left the network Friday afternoon, just one day after making controversial comments on a satellite radio program. “Rick Sanchez is no longer with the company,” according to a statement from CNN. “We thank Rick for his years of service and we wish him well.”
      On Thursday, Sanchez appeared on the XM Sirius radio program “Stand-Up with Pete Dominick.” During the interview with Dominick, Sanchez called “The Daily Show’s” Jon Stewart “a bigot” and then said that he was bigoted against “everybody else who’s not like him. Look at his show, I mean, what does he surround himself with?” Dominick pressed for specifics, and Sanchez, who is Cuban-American, responded, “That’s what happens when you watch yourself on his show every day, and all they ever do is call you stupid.” Dominick, who was once the warm-up comic at Stewart’s Comedy Central show and now has a spot on CNN’s “John King, USA,” noted that Stewart is Jewish and so a minority himself. “I’m telling you that everybody who runs CNN is a lot like Stewart, and a lot of people who run all the other networks are a lot like Stewart, and to imply that somehow they, the people in this country who are Jewish, are an oppressed minority? Yeah,” Sanchez responded…. – CNN, 10-1-10

    ELECTIONS 2010, 2012….

    Stephen Crowley/The New York TimesRecommend
    “Don’t let them hijack your agenda,” President Obama told supporters in Philadelphia at the second of four rallies planned.

    • Democratic struggles could cost handful of contests: Rick Snyder may be House Democrats’ biggest nightmare. The Michigan Republican, a former head of the Gateway computer company, is running way ahead of Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero (D) in the Wolverine State’s gubernatorial race. (A poll released Sunday gave him a 20-point advantage.) Such a wide margin for Snyder creates the potential for a down-ballot sweep that could wash out Democrats’ chances in two hotly contested House districts.
      State Rep. Gary McDowell (D) and surgeon Dan Benishek (R) are competing for retiring Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak’s seat in the 1st District – a swing district in northern Michigan that Barack Obama won with just 50 percent two years ago…. – WaPo, 10-10-10
    • Paladino Laces Speech With Antigay Remarks: The Republican candidate for governor, Carl P. Paladino, told a gathering in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, on Sunday that children should not be “brainwashed” into thinking that homosexuality was acceptable, and criticized his opponent, Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo, for marching in a gay pride parade earlier this year. Addressing Orthodox Jewish leaders, Mr. Paladino described his opposition to same-sex marriage. “I just think my children and your children would be much better off and much more successful getting married and raising a family, and I don’t want them brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option — it isn’t,” he said, reading from a prepared address, according to a video of the event. And then, to applause at Congregation Shaarei Chaim, he said: “I didn’t march in the gay parade this year — the gay pride parade this year. My opponent did, and that’s not the example we should be showing our children.” Newsday.com reported that Mr. Paladino’s prepared text had included the sentence: “There is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual.” But Mr. Paladino omitted the sentence in his speech…. – NYT, 10-10-10
    • Feingold defends health care vote in debate: Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold is defending his vote for health care reform, saying Republican challenger Ron Johnson wants to wipe out a program that saves people from being at the mercy of insurance companies. The Democratic incumbent is seeking his fourth term, though polls show him slightly trailing Johnson, a political newcomer. The two met Friday in Milwaukee for the first of three debates ahead of the Nov. 2 election…. – AP, 10-10-10
    • Paul: Wealthy should pay more for Medicare plan: Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul raised the idea Sunday that wealthier people like his opponent, the co-owner of a Kentucky Derby horse, should pay more for Medicare coverage. Paul also warned in a speech in his hometown that unless the U.S. starts dealing with its mounting debt, it could eventually face the same chaos that erupted in Greece when violent protests rocked that debt-plagued country. Paul said his Democratic opponent Jack Conway has ducked serious discussions about shoring up entitlement programs facing mounting financial strain as baby boomers retire and live longer. He also accused Conway of vilifying him in television ads showing clips of Paul once seeming to tout the idea of a $2,000 Medicare deductible…. – AP, 10-10-10
    • Kirk, Giannoulias debate on ‘Meet the Press’: The leading contenders for Illinois’ open U.S. Senate seat debated their character issues Sunday on TV, with Democrat Alexi Giannoulias insisting he knew little about convicted felons who got loans from his family bank and Republican Mark Kirk acknowledging he is accountable for embellishing his military record. Credibility has been a campaign-long theme for both men, and a recent Tribune/WGN-TV poll showed voters have difficulty trusting either in the neck-and-neck race for the Senate seat formerly held by President Barack Obama. The contest has national symbolism for both parties in the struggle for control of Congress and as a referendum on Obama. Moderator David Gregory focused on the trust issue and Obama’s policies during the half-hour debate with the two candidates on “Meet the Press” that included excerpts from attack ads used by both sides…. – Chicago Tribune, 10-10-10
    • Sen. Brown stumps for Conn. GOP Senate candidate: U.S. Sen. Scott Brown told a crowd of several hundred on Saturday that Connecticut voters can make history and shake up the Democratic establishment — just like when he was elected in Massachusetts — if they send Linda McMahon to Washington.
      Brown said the Republican newcomer, best known as the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, is a political outsider who is “not beholden to anybody, who doesn’t owe anybody anything.” He said McMahon won’t be “in lockstep” with either the Democratic or Republican Senate leaders, and will fight for Connecticut voters. “Ever since Jan. 19 there’s a very, very powerful message that was sent, not only to Beacon Hill in Massachusetts but to Capitol Hill: That people are tired, they’re hurting, they’ve had enough,” said Brown, referring to his surprise victory last winter when he rode a wave of voter anger with Democrats and Washington and won the seat held by the late Democratic U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. “They want somebody who is going to be working and looking out for their interests and not the special interests and you guys have a great chance, a great chance,” he said. “The state of Connecticut has a chance to be part of history.”… – AP, 10-9-10
    • Tea party fuels GOP midterm enthusiasm, action: President Obama and Vice President Biden will travel to Philadelphia on Sunday for another rally designed to energize Democratic voters. The crowd at their Madison, Wis., rally last month was impressive, and this one may be, too. But any way you cut it, the Republicans still have the advantage in enthusiasm this fall, thanks in large measure to the tea party movement. The latest evidence comes in another of a long series of surveys conducted by The Washington Post, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard University. What it shows is that tea party supporters and other conservatives are the most energized and are prepared to work the hardest to persuade friends and neighbors to vote Nov. 2…. – WaPo, 10-9-10
    • Jerry Brown reinvents himself as elder statesman: Jerry Brown sees himself as a regular guy who buys his suits on sale, drives around in a Ford Crown Victoria and enjoys dinner at home with his wife. What he wants Californians to see past is the Jerry Brown of three decades ago who was derisively dubbed “Governor Moonbeam.”
      The 72-year-old Democrat, locked in a close race with Republican Meg Whitman for governor, is determined to project an everyman image, a far cry from the eccentric Californian who romanced singer Linda Ronstadt along with a few other Hollywood actresses, recited poetry on the campaign trail and moved to Japan to study in a Buddhist monastery.
      Brown faces businesswoman and political novice Whitman, the billionaire former head of eBay who has spent more than $121 million of her own money in her bid to lead the nation’s most populous state, which has been wracked by ongoing budget crises…. – AP, 10-8-10
    • Will Brown aide’s slur of Meg Whitman tip California governor’s race?: Recent polls had shown Jerry Brown opening a slight lead over Meg Whitman. Putting him on the defensive could give her a boost. Meg Whitman was the target of ‘salty’ language by a Jerry Brown campaign aide in a voice mail released Thursday. Someone from Jerry Brown’s camp has been caught on tape using an extremely inelegant term to refer to opponent Meg Whitman. Will this remark make a difference in the already-heated California gubernatorial race? Well, we won’t know for some time whether it has an effect on the polls. The Brown-Whitman contest is already a boiling cauldron of charges and counter-charges, so the airing of the slur may make the tone of the campaign only marginally harsher. But this slip by a Brown aide may give Whitman a much-needed chance to get past the issue of whether she knowingly employed an illegal immigrant as a housekeeper. For the media there’s a new flap in town – what did Brown know about the use of this language, and how did he respond to it?…. – CS Monitor, 10-8-10
    • GOP pulling W.Va. Senate ad with ‘hicky’ actors: National Republicans pulled back a West Virginia Senate ad Thursday after Democrats revealed its casting call had sought actors who looked like hicks to play state voters. The 30-second spot, filmed in Philadelphia, was dropped from the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s YouTube channel Thursday. Republicans expected it to also be withdrawn from TV, where it has been in heavy rotation since Tuesday, according to a party official not directly involved in handling the ad. The official was not authorized to comment and requested anonymity. The ad showed men in flannel shirts and baseball caps worrying that Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin would side with President Barack Obama if elected to the Senate….. – AP, 10-7-10
    • G.O.P. Senate Odds Improve for Third Consecutive Week: Democrats are on the verge of locking up several Senate races in the Northeast, including one in Connecticut that some analysts had considered a toss-up. But Republicans have gained ground overall in this week’s Senate forecast by virtue of improved polling in Nevada and West Virginia. Their odds of taking over the Senate on Nov. 2 have now improved to 24 percent — up from 22 percent last week and 15 percent three weeks ago, according to the FiveThirtyEight forecast model…. – NYT, 10-7-10
    • Obama urges support for Illinois Senate hopeful: President Barack Obama is working to keep his old Senate seat in Democratic hands, urging a crowd of supporters in his hometown of Chicago to send State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias (jeh-NOO’-lee-ehs) to Washington. Obama called Giannoulias a competitor who can be trusted to fight for the people who elected him. Giannoulias is battling Republican Rep. Mark Kirk in a tight contest.
      The president spoke at a fundraiser at the Drake Hotel. Earlier in the day he was in Maryland campaigning for Gov. Martin O’Malley…. – AP, 10-7-10
    • Obama urges O’Malley supporters to get involved in Maryland: President Barack Obama on Thursday challenged young Democrats at an election rally for Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, saying political pundits were predicting they lacked the enthusiasm of Republicans. “They say their followers are more energized,” Obama told the rally at Bowie State University. “They say you might be willing to let the other folks who left the economy in a shambles go back to Annapolis and go back to Washington.” Adding that he was betting on the young voters to prove the pundits wrong, Obama told the crowd: “Don’t make me look bad.”…. – CNN, 10-7-10
    • Dozens Fall Ill at Obama Rally in Maryland: About three dozen people fell ill at President Obama’s campaign rally at Bowie State University in Bowie, Md., Thursday, WTOP radio reported. The individuals passed out after complaining of “dizziness and fainting,” Prince George’s County fire department spokesman Mark Brady said. Two people were taken to the hospital while the rest were treated at the scene, Brady told the radio station….
      Approximately half an hour into the president’s remarks, another audience member swooned, briefly derailing Obama’s criticisms of Republicans. He leaned away from the microphone. “Can we get a medic up here?” he asked…. – Fox News, 10-7-10
    • Fight for Congress could last past Election Day: The nation may be waiting well beyond Election Day this year to find out who won control of Congress. It’s a troubling ballot-box scenario that has hundreds of lawyers from both parties preparing for battles that could drag on days, weeks or even months past the Nov. 3 day-after. Some states don’t count substantial amounts of votes until after Election Day. Others require mail-in ballots to be postmarked — not received — by Nov. 2, leaving the tally until well afterward. And with polls showing many Republican and Democratic candidates in tight contests, there’s plenty of opportunity for confusion, challenges and recounts that could delay the results and ultimately tip the balance of power on Capitol Hill. A muddled outcome could give rise to yet another kind of election uncertainty. If Republicans emerge from the balloting just short of a Senate majority, their leaders would almost certainly try to prod centrist lawmakers — like Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson or Connecticut independent Joe Lieberman — to switch and hand them control…. – AP, 10-6-10
    • President Trump? Time for 2012 handicapping: Have you heard the one about President Donald Trump? How about the notion that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will replace Vice President Joe Biden on the Democrats’ 2012 ticket? More than a year before the Iowa caucuses, political speculation ranges from the serious to the silly as pundits and prognosticators look ahead to the next presidential election. The open Republican field and the likelihood of President Barack Obama seeking a second term has led to rampant handicapping…. – AP, 10-6-10
    • Kendrick Meek, Charlie Crist battle Marco Rubio in U.S. Senate debate: Marco Rubio got the frontrunner treatment in a combative U.S. Senate debate Wednesday night, with both his rivals attacking him as an extremist out of step with Florida. “It’s abundantly clear that there’s an extreme right faction in the Republican party,” said said independent candidate Charlie Crist. “I’m the only candidate that can both win in November and crash that tea party in Washington.” “You want to take us back to Dick Cheney days,” said Democratic U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, describing Rubio as a “radical” who won’t stand up for middle class Floridians. Rubio, the former state House Speaker from Miami, held his own and cast the race as a choice between two status quo candidates or a Republican who will stand up to the agenda of Barack Obama. “If you like Obamacare, if you like the stimulus plan, you can vote for Charlie Crist or Kendrick Meek. I’m probably not your candidate,” Rubio said….. – Miami Herald, 10-6-10
    • Gallup: Poll of ‘likely voters’ portends big House gains for Republicans Among likely voters, the Republican advantage for this election is at least 13 percentage points, says a new Gallup poll. That’s higher than the three-point GOP edge among registered voters: Gallup gave its first estimates for “likely” voters, rather than registered voters – historically a far better predictor of the actual vote. The results are staggering. While the registered-voter ballot still gives Republicans a slight three-point lead, the Republican advantage jumps – a lot – in the poll of likely voters. Gallup gives estimates for two different likely-voter scenarios – one assuming higher turnout and one lower turnout. If voter turnout is high, Republican candidates have a 13-point advantage. If it’s low, they have a whopping 18-point edge over Democrats. Most voter surveys have shown Republicans to be much more energized about this election, but Gallup’s poll shows by far the biggest gap between registered and likely voters to date. So, what does it mean in terms of numbers? Historically, Gallup’s likely-voter poll correlates closely to the final results for midterm elections in the House. In 1994, when Republicans picked up 54 seats in the House, the last Gallup poll gave Republicans a 7-point lead. According to this model, by the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, the current 13-point lead would translate to Republicans picking up at least 71 seats (86 seats, in the low-turnout model). But that is pretty far outside even the most pro-Republican predictions so far…. – CS Monitor, 10-5-10
    • Republicans Hampered by Low Approval Ratings: Republicans are hanging their midterm election prospects on voters’ frustration with the Democratic Party, but a poll released by National Journal Tuesday indicates people are just as unhappy with Republicans. Six in 10 Americans polled have a negative view of GOP leadership. Perhaps that’s why Republicans have tried to efforts to frame Election Day as a referendum on the Democratic Party, not the GOP. Democratic leaders did only slightly better, with a 30/53 approval/disapproval split — though it is significant to note that their numbers are unchanged since National Journal’s polling in July. Republican disapproval figures have climbed seven points in the same amount of time, and they have the lowest performance rating in the poll’s history…. – CBS News, 10-5-10
    • Christine O’Donnell’s new ad by Republican ad wizard keeps things simple: Christine O’Donnell took to the airwaves on Tuesday with a simple message for Delaware voters: “I’m you.” When O’Donnell recently hired Fred Davis, the Republican ad wizard known for such provocative hits as “Demon Sheep,” many assumed she would use the millions she raised online to launch a shock-and-awe ad offensive. And she still might. But O’Donnell’s first general election ad is decidedly simple. Davis filmed O’Donnell, in pearls and a dark jacket, talking directly to the camera. No bells or whistles.
      “I wanted people to get to know the real Christine,” Davis said in an interview. He said the ad was designed to show “that she was not what everyone thought, that she was an everywoman – with one exception. She was one of us, but was so disappointed in our government that she was moved to action, to try and do something about it.” O’Donnell opens the 30-second spot by saying, “I’m not a witch.” It was a reference to her much-publicized 1999 statement that she dabbled in witchcraft. Davis said he included that line in the script to “once and for all put that behind her, and let people know we’re moving on from that to things that really matter today.”…. – WaPo, 10-5-10
    • Democrats hang on to leads in California: Democratic candidates hold a narrow advantage in the run-up to November’s U.S. congressional elections in California where big-spending Republican Meg Whitman is struggling in the race for governor, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found on Tuesday. As Democratic voters show increased enthusiasm in the country’s most-populous state, Democrat Jerry Brown leads Whitman in the race to succeed Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor, 50 percent to 43 percent…. – Reuters, 10-5-10
    • Donald Trump hints at presidential bid, sort of: Guess what television star is floating a political trial balloon (certainly inflated a bit with his own hot air), looking ahead to the 2012 presidential elections? If you said Donald Trump, you win. The cable airwaves have been chock-a-block with appearances by Trump, the reality television star, real estate developer, celebrity, beauty pageant mogul and self-promoter. He has even injected himself into the recent dispute over a Muslim community center and mosque near the former World Trade Center, destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001 in a terrorist attack. Trump has offered to buy the site. Just this week, the media was again filled with discussions of Trump after word of a poll in New Hampshire, an early state in the presidential sweepstakes, included questions about Trump, host of “The Apprentice,” now in another season on NBC…. – LAT, 10-5-10
    • US Election Results Could Affect Foreign Policy: U.S. voters will elect a new Congress on November 2, and public opinion polls indicate the domestic economy will be the top issue this year. Experts say foreign policy concerns do not appear to be a major factor in the congressional midterm elections. Republican gains in November, though, could have an impact on the conduct of U.S. foreign policy over the next two years. Political experts agree that the economy and worries about the high unemployment rate will be the dominant issues in this year’s election, even though the United States and its allies remain at war in Afghanistan. President Barack Obama would like to begin drawing down U.S. forces in Afghanistan by the middle of next year, battlefield conditions permitting.
      “The pace of our troop reductions will be determined by conditions on the ground and our support for Afghanistan will endure,” said President Obama. But make no mistake. This transition will begin, because open-ended war serves neither our interests nor the Afghan people’s.”…. – VOA, 10-4-10
    • Emanuel hits Chicago streets, makes case for mayor: Last week, Afghanistan. This week, parents protesting the proposed demolition of a park field house. Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel hit the campaign trail on Monday and got a sudden taste of the vastly different agenda he’d face as Chicago’s mayor — and the hurdles he must overcome to be elected. A day after unveiling his campaign on a new Website, Emanuel hit the streets, vowing to “hear from Chicagoans — in blunt and honest terms” what they want from their next mayor. Many were happy just to shake hands, exchange hugs, or drink coffee with President Barack Obama’s hard-charging former right hand man. But he also faced skepticism about his intentions, loyalties and whether he even has the legal right to run to lead a city he hasn’t lived in for nearly two years. A few of his potential rivals also surfaced in public, though they insisted it had nothing to do with him….. – AP, 10-4-10
    • Democrat Feingold runs ad touting health care vote: Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin boldly embraces and defends his vote for the health care reform law in his latest campaign television ad, even as other Democrats avoid the topic and Republicans rail against it. Feingold’s Republican opponent, Ron Johnson, has his own ad taking Feingold to task for the March vote, saying Feingold went against the wishes of Wisconsin residents…. – AP, 10-4-10
    • Immigration dominates Whitman-Brown debate: Republican Meg Whitman and Democrat Jerry Brown clashed in an impassioned, sometimes angry gubernatorial debate Saturday in which immigration dominated the harsh exchanges and stoked the fallout from Whitman’s admission last week that she had employed an undocumented immigrant. San Francisco Chronicle, 10-3-10
    • Jewish voters don’t reflexively back Rahm Emanuel for Chicago mayor: Some local Jewish voters at odds with Emanuel’s role in Obama’s Israel policy, his politics when in Congress — and his coarse language Chicago Tribune, 10-3-10
    • Chicago mayor’s race may be battle of shoe leather: It used to be that getting elected in Chicago meant relying on the ward boss, the precinct captain and the small armies they deployed to fix potholes, hand out frozen turkeys and even drive people to the polls. Court rulings and corruption convictions have ended the primacy of the Machine, leaving get-out-the-vote efforts in the hands of what officials say are volunteers. But the city’s first real mayor’s race in more than two decades will test how far Chicago has advanced since the Machine’s heyday, and how badly big-name, well-funded candidates like Rahm Emanuel still need that old street-level help.
      “Never underestimate the power of the precinct worker,” said Tom Manion, a longtime political operative who directed Mayor Richard M. Daley’s first re-election campaign in 1991. “This is going to be a Generation X campaign with Facebook, Twitter and all that … but you should never forget the power of friend talking to friend, neighbor talking to neighbor.”
      After resigning as White House chief of staff, Emanuel is expected to reintroduce himself to Chicago this week with visits to neighborhoods to meet voters. He easily has greater name recognition than other contenders, and he is among several candidates seeking the support of wealthy businessmen and politicians…. – AP, 10-2-10
    • Democrats hope organizing will counter voters’ apathy: Republicans galvanized by the ‘tea party’ movement have passion on their side as the election approaches. The imperiled majority party mobilizes its get-out-the-vote machine in Nevada and elsewhere…. – LAT, 10-1-10

    POLITICAL QUOTES

    • Weekly Address: President Obama Underscores Commitment to Strengthening Our Education System Remarks of President Barack Obama As Prepared for Delivery Saturday, October 9, 2010 Washington, DC:
      …Now, it is true that when it comes to our budget, we have real challenges to meet. And if we’re serious about getting our fiscal house in order, we’ll need to make some tough choices. I’m prepared to make those choices. But what I’m not prepared to do is shortchange our children’s education. What I’m not prepared to do is undercut their economic future, your economic future, or the economic future of the United States of America.
      Nothing would be more detrimental to our prospects for success than cutting back on education. It would consign America to second place in our fiercely competitive global economy. But China and India aren’t playing for second. South Korea and Germany aren’t playing for second. They’re playing for first – and so should America.
      Instead of being shortsighted and shortchanging our kids, we should be doubling down on them. We should be giving every child in America a chance to make the most of their lives; to fulfill their God-given potential. We should be fighting to lead the global economy in this century, just like we did in the last. And that’s what I’ll continue fighting to do in the months and years ahead. Thanks, everybody, and have a nice weekend. – WH, 10-9-10
    • Rick Sanchez is sorry. Really: In an appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Friday morning, the ousted CNN anchor said flatly that he “screwed up” in calling Jon Stewart a bigot and suggesting that Jews run the networks–comments that cost him his job last week.
      “I apologize and it was wrong for me to be so careless and so inartful,” Sanchez said. “But it happened and I can’t take it back and you know what now I have to stand up and be responsible.”
      The tone was much different than in a statement earlier this week, when Sanchez extended an apology to anyone who “may have been offended.”
      “I was feeling a little bit put out. And I was feeling a little sensitive,” Sanchez said. “And I was looking at the landscape and I was looking and I was seeing [little diversity] and I externalized the problem and I put it on Jon S tewart’s shoulders and I was wrong to do that.”…. – WaPo, 10-8-10
    • Weekly Address: President Obama Lauds Clean Energy Projects as Key to Creating Jobs and Building a Stronger Economy
      Remarks of President Barack Obama Weekly Address The White House October 2, 2010:
      Over the past twenty months, we’ve been fighting not just to create more jobs today, but to rebuild our economy on a stronger foundation. Our future as a nation depends on making sure that the jobs and industries of the 21st century take root here in America. And there is perhaps no industry with more potential to create jobs now – and growth in the coming years – than clean energy.
      For decades, we’ve talked about the importance of ending our dependence on foreign oil and pursuing new kinds of energy, like wind and solar power. But for just as long, progress had been prevented at every turn by the special interests and their allies in Washington….
      It was essential – for our economy, our security, and our planet – that we finally tackle this challenge. That is why, since we took office, my administration has made an historic commitment to promote clean energy technology. This will mean hundreds of thousands of new American jobs by 2012. Jobs for contractors to install energy-saving windows and insulation. Jobs for factory workers to build high-tech vehicle batteries, electric cars, and hybrid trucks. Jobs for engineers and construction crews to create wind farms and solar plants that are going to double the renewable energy we can generate in this country. These are jobs building the future….
      With projects like this one, and others across this country, we are staking our claim to continued leadership in the new global economy. And we’re putting Americans to work producing clean, home-grown American energy that will help lower our reliance on foreign oil and protect our planet for future generations.
      Now there are some in Washington who want to shut them down. In fact, in the Pledge they recently released, the Republican leadership is promising to scrap all the incentives for clean energy projects, including those currently underway – even with all the jobs and potential that they hold.
      This doesn’t make sense for our economy. It doesn’t make sense for Americans who are looking for jobs. And it doesn’t make sense for our future. To go backwards and scrap these plans means handing the competitive edge to China and other nations. It means that we’ll grow even more dependent on foreign oil. And, at a time of economic hardship, it means forgoing jobs we desperately need. In fact, shutting down just this one project would cost about a thousand jobs.
      That’s what’s at stake in this debate. We can go back to the failed energy policies that profited the oil companies but weakened our country. We can go back to the days when promising industries got set up overseas. Or we can go after new jobs in growing industries. And we can spur innovation and help make our economy more competitive. We know the choice that’s right for America. We need to do what we’ve always done – put our ingenuity and can do spirit to work to fight for a brighter future. – WH, 10-2-10
    • Goodbye, Rahm – Remarks by the President at the Departure of Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel: This is a bittersweet day here at the White House. On the one hand, we are all very excited for Rahm as he takes on a new challenge for which he is extraordinarily well qualified. But we’re also losing an incomparable leader of our staff and one who we are going to miss very much.
      When I first started assembling this administration, I knew we were about to face some of the most difficult years this country has seen in generations. The challenges were big and the margin for error was small — two wars, an economy on the brinks of collapse, and a set of tough choices about issues that we had put off for decades; choices about health care and energy and education, how to rebuild a middle class that had been struggling for far too long.
      And I knew that I needed somebody at my side who I could count on, day and night, to help get the job done. In my mind, there was no candidate for the job of chief of staff who would meet the bill as well as Rahm Emanuel. And that’s why I told him that he had no choice in the matter. He was not allowed to say no. It wasn’t just Rahm’s broad array of experiences in Congress and in the White House, in politics and in business. It was also the fact that he just brings an unmatched level of energy and enthusiasm and commitment to every single thing that he does.
      This was a great sacrifice for Rahm and Amy and the family to move out here. Rahm gave up one of the most powerful positions on Capitol Hill to do this. And in the last 20 months, Rahm has exceeded all of my expectations. It’s fair to say that we could not have accomplished what we’ve accomplished without Rahm’s leadership — from preventing a second depression to passing historic health care and financial reform legislation to restoring America’s leadership in the world.
      So for nearly two years, I’ve begun my workday with Rahm. I’ve ended my workday with Rahm. Much to Amy’s chagrin, I’ve intruded on his life at almost any hour of the day, any day of the week, with just enormous challenges. His advice has always been candid; his opinions have always been insightful; his commitment to his job has always been heartfelt, born of a passionate desire to move this country forward and lift up the lives of the middle class and people who are struggling to get there.
      He has been a great friend of mine, and will continue to be a great friend of mine. He has been a selfless public servant. He has been an outstanding chief of staff. I will miss him dearly, as will members of my staff and Cabinet with whom he’s worked so closely and so well. – WH, 10-1-10
      WH, 10-1-10
    • Rahm Emanuel closed his remarks aterwards touching on his own journey, the President’s, and Pete Rouse’s:
      Both my parents raised me to give something back to the country and the community that has given us so much. And I want to thank you for the opportunity to repay in a small portion of the blessings this country has given my family. I give you my word that even as I leave the White House, I will never leave that spirit of service behind. (Applause.)
      Now, because my temperament is sometimes a bit different than yours, Mr. President — (laughter) — I want to thank my colleagues for your patience the last two years that you have shown. I’m sure you’ve learned some words that you’ve never heard before — (laughter) — and in an assortment of combination of words. (Laughter.) What we learned together was what a group of tireless, talented, committed people can achieve together. And as difficult as it is to leave, I do so with the great comfort of knowing that Pete Rouse will be there to lead the operation forward.
      From the moment I arrived, and the moment he arrived, Pete has been a good friend with great judgment. He commands the respect of everyone in this building and brings decades of experience to this assignment.
      Finally, I want to thank my wife Amy and our three remarkable children — Zach, Ilana and Leah — without whose love and support none of this would have been possible. I hope to end this soon so they can all get back to school today and finish their exams. (Laughter.)
      Mr. President, thank you. And thank you all. I look forward to seeing you in Chicago. (Applause.) – WH, 10-1-10
    • Eric Cantor: ‘Things Could Get Pretty Messy’ The man who would be the next House majority leader talks about the GOP agenda and working with Obama: ‘Look, we know we screwed up when we were in the majority. We fell in love with power. We spent way too much money— especially on earmarks. There was too much corruption when we ran this place. We were guilty. And that’s why we lost.”
      That’s the confession of Eric Cantor, the 47-year old congressman from Richmond, Va. If Republicans win back the House in November’s elections, Mr. Cantor would be the next majority leader—the second most powerful post in that chamber behind the speaker. And he could be Barack Obama’s worst nightmare…. – WSJ, 10-2-10

    HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

    The President Records the Weekly Address
    White House Photo, Lawrence Jackson, 10/1/10
    • Gerald Uelmen: Meg Whitman fuzzes Rose Bird quote as Jerry Brown backpedals: Brown hasn’t said anything like that about Bird. But his attempt to distance himself from his appointee by invoking Eisenhower is a tough comparison to make. Eisenhower wasn’t especially close to Warren, but appointed him in a well- documented political trade: the California governor pledged to support Ike at the 1952 Republican convention in exchange for the first available Supreme Court vacancy.
      Gerald Uelmen, a Santa Clara University law professor and court historian, said he doesn’t buy Brown’s “Eisenhower defense.” “I think he (Brown) knew what he was getting,” Uelmen said. “I think what’s going on here is a little rewriting of history.” San Francisco Chronicle, 10-8-10
    • Alan Brinkley: Anatomy of an Uprising: GIVE US LIBERTY A Tea Party Manifesto By Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe, BOILING MAD Inside Tea Party America, By Kate Zernike THE WHITES OF THEIR EYES The Tea Party’s Revolution and the Battle Over American History By Jill Lepore
      Jill Lepore, a historian of the American Revolution and a staff writer at The New Yorker, has written a brief but valuable book, “The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party’s Revolution and the Battle Over American History,” which combines her own interviews with Tea Partiers (mostly from her home state, Massachusetts) and her deep knowledge of the founders and of their view of the Constitution. The architects of the Constitution, she makes clear, did not agree about what it meant. Nor did they believe that the Constitution would or should be the final word on the character of the nation and the government. It was the product of much compromise, and few were satisfied with all its parts…. – NYT, 10-8-10
    • Victor Davis Hanson: Rope-a-dope: Obama’s plan: After 2010, will he be Carter or Clinton? That is the ongoing parlor game now played among pundits over how President Barack Obama will react to a probable shellacking of the Democrats in midterm elections next month. Jimmy Carter stuck to his liberal agenda after suffering a modest rebuke in the 1978 midterms amid sky-high inflation, interest rates and unemployment. He didn’t take voters’ hint and went on to get clobbered two years later by Ronald Reagan. In contrast, after his party was slaughtered in the 1994 midterms (losing 51 House and eight Senate seats), a triangulating Bill Clinton moved to the center and handily won re-election in 1996. So what will Obama do if he loses a Democratic majority in the House and quite possibly the Senate, as his approval ratings tank to 40 percent? Most likely, he will stick to his liberal orthodoxy — but in a way unlike Carter. Yet, like Clinton, Obama may still have a good chance at re-election…. – Chicago Tribune, 10-7-10
    • Julian E. Zelizer: ‘Facebook politics’ is fleeting: The Tea Party has rekindled excitement in the potential of the internet to nurture mass political movements by using the Web to raise money and mobilize manpower.
      Activists have used many aspects of cyberspace: Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, iPod apps and more to rally their supporters. According to Investors.com, “Democrats and their allies dominated cyberspace for years. Now the political right, with the Tea Party explosion, at the very least is matching the left.”
      The stories about the Tea Party movement resemble the narrative about Barack Obama’s campaign.
      In 2008, Democrats used cyberspace to the same effect. Relying on what I called “Facebook politics,” the Democrats took Republicans by surprise by demonstrating how powerful a vehicle the internet could be in promoting a candidacy, bringing like-minded citizens together and offering an organizational infrastructure for movement politics.
      Yet will this form of organizing work over the long term? Can it sustain a movement after the drama of an election is over?….
      Without question, Facebook politics has reshaped the political landscape….
      It is far too easy for the most fervent supporter of a candidate or cause to simply defriend the movement and move on to something else.
      Rather than strong, shared memories of participating in something bigger than themselves, the experience might just leave behind the address of a Web page in the auto-fill mechanism of their browser or an occasional text alert to remind them of their political past. – CNN, 10-5-10
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