Full Text Obama Presidency June 08, 2013: President Barack Obama & People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinping’s Remarks After Bilateral Meeting



Remarks by President Obama and President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China After Bilateral Meeting

Source: WH, 6-8-13 

President Barack Obama walks with President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China on the grounds of the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, Calif., June 8, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Sunnylands Retreat
Rancho Mirage, California

8:09 P.M. PDT

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Everybody ready?  Well, I know we’re a little behind, but that’s mainly because President Xi and I had a very constructive conversation on a whole range of strategic issues, from North Korea to cyberspace to international institutions.  And I’m very much looking forward to continuing the conversation, not only tonight at dinner but also tomorrow.

But I thought we’d take a quick break just to take a question from both the U.S. and Chinese press.  So what I’ll do is I’ll start with Julie Pace and then President Xi can call on a Chinese counterpart.

Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  How damaging has Chinese cyber-hacking been to the U.S.?  And did you warn your counterpart about any specific consequences if those actions continue?  And also, while there are obviously differences between China’s alleged actions and your government’s surveillance programs, do you think that the new NSA revelations undermine your position on these issues at all during these talks?

And President Xi, did —

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Why don’t you let the interpreter —

Q    And President Xi, did you acknowledge in your talks with President Obama that China has been launching cyber attacks against the U.S.?  Do you also believe that the U.S. is launching similar attacks against China?  And if so, can you tell us what any of the targets may have been?  Thank you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, Julie, first of all, we haven’t had, yet, in-depth discussions about the cybersecurity issue.  We’re speaking at the 40,000-foot level, and we’ll have more intensive discussions during this evening’s dinner.

What both President Xi and I recognize is that because of these incredible advances in technology, that the issue of cybersecurity and the need for rules and common approaches to cybersecurity are going to be increasingly important as part of bilateral relationships and multilateral relationships.

In some ways, these are uncharted waters and you don’t have the kinds of protocols that have governed military issues, for example, and arms issues, where nations have a lot of experience in trying to negotiate what’s acceptable and what’s not.  And it’s critical, as two of the largest economies and military powers in the world, that China and the United States arrive at a firm understanding of how we work together on these issues.

But I think it’s important, Julie, to get to the second part of your question, to distinguish between the deep concerns we have as a government around theft of intellectual property or hacking into systems that might disrupt those systems — whether it’s our financial systems, our critical infrastructure and so forth — versus some of the issues that have been raised around NSA programs.

When it comes to those cybersecurity issues like hacking or theft, those are not issues that are unique to the U.S.-China relationship.  Those are issues that are of international concern.  Oftentimes it’s non-state actors who are engaging in these issues as well.  And we’re going to have to work very hard to build a system of defenses and protections, both in the private sector and in the public sector, even as we negotiate with other countries around setting up common rules of the road.

And as China continues in its development process and more of its economy is based on research and innovation and entrepreneurship, they’re going to have similar concerns, which is why I believe we can work together on this rather than at cross-purposes.

Now, the NSA program, as I discussed this morning, is a very limited issue, but it does have broad implications for our society because you’ve got a lot of data out there, a lot of communications that are in cyberspace.  And how we deal with both identifying potential terrorists or criminals, how the private sector deals with potential theft, and how the federal government, state governments, local governments and the private sector coordinate to keep out some of these malicious forces while still preserving the openness and the incredible power of the Internet and the web and these new telecommunications systems — that’s a complicated and important piece of business.  But it’s different from these issues of theft and hacking.

And every government is then inevitably going to be involved in these issues, just like big companies are going to be involved in these issues.  I mean, you’ve got private companies that have a lot more data and a lot more details about people’s emails and telephone calls than the federal government does.  And if we’re called upon not only to make sure that we’re anticipating terrorist communications but we’re also called upon to work with the private sector to prevent theft out of ATMs, et cetera, then we’re going to have to find ways to deal with this big data in ways that are consistent with our values; in ways that protect people’s privacy, that ensure oversight, and strike the right balance.

And as I indicated this morning, that’s a conversation that I welcome having.

PRESIDENT XI:  (As interpreted.)  As President Obama said, in our meeting this afternoon we just briefly touched upon the issue of cybersecurity.  And the Chinese government is firm in upholding cybersecurity and we have major concerns about cybersecurity.

In the few days before President Obama and I meet today, I note sharp increased media coverage of the issue of cybersecurity.  This might give people the sense or feeling that cybersecurity as a threat mainly comes from China or that the issue of cybersecurity is the biggest problem in the China-U.S. relationship.

The application of new technology is a double-edged sword.  On the one hand, it will drive progress in ensuring better material and cultural life for the people.  On the other hand, it might create some problems for regulators and it might infringe upon the rights of states, enterprises, societies and individuals.

We need to pay close attention to this issue and study ways to effectively resolve this issue.  And this matter can actually be an area for China and the United States to work together with each other in a pragmatic way.  And I’m happy to learn that within the context of the China-U.S. strategic and economic dialogue, a working group has been established to discuss cybersecurity issues.  So this is an issue that the two sides will continue to discuss.

By conducting good-faith cooperation we can remove misgivings and make information security and cybersecurity a positive area of cooperation between China and the U.S.  Because China and the United States both have a need and both share a concern, and China is a victim of cyber attacks and we hope that earnest measures can be taken to resolve this matter.

Thank you.

Q    I’m with China Central Television and my question for President Xi is, what are the main issues that were discussed in the longer-than-expected meeting this afternoon?  And what are the major areas of consensus that have emerged from the discussion?  And last year, when you were visiting the United States, you raised the concept of the two sides working together to explore what you call a new model of major country relationship, something that is unprecedented in the relationship and that can inspire future generations.  And after this concept was raised, there has been much discussion and comment on it, both in China and the United States and in the world more broadly.  So did you have further discussion on this issue in your meeting this afternoon?

And my question for President Obama is, what will the United States do to contribute to the building of a new model of major country relationship between China and the U.S.?

PRESIDENT XI:  (As interpreted.)  In the first meeting that I’ve had with President Obama this afternoon, we had an in-depth, sincere and candid discussion on the domestic and foreign policies of China and the United States, on our joint work to build a new model of major country relationship, and our international and regional issues of mutual interest.  And the President and I reached important consensus on these issues.

I stated very clearly to President Obama that China will be firmly committed to the path of peaceful development and China will be firm in deepening reform and opening up the country wider to the world.  China will work hard to realize the Chinese dream of the great national renewal and will work hard to push forward the noble cause of peace and development for all mankind.

By the Chinese dream, we seek to have economic prosperity, national renewal and people’s well-being.  The Chinese dream is about cooperation, development, peace and win-win, and it is connected to the American Dream and the beautiful dreams people in other countries may have.

President Obama and I both believe that in the age of economic globalization and facing the objective need of countries sticking together in the face of difficulties, China and the United States must find a new path — one that is different from the inevitable confrontation and conflict between the major countries of the past.  And that is to say the two sides must work together to build a new model of major country relationship based on mutual respect and win-win cooperation for the benefit of the Chinese and American peoples, and people elsewhere in the world.

The international community looks to China and the United States to deliver this.  When China and the United States work together, we can be an anchor for world stability and the propeller of world peace.

I stand ready to work with President Obama to expand on all levels of exchanges between the two sides.  I look forward to maintaining close communication with the President through mutual visits, bilateral meetings, exchange of letters and phone calls. And I invited President Obama to come to China at an appropriate time for a similar meeting like this.  And we look forward to visiting each other country.

At the same time, the two sides will work hard to make progress in the various bilateral mechanisms, such as the strategic and economic dialogue and the high-level consultation on people-to-people exchange.  Also, the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Chinese Minister of National Defense will both make visits to the United States within the year.

Our two sides should also step up exchanges and cooperation in economy and trade, energy, environment, people-to-people, and cultural fields, as well as at the sub-national level, so that we can deepen the shared interests of the two countries and expand them to all areas.

We should also improve and strengthen the military-to-military relationship between the two countries and promote the building of a new model of military relationship between the two sides.  The two sides should also improve coordination microeconomic policies so that by strengthening cooperation, we can contribute to our respective development at home, and promote strong, sustainable and balanced economic growth in the Asia Pacific region and the world at large.

And I’m confident in our joint effort to build a new model of major country relationship.  I believe success hinges on the human effort.  Firstly, both sides have the political will to build this relationship.  Secondly, our cooperation in the last 40 years provides a good foundation for us to build on.  Thirdly, between China and the United States, there are over 90 intergovernmental mechanisms which provide the institutional underpinning for our efforts.

Fourth, there is strong public support for this kind of relationship between China and the United States.  There are 220 pairs of sister provinces, states and cities between China and the U.S.  There are 190,000 Chinese students in the United States, and 20,000 American students in China.

And 5th, there is enormous scope for future cooperation between China and the U.S.

Of course, this endeavor is unprecedented and one that will inspire future generations.  So we need to deepen our mutual understanding, strengthen our mutual trust, further develop our cooperation and manage our differences so that we can avoid the traditional path of inevitable confrontation between major countries and really embark on a new path.

The Chinese nation and American nation are great nations, and the Chinese people and American people are great peoples.  As long as we stand high and look far, as long as we make specific progress and accumulate them over time, as long as we maintain confidence and determination, as long as we have wisdom and patience, I’m confident that we will succeed in achieving this historical mission.

I’m sorry for going too long.  Thank you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, I think President Xi summarized very well the scope of our conversations.  We spoke about some very specific issues — for example, President Xi mentioned the importance of military-to-military communications.  In the past, we’ve had high-level diplomatic communications about economic and strategic issues, but we haven’t always had as effective communications between our militaries.  And at a time when there’s so much activity around the world, it’s very important that we each understand our strategic objectives at the military as well as the political levels.  So that’s an example of concrete progress that can advance this new model of relations between the United States and China.

So we’ll be taking steps to institutionalize and regularize such discussions.  But more broadly, I think President Xi identified the essence of our discussions in which we shared our respective visions for our countries’ futures and agreed that we’re more likely to achieve our objectives of prosperity and security of our people if we are working together cooperatively, rather than engaged in conflict.

And I emphasized my firm belief to President Xi that it is very much in the interest of the United States for China to continue its peaceful rise, because if China is successful, that helps to drive the world economy and it puts China in the position to work with us as equal partners in dealing with many of the global challenges that no single nation can address by itself.

So, for example, neither country by itself can deal with the challenge of climate change.  That’s an issue that we’ll have to deal with together.  China as the largest country, as it continues to develop, will be a larger and larger carbon emitter unless we find new mechanisms for green growth.  The United States, we have the largest carbon footprint per capita in the world; we’ve got to bring down our carbon levels in order to accommodate continued growth.  And so that will translate then into opportunities for specific work around green technologies and research and development, and interactions between our scientists so that we can, together, help advance the goal of a sustainable planet, even as we continue to grow and develop.

We’ve got a lot of work to do to take these broad understandings down to the level of specifics, and that will require further discussions not only today and tomorrow, but for weeks, months, years to come.  But what I’m very encouraged about is that both President Xi and myself recognize we have a unique opportunity to take the U.S.-China relationship to a new level.  And I am absolutely committed to making sure that we don’t miss that opportunity.

Thank you very much, everybody.

8:47 P.M. PDT

Campaign Headlines October 22, 2012: Barack Obama v. Mitt Romney: Quotes from Foreign Policy Third Presidential Debate at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida Excerpts

Full Text Campaign Buzz October 13, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Speech at a Campaign Event in Portsmouth, Ohio — The President Has Failed to Stop China From Cheating




Mitt Romney: The President Has Failed to Stop China From Cheating

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 10-13-12

“Over the past several years the President has failed to call China a currency manipulator. He had the occasion on Friday to come out with that official designation. You know what they said? ‘We’re not going to make any determination until after the election.’ Let me tell you, on day one of my administration I will label China a currency manipulator.” – Mitt Romney


Portsmouth, Ohio

October 13, 2012

Click Here To Watch Mitt Romney

MITT ROMNEY: “We want to make sure that when people cheat, when they don’t follow the rules in trade, we finally hold them accountable. It’s time for us to stand up to China for their cheating. It’s got to stop. The President had an opportunity, was required, as of last Friday to officially designate whether China is a currency manipulator. Let me tell you what that means, by the way. When a country artificially holds down the value of their currency, it means that the products that they sell to us are artificially cheap. And that means that American companies that are making these similar products, they go out of business if their Chinese products are so much cheaper than the real costs behind them. And yet over the past several years the President has failed to call China a currency manipulator. He had the occasion on Friday to come out with that official designation. You know what they said? ‘We’re not going to make any determination until after the election.’ Let me tell you, on day one of my administration I will label China a currency manipulator.”

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 26, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at a Campaign Event in Bowling Green, Ohio — Takes On Mitt Romney Over China and Jobs




In Ohio, Obama Takes On Romney Over China and Jobs

Source: NYT, 9-26-12

President Obama trumpeted his recently opened unfair-trade case against China in a bid to shore up support in Ohio before Election Day….READ MORE

Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event — Bowling Green, OH

Source: WH, 9-26-12

Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green, Ohio

1:25 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Falcons!  (Applause.)  Thank you so much.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Now, let me begin by asking everybody to give Seth a big round of applause for that great introduction.  (Applause.)  I was backstage and I had trouble hearing — did he explain what was going on with his arm?  So Seth was playing, I think — ultimate Frisbee, that’s what it was.  (Laughter.)  He was playing ultimate Frisbee.  He went up — he was going to make this amazing touchdown, and he had the Frisbee and somebody cut him under his legs, cut out from under him.  It is clear replacement refs were in the game.  (Laughter and applause.)  He broke his wrist.  He was supposed to get it set yesterday but he didn’t want to miss this.  (Applause.)  So when he came up here, his wrist was not yet set, and he’s going to have to go to the hospital afterwards to get his wrist set.

Now, I just want to make the point that if Seth can come up here with a broken wrist, then there is not a student here who cannot get registered and make sure they go to vote.  (Applause.)  No excuses.  No excuses.  You got to play through injuries, Falcons.  (Laughter.)


THE PRESIDENT:  I love you back.  I’m glad to be here.  (Applause.)

Now, it’s great to be here with your next Congresswoman, Angela Zimmann.  (Applause.)  I’m thrilled to be with all of you.  And unless you live under a rock, or your cable is bust, you may have noticed that there’s an election going on here in Ohio.  By the way, those of you guys who have seats, feel free to sit down.  I’m going to be talking for a while here.  (Laughter.)  And those of you who don’t, make sure to bend your knees, because sometimes people faint, fall out — not because I’m so exciting, but just because you’ve been standing a long time.  (Laughter.)

So there’s an election going on here in Ohio, and in case you’re wondering what kind of impact that’s having, I was talking to my campaign manager; he was meeting with this couple who had this adorable four-year-old son named Sammy.  And they were very proud that Sammy knew what was going on, and there was a picture of me up on the wall, and the parents said, “Who’s that, Sammy?”  And Sammy said, “That’s Barack Obama.”  And then the parents asked, “And what does Barack Obama do?”  And Sammy thinks for a second and he says, “He approves this message.”  (Laughter and applause.)  True story.  True story.

That’s what I do.  I approve this message.  (Laughter.)  And, Ohio, that’s because, starting on October 2nd, which is just six days from now, you get to start voting.  You get to have your say.  (Applause.)  You can register to vote all the way up until October 9th, but if you’re already registered you can start voting in six days.  And this is important, because you’ve got a big choice to make.  And it’s not just a choice between two parties or two candidates.  It is a choice between two fundamentally different paths for America, two fundamentally different choices for our future.

My opponent and his running mate are big believers in top-down economics.  They basically think that if we just spend another $5 trillion on tax cuts that favor the very wealthiest, then —


THE PRESIDENT:  Don’t boo, vote.  Vote.  (Applause.)  Vote.  Vote.  (Applause.)

But their theory is, these tax cuts for the folks at the top, then prosperity and jobs will rain down on everybody else.  The deficit will magically go away, and we will live happily ever after.

There’s only one problem.  We just tried this during the last decade, during the previous presidency.  It didn’t work.  Top-down economics never works.  The country doesn’t succeed when only the rich get richer.  We succeed when the middle class gets bigger — (applause) — when more people have a chance to get ahead, more people have a chance to live up to their God-given potential.

Look, I don’t believe we can get very far with leaders who write off half the nation as a bunch of victims who never take responsibility for their own lives.  (Applause.)  And I’ve got to tell you, as I travel around Ohio and as I look out on this crowd, I don’t see a lot of victims.  I see hardworking Ohioans.  That’s what I see.  (Applause.)  We’ve got students who are trying to work their way through college.  (Applause.)  We’ve got single moms who are putting in overtime to raise their kids.

By the way, your outstanding president of this institution, Bowling Green — charming woman, really smart — (applause) — and there she is right there.  We were talking because we both were raised by single moms, and she was telling the story about how her mom worked at a resort in West Virginia, but she was doing the hard work and ended up raising one college president and one federal judge.

That’s what we believe about the economy — when you give folks a chance.  I see in this audience senior citizens who have been saving for retirement their entire lives; veterans who served this country so bravely.  (Applause.)  Soldiers who are today defending our freedom.  (Applause.)

Look, so let’s just get something straight in case anybody is confused.  We don’t believe that anybody is entitled to success in this country.  We don’t believe government should be helping people who refuse to help themselves.  But we do believe in something called opportunity.  (Applause.)  We do believe that hard work should pay off.  We do believe in an America where everybody gets a fair shot, and everybody is doing their fair share, and everybody is playing by the same set of rules.  (Applause.)  We do believe in an America where no matter who you are, or what you look like, or what you’re your last name is, or who you love, you can make it if you try.  (Applause.)

That’s the country I believe in.  That’s what I’ve been fighting for, for four years.  And that’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  Now, I’ve got to say this.  This country has gone through a very tough time, and we’ve still got a lot of folks who are hurting out there.  And I’m not somebody who is coming here offering some easy, quick solutions.  The truth is it’s going to take more than a few years to solve the challenges that were building up over decades — jobs being shipped overseas; paychecks flat, even as costs of everything from college to health care were going up.


THE PRESIDENT:  That, too.  (Applause.)

But here is what I want everybody to be confident about:  Our problems can be solved.  Our challenges can be met.  We’ve still got the best workers in the world.  We’ve got the best businesses in the world.  We’ve got the best scientists in the world and researchers.  We definitely have the best colleges and universities in the world.  (Applause.)

So especially for the young people out here, I want you to understand, there is not a country on Earth that wouldn’t gladly trade places with the United States of America.  (Applause.)

But we’ve got work to do.  We’ve got work to do.  And the path I’m offering may be harder, but it leads to a better place.  And I’m putting forward a practical, five-point plan to create jobs and to grow the middle class, and rebuild this economy on a stronger foundation.

So just in case you guys missed the convention and — (laughter) — I know you didn’t miss Michelle.  (Applause.)  Let me reprise what this plan consists of.

First, I want to export more products and outsource fewer jobs.  (Applause.)  When my opponent said we should just “let Detroit go bankrupt” —


THE PRESIDENT:  Don’t boo.



That would have meant walking away from an industry that supports one in eight Ohio jobs.  It supports businesses in 82 of 88 Ohio counties.  So when he said that, I said, no, I’m going to bet on America; I’m betting on American workers.  I’m betting on American industry.  (Applause.)  And today, the American auto industry has come roaring back with nearly 250,000 new jobs.  (Applause.)

And now you’ve got a choice.  We can give more tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas, or we can start rewarding companies that open new plants and train new workers, and create new jobs right here in the United States.  (Applause.)

Now, I understand my opponent has been spending some time here in Ohio lately, and he’s been talking tough on China.  Have you been hearing this?


THE PRESIDENT:  He’s been talking tough on China.  He says he’s going to take the fight to them; he’s going to go after these cheaters.  And I’ve got to admit, that message is the better — is better than what he’s actually done about this thing.  (Laughter.)  It sounds better than talking about all the years he spent profiting from companies that sent our jobs to China.

So when you hear this newfound outrage, when you see these ads he’s running promising to get tough on China, it feels a lot like that fox saying, “You know, we need more secure chicken coops.”  (Laughter.)  I mean, it’s just not credible.

Now, Ohio, I’ll tell you what I’ve done, because I’m not just talking the talk.  I have woken up every single day doing everything I can to give American workers a fair shot in this global economy.  (Applause.)  So we’ve brought more trade cases against China in one term than the previous administration did in two — and, by the way, we’ve been winning those cases.  We’ve stood up for autoworkers against unfair trade practices.  When Governor Romney said stopping an unfair surge in Chinese tires would be bad for America, bad for our workers — we politely declined his advice.  We went after China on that, and we got over 1,000 American workers back to work producing American tires.  (Applause.)

So when you want — if you want to know who is going to actually fight for workers and fight for American jobs when it comes to trade, you can look at the records.  You can look at who said what before election time.  And right now, I am asking you to choose a better path than the one that my opponent is offering — one that helps big factories and small businesses double their exports; that sells more goods stamped with “Made in America” to the rest of the world.  We can create one million new manufacturing jobs in the next four years with the right policies.  That’s what I’m fighting for.  That’s why I’m running for a second term as President.  (Applause.)  That’s what’s going to be important to Ohio.

Second part of the plan — I want us to control more of our own energy.  After 30 years of inaction, we raised fuel standards so that by the middle of the next decade, your cars and trucks will go twice as far on a gallon of gas.  (Applause.)  We’ve doubled the amount of renewable clean energy we generate from sources like wind and solar.  (Applause.)  There are thousands of Americans — including here in Ohio — who have jobs today building wind turbines and long-lasting batteries.  Today, America is less dependent on foreign oil than any time in nearly 20 years.  (Applause.)

So now you’ve got a choice between a plan that builds on this progress, or a plan that reverses it like my opponent is suggesting.  And this is a clear plan, because — a clear difference, because I will not let oil companies write this country’s energies plan.  (Applause.)  And I want to stop oil companies collecting another $4 billion in corporate welfare from our taxpayers.  (Applause.)

We have a better plan.  Let’s take that money we’re giving to companies that are already hugely profitable — every time you go to the pump, they’re making money; they don’t need a tax break.  Let’s use that money and invest in wind and solar and clean coal technology.  (Applause.)  Let’s help farmers and scientists harness new biofuels to power our cars and our trucks.  Let’s put construction workers to work retrofitting homes and factories so they waste less energy.  Let’s develop 100-year supply of natural gas that’s right beneath our feet.  And if we do all these things, we can cut our oil imports even more — cut them in half by 2020, and support hundreds of thousands of new jobs in the process.  That’s why I’m running.  That’s what’s going to be good for Ohio.  (Applause.)

Number three — I want to give more Americans the chance to get the skills that they need to compete.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Apprenticeships!

THE PRESIDENT:  That’s a good idea.  Education — it was my gateway to opportunity.  That’s the only reason I’m standing here.  (Applause.)  It was Michelle’s path to opportunity.  It’s the path more than ever to a middle-class life.  Today, millions of students are paying less for college because we took on a system that was wasting billions of dollars using banks and lenders and middlemen on the student loan process.  We said let’s give that money directly to students.  And as a consequence, millions of students are getting more grants, and we kept interest rates on student loans low.  All right?  That’s what we fought for.  That’s what we fought for.  We already got that done.  (Applause.)

So now you’ve got a choice, because my opponent, he would gut education to pay for more tax breaks for the wealthy.  That’s one choice.  That’s door number one.  Door number two — we can decide that the United States of America should never have a child’s dreams deferred just because she’s in an overcrowded classroom or a crumbling school or has outdated textbooks.  No family should have to set aside an acceptance letter to a college like Bowling Green because they don’t have the money.  (Applause.)

No company should have to look for workers in China because they can’t find workers with the right skills here in the United States.  That’s not the future that we want.  (Applause.)

So, Ohio, I need your help because I want to recruit 100,000 new math and science teachers, and I want to improve early childhood education.  (Applause.)  I want to give 2 million more workers the chance to learn skills that they need at community colleges that will directly lead to a job.  (Applause.)

And I want to work with college presidents to keep tuition costs down.  We can cut in half the growth of tuition if we’re focused on this.  (Applause.)  We can meet this goal.  You can choose that future.  That’s why I’m running, because I want to make sure that the folks coming behind me have the same opportunities I had.  That’s what America is about.  (Applause.)

Number four — I want to reduce the deficit without sticking it to the middle class.  (Applause.)  Now, I’ve already worked with Republicans in Congress to cut a trillion dollars in spending, and I’m willing to do more.  I put forward a very specific plan — $4 trillion in deficit reduction.  I want to simplify the tax code so that it’s fair.  But I also want to ask the wealthiest households to pay a higher rate on incomes over $250,000 — (applause) — the same rate we had when Bill Clinton was President, and our economy created nearly 23 million new jobs, we had the biggest surplus in history and, by the way, a whole lot of millionaires did really well, too — because that’s how you grow an economy.  I want to keep taxes low for middle-class families and working families.  But if we’re going to close the deficit, we’ve got to ask folks like me to do a little bit more.

And understand what happens.  When you get a tax break, what do you do?  You spend it, because you’ve got — times are already tough.  So maybe you trade in finally that 10-year-old car, or maybe you a buy a computer for your kid who’s about to go off to college.  And that mean business now has more customers, and they make more profits, which means they hire more workers, and the whole economy does better.  That’s how you grow an economy — from the middle out, not from the top down.  (Applause.)

And that’s also how we’ll reduce our deficit.  Now, in fairness, my opponent has a plan, too.  The problem is it’s missing what President Clinton called arithmetic.  (Laughter.)

So just understand my opponent and his allies in Congress tell us somehow we can lower the deficit by spending trillions more on new tax breaks for the wealthy.  No matter how many times they promise to “reboot” their campaign, no matter how many times they start saying they’re going to explain the specifics of this thing — they can’t, they won’t.  They can’t say how they’d pay for $5 trillion in tax cuts without raising taxes on middle-class families.  They can’t explain how they’re going to pay for $2 trillion in new military spending that our military has said won’t make us safer.  They can’t explain it because the math doesn’t add up.

Now, my opponent may think it’s fair that somebody who makes $20 million a year, like he does, pays a lower rate than a teacher or an autoworker who makes $50,000 a year.  But I disagree.  I don’t think that’s fair.  I don’t think it helps grow our economy.  (Applause.)  I refuse to ask middle-class families to give up their deductions for owning a home or looking after their kids just to pay for another millionaire’s tax cut.  We’re not going to do that.  We’re not going to do that.  (Applause.)

I’m not going to ask the students here to pay more for college, or kick some kids off of Head Start, or eliminate health insurance for millions of Americans who are poor, or elderly, or disabled — just to give myself a tax cut.  We can’t afford it.  (Applause.)

And I want you guys to know, I will never turn Medicare into a voucher.  (Applause.)  No American should ever have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies.  They should retire with dignity and the respect that they’ve earned.  We’ll reform and strengthen Medicare for the long haul, but we’ll do it by reducing the actual cost of care — not by dumping those costs onto seniors.  And we’re going to keep the promise of Social Security.  We’ll strengthen it, but we’re not going to turn it over to Wall Street.  (Applause.)  We’re not going to do that.

Now, obviously, Governor Romney and I have a lot of differences when it comes to domestic policy, but our prosperity here at home is linked to what happens abroad.  Four years ago, I promised to end the war in Iraq.  We did.  (Applause.)  I said we would responsibly wind down the war in Afghanistan, and we are.  You’ve got a new tower that’s rising over the New York skyline, and meanwhile, al Qaeda is on the path to defeat and Osama bin Laden is dead.  (Applause.)  We made that commitment.  (Applause.)

But as we saw just a few days ago, we still face some serious threats in the world.  And that’s why, as long as I’m Commander-in-Chief, we’re going to maintain the strongest military the world has ever known.  (Applause.)  And when our troops come home and they take off their uniform, we’re going to serve them as well as they’ve served us, because nobody who fights for America should have to fight for a job when they come home.  I believe that.  (Applause.)

My opponent has got a different view.  He said the way we ended the war in Iraq was “tragic.”  He still hasn’t explained what his policy in Afghanistan will be.  But I have, and I will.  And one more thing, I will use the money we’re no longer spending on war to pay down our debt and to put more people back to work rebuilding roads and bridges and schools and runways — (applause) — because after a decade of war, it’s time to do some nation-building right here in Ohio, right here at home.  (Applause.)

So this is the choice that you face; it’s what this election comes down to.  And over the next 41 days, you will be seeing more money than has ever been spent, and a whole bunch of it on the other side from folks who are writing $10 million checks to these super PACs.  And they’ll tell you that bigger tax cuts and fewer regulations are the only way to go.  Their basic argument is since government can’t do everything, it should do almost nothing.  Their basic theory is you’re on your own.  If you can’t afford health insurance, hope you don’t get sick.  (Laughter.)  If a company is releasing toxic pollution that your kids are breathing, well, that’s the price of progress.  If you can’t afford to start a business or go to college, just borrow more money from your parents.  (Laughter.)

Let me tell you something — that’s not who we are.  That’s not what this country is about.  We don’t think government can solve all our problems.  But we don’t think it’s the source of all our problems, either — (applause) — just like we don’t think that folks who are having a tough time are our problem, or welfare recipients are our problem, or corporations are our problem, or unions are our problem, or immigrants or gays, or all the other groups that we’re told to blame for our troubles.

Because here in America, we believe we’re in this thing together.  We believe that all of us have responsibilities.  (Applause.)  We believe we’ve got responsibilities to look after ourselves and work hard and show individual initiative.  But we also believe we have responsibilities to each other and to this country and to future generations, to make sure that America continues to be the place where there’s more opportunity and possibility than any other nation on Earth.  That’s what we believe.  That’s what we’re fighting for.  (Applause.)

We understand that America is not about what can be done for us.  It’s about what can be done by us, together, as one nation and as one people.  (Applause.)  And that’s what I’ve always said.  That’s why I ran for this office, because I have faith in you.

Four years ago, I told you this wasn’t about me.  It was about you, the American people.  You were the change.  You are the reason a mother in Cleveland right now doesn’t have to worry about her son being denied medical coverage because of some preexisting condition.  You made that happen.  (Applause.)

You’re the reason a factory worker who lost his job in Toledo or Lordstown is back on the line building some of the best cars in the world.  You did that.  (Applause.)

You’re the reason a student in Akron or Columbus or Bowling Green has some help paying for a college education.  (Applause.)  You’re the reason a veteran can go to school on the new GI Bill.

You’re the reason a young immigrant who grew up here and went to school here and pledged allegiance to the flag is not in danger of being deported from the only country she’s ever known.  (Applause.)

You’re the reason some outstanding soldier won’t be kicked out of our military because of who they are or who they love.  (Applause.)  You’re the reason why thousands of families have finally been able to welcome home their loved ones who served us so bravely, to say, “Welcome home.”

And the interesting thing is my opponent maybe doesn’t understand this concept about how change happens, because I made this point down in Florida.  I said one of the things we learned is we can’t change Washington just from the inside.  You got to change it from the outside.  You change it with the help of ordinary Americans who are willing to make their voices heard.

And my opponent got really excited.  He heard me say this.  He changed his speech.  (Laughter.)  He said, I’m going to get the job done from the inside.  That’s what he said — I’m going to get the job done from the inside.  And I’m thinking to myself, well, what kind of inside job is he talking about?  (Laughter and applause.)

Is he talking about the inside job to rubber-stamp the agenda of this Republican Congress?  Because if he is, we don’t want it.  If he’s talking about the inside job of letting oil companies write the energy policies, and insurance companies writing health care policies, and outsourcers rewriting our tax code — we don’t need that.  If he’s talking about the inside job where politicians in Washington are controlling the health care choices that women are perfectly capable of making for themselves, we’ll take a pass.  (Applause.)  We don’t need an inside job.  We want to change Washington.

I’ve always said change is hard; it takes more than one term or even one President.  And the way our democracy works, we’re never going to get everything that each of us individually want.  But if we’re working together, you can make things happen.  Now, you can’t make it happen if you write off half the nation before you take office.  (Applause.)

It’s interesting, in 2008, 47 percent of the country did not vote for me.  They voted for John McCain.  But on election night, in Grant Park in Chicago, I said to all those Americans who didn’t vote for me, I said, I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, and I need your help.  And I will be your President, too.  That’s what I said.  (Applause.)

So I don’t know how many votes I’ll get in Ohio this time, but no matter who you are, no matter what party you belong to –and I want everybody who’s listening on television to understand — I will be fighting for you because I’m not fighting to create Democratic jobs or Republican jobs.  I’m fighting to create American jobs.  (Applause.)

I’m not fighting to improve blue state schools or red state schools, I’m fighting to improve schools in the United States of America.  (Applause.)

The values of hard work and personal responsibility, those values that we believe in don’t just belong to workers or businesses, or the rich or the poor, the 53 percent or the 47 percent, the 1 percent or the 99 percent.  Those are American values.  They belong to all of us.

So I want you guys to understand we are not as divided as our politics suggests.  I still believe, no matter how many times I’m called naïve about this, I still believe that we have more in common than divides us.  (Applause.)  I still believe in that.  I still believe in one nation and one people.

I still believe in you.  And I’m asking you to keep believing in me.  (Applause.)  And if you do, I need you to register to vote.  (Applause.)  I need you to start voting six days from now on October 2nd.  And if you’re with me and if you work with me, we’ll win Wood County again.  We’ll win Ohio again.  (Applause.)  We’ll finish what we started.  We’ll remind the world why the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.

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

2:00 P.M. EDT

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 26, 2012: Mitt Romney & Paul Ryan’s Speeches at a Campaign Event in Vandalia, Ohio — We Must Stand Up To China




Mitt Romney: We Must Stand Up To China

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 9-25-12 

“I also understand that when people cheat, that kills jobs. China has cheated. I will not allow that to continue.” – Mitt Romney


Vandalia, Ohio

September 25, 2012

Click Here To Watch Mitt Romney

MITT ROMNEY: “But I also understand that when people cheat, that kills jobs. China has cheated. I will not allow that to continue. And it’s not over. I mean, how does a nation cheat? How do you pull that off? Let me tell you how you pull it off. One way is to artificially hold down the value of your currency, to make sure it doesn’t trade openly around the world. And what does that do? Well, let me tell you what it does. It makes your products artificially less expensive. The estimates are that China has held down the value of its currency anywhere between 15 and 30 percent, and so their products will be 15 to 30 percent cheaper. Guess what that does to the American companies that are competing in those industries. They lose sales, and so they have to lay off people. And ultimately they go out of business, and that’s been happening. They’ve been manipulating, holding down the value of their currency. What else do they do? They steal intellectual property. What do I mean by that? Patents, designs, know-how, even counterfeit our goods. I was with a company in the Midwest that said that they had some products that were coming back, valves. These are industrial valves, great big heavy industrial valves — said they were getting warranty claims on these valves of theirs that were breaking. And they were their product. They had their packaging on it. They had their serial numbers on it. And then they realized they’re counterfeit; these aren’t actually our product; they’ve been sold as our product, under our brand name, with our bar codes, everything else associated with them. And these products are coming into this country, being counterfeited overseas. That kills jobs. That’s what they’ve been doing. There’s an Apple Store in China. Have you read about that one? They got a store, Apple Store, selling Apple, you know, iPads and iPhones, except it’s not an Apple Store. It’s all counterfeit. Look, this kind of practice has to stop. They even have hacked into our computers. Our government, with the F-35 they looked at designs for the F-35 — they’ve looked at computers of our corporations. This cannot be allowed. We cannot compete with people who don’t play fair, and I won’t let that go on. I will stop it in its tracks.”

Click Here To Watch Paul Ryan

PAUL RYAN: “And just the other day on TV he said that he can’t change Washington from the inside. Why do we send presidents to Washington in the first place? I mean, isn’t that what we’re supposed to do? Don’t we send them to fix the mess in Washington? Look, if he can’t change Washington, then we need to change presidents. And we need to elect this man, Mitt Romney, the next President of the United States. The choice before us is very clear. We are offering real reforms for a real recovery.”

Full Text Campaign Buzz July 5, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech Launching Rust Belt Campaign Tour on Economy & China Trade in Ohio




Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event

Wolcott House Museum Complex
Maumee, Ohio

12:00 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hey!  (Applause.)  Hello, Ohio!  (Applause.)  Hello!  It is good to be back in Ohio.  All right.  Well, everybody who’s got a chair, feel free to sit down.  Just go ahead and relax.  I know it’s a little warm out here, but this is how summer is supposed to feel like.

A couple of people I want to acknowledge.  First of all, please give Ina a big round of applause for the great introduction.  We’re proud of her.  (Applause.)  I am so pleased to see once again the outstanding Mayor of Maumee, Tim Wagener.  (Applause.)  There he is.  One of the best Senators in the country — your Senator, Sherrod Brown.  (Applause.)  One of your outstanding members of the congressional delegation — Marcy Kaptur is here.  And your former governor and my campaign co-chair — Ted Strickland is in the house.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love you!

THE PRESIDENT:  I love you!  It’s great to see you.  (Applause.)  I hope everybody had a wonderful Fourth of July.  (Applause.)  We invited some people over for a barbecue — (laughter) — had a chance to say thank you to our incredible men and women in uniform.  (Applause.)  And we’re so proud of them.  And then it was Malia’s birthday yesterday.  (Applause.)  She’s 14 years old — I know, it happens too fast.  (Laughter.)  Don’t even remind me.  She’s going into high school next year.  Which means that she’s — see, when she was small I could say, all these fireworks I had arranged for her birthday.  (Laughter.)  But she doesn’t believe me anymore.  (Laughter.)

Now, unless you have been hiding out in the woods somewhere, you are aware of the fact that it’s campaign season.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We’re fired up and ready to go!

THE PRESIDENT:  You’re fired up!  (Applause.)

It’s campaign season again.  Look, I understand it’s not always pretty to watch.  There has been more money flooding into the system than we’ve ever seen before.  More negative ads, more cynicism.  Most of what you read about or hear about on the news has to do with who is up or down in the polls, instead of what these issues actually mean for you and for America.  So it can be frustrating.

And I know sometimes it may be tempting to kind of turn away from all of it, and just turn off the TV, TiVo everything that you want to watch so you can skip over the commercials.  It’s easy sometimes, I think, to lose interest and lose heart when you hear what’s going on in Washington.  And I’ll be honest with you — I think there are some folks who are betting that you will lose interest, that are betting that somehow you’re going to lose heart.  But here you are in the heat.  (Applause.)  I’m betting you’re not going to lose interest.


THE PRESIDENT:  I’m betting you’re not going to lose heart.


THE PRESIDENT:  I still believe in you.  I’m betting on you.  And the country is betting on you, Ohio.  (Applause.)  Because you understand that, even though politics may seem real small right now and may seem real petty, the choice in this election could not be clearer.  And it could not be bigger — the stakes could not be bigger.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  You can do it!

THE PRESIDENT:  I know — with you.  (Applause.)

What’s going on in this election is bigger than just a choice between two candidates or between two parties.  It’s about two fundamentally different visions of where we go as a country.

See, I believe in an America where no matter who you are, no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, you can make it if you try.  (Applause.)

We’ve never been a country that — we’ve never been a country looking for handouts.  We’re a nation of strivers and risk-takers and entrepreneurs, workers.  (Applause.)  But what we ask for is that hard work pays off, that responsibility is rewarded.  The idea is if you take responsibility for your life, if you put in the effort, if you do the responsible thing, then you can find a job that pays a living wage, that you can look after your family, that you can buy a home, that you can retire with some dignity and some respect, that you won’t go bankrupt when you get sick — (applause) — that you have that core, middle-class security that built this country, and that you can pass that on to your kids so they can do things that you never even imagined.  That’s the essence of America.

And I believe in that basic promise of America because I lived it.  That’s my biography.  I had grandparents whose service at World War II was rewarded by them having a chance to go to college and buying their first house — because I had a hardworking mother who raised me and my sister right, but also had some help so that we could end up going to the best schools in the country even though we didn’t have a lot of money.

I got involved in politics.  I ran for President in 2008, and some of you joined me in 2008 — (applause) — because we believed in that basic bargain that built the largest middle class in history and the strongest economy in the world.  And we felt like that basic bargain was slipping away, that hard work wasn’t always rewarded, that being responsible didn’t always get you ahead, that folks who acted irresponsibly sometimes were making out like bandits while ordinary folks were having a tougher and tougher time.

So we came together in that election — Democrats, but also independents and, yes, some Republicans — to restore that basic bargain that built this country.  And we knew at the time it wouldn’t be easy.  We knew it would take more than one year or one term or maybe even one President.  But what we didn’t realize at the time was we were going to be hit by the worst economic crisis in our lifetimes.

And that’s been tough on a lot of folks, including people here in Ohio.  It robbed millions of people of their jobs and their homes and their savings.  And it pushed the American Dream even further from reach for a lot of people.

But you know what, this crisis has not changed the fundamental character of America.  It hasn’t changed the fundamental character of this town, or this state, or this part of the country.  We’ve still got people who are working hard.  We’ve still got people who are acting responsibly.  (Applause.)  It hasn’t diminished our belief in those ideals we were fighting for in 2008.  (Applause.)

And our mission right now isn’t just to recover from this economic crisis, although that’s job one.  Our mission is to give back to America, to Americans all across the country, what’s been lost — that sense of security.  Our goal isn’t just to put people back to work tomorrow; it’s also to build for the long haul an economy where hard work pays off — (applause) — an economy where everybody, whether you’re starting a business or punching a clock, has confidence that if you work hard, you will get ahead.  That’s what America is about.  That’s what Ohio is about.  (Applause.)

Now, I got to tell you, what’s holding us back is not —

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Where is Michelle?

THE PRESIDENT:  Where’s Michelle?  (Laughter.)  Look, I know I’m second fiddle — (laughter) — but I’ll have Michelle come back sometime.  (Applause.)  I’m just the warm-up act.  Michelle says hi.  (Laughter.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love you, Mr. President!

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you so much.  I appreciate it.

Now, let me say this.  What’s holding us back from going ahead and meeting these challenges — (audience interruption) —

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  What’s holding us back from meeting our challenges — it’s not a lack of ideas, it’s not a lack of solutions.  What’s holding us back is we’ve got a stalemate in Washington between these two visions of where the country needs to go.  And this election is all about breaking that stalemate.  The outcome of this election will determine our economic future not just for the next year or the next two years, but maybe for the next decade or the next two.

And I want everybody to be clear about what this choice is.  My opponent and his allies in Congress, they believe prosperity comes from the top down.  They believe if we eliminate most regulations and we cut taxes for the wealthy by trillions of dollars, that somehow our whole economy will benefit, and all of you will benefit, and there’s going to be more jobs and better security for everybody.  That’s their basic economic plan.

Now, I think they’re wrong about their vision.  And part of the reason I think they’re wrong is because we tried it, remember, just a while back —

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  It didn’t work.

THE PRESIDENT:  — and it didn’t work.  We’re still paying for trillions of dollars in tax cuts that weren’t paid for and didn’t lead to better jobs or better wages for the middle class.  The lack of regulation on Wall Street, the kind of thing that they’re prescribing, that’s exactly what allowed people to game the system that caused this whole mess in the first place.

So, no, I don’t think that Mr. Romney’s plan to spend trillions of dollars more on tax cuts for folks who don’t need them and aren’t even asking for them is the right way to grow our economy — (applause) — especially since they want to pay for it by cutting education spending and cutting job training programs and raising middle-class taxes.


THE PRESIDENT:  And I sure don’t agree with his plan to keep giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas.  (Applause.)  I don’t think we’re better off by rolling back regulations on banks or insurance companies or oil companies —


THE PRESIDENT:  — regulations that are meant to protect workers and consumers and families and our economy.

So we don’t need more top-down economics.  We’ve tried it; it did not work.  What we need is somebody who is out there fighting for the middle class and wants to grow the middle class.  (Applause.)

When the American auto industry was on the brink of collapse, and more than one million jobs were on the line, Governor Romney said we should just let Detroit go bankrupt.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  That’s what he said!

THE PRESIDENT:  I refused to turn my back on communities like this one.  I was betting on the American worker and I was betting on American industry.  (Applause.)  And three years later, the American auto industry is coming roaring back.  (Applause.)  That Chrysler plant up the road bringing on another 1,100 employees to make the cars that the world wants to buy.  The Wrangler built right here in Toledo just set an all-time sales record.  (Applause.)

What’s happening in Toledo can happen in cities like Cleveland, can happen in Pittsburgh.  It can happen in other industries.  And that’s why I’m running for a second term as President, because I’m going to make sure that it does.  I want it happening all across this country.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  Just like Ina said, I want goods shipped around the world, stamped with “Made in America.”  (Applause.)  Unlike my opponent, I want to stop giving tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas, start rewarding companies that are investing right here in Toledo, right here in Ohio, right here in Maumee.  That’s what I’m looking for.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We are, too!

THE PRESIDENT:  Governor Romney’s experience has been in owning companies that were called “pioneers” of outsourcing.  That’s not my phrase — “pioneers” of outsourcing.  My experience has been in saving the American auto industry.  And as long as I’m President, that’s what I’m going to be doing — waking up every single day thinking about how we can create more jobs for your families and more security for your communities.  (Applause.)

That’s why my administration brought trade cases against China at a faster pace than the previous administration — and we’ve won those cases.  Just this morning, my administration took a new action to hold China accountable for unfair trade practices that harm American automakers.  (Applause.)

And let me tell you something.  Americans aren’t afraid to compete.  We believe in competition.  I believe in trade.  And I know this:  Americans and American workers build better products than anybody else — (applause) — so as long as we’re competing on a fair playing field instead of an unfair playing field, we’ll do just fine.  But we’re going to make sure that competition is fair.  That’s what I believe.  That’s part of our vision for America.  (Applause.)

But that’s not all it takes to rebuild this economy.  I’m running to make sure that America once again leads the world in educating our kids and training our workers.  (Applause.)

Our tuition tax credit has saved millions of families thousands of dollars each — and now I want to extend it.  We won the fight in Congress to stop Congress from letting student loans double.  (Applause.)  And now we’re working with colleges and universities to start bringing tuition costs down.  (Applause.)

I want our schools to hire and reward the best teachers — (applause) — especially in math and science.  I want to give
2 million more Americans the chance to go to community colleges and learn skills that local businesses are looking for right now.  See, in the 21st century, a higher education is not a luxury; it is an economic necessity for every single one of our young people — (applause) — and folks who are retraining to get the jobs of the future, and our veterans who are coming home.  And we need to take care of all of them and give them those opportunities to work their way into the middle class.  (Applause.)

God bless you.  Thanks for your service.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  My pleasure, sir.

THE PRESIDENT:  God bless you.  Freedom is not free, and you fought for it.  (Applause.)

I’m running to give more responsible homeowners the chance to refinance their mortgage and save $3,000 a year.  (Applause.)  We’ve got low interest rates right now, but a lot of folks are having trouble refinancing with their banks.  We’ve said to Congress, let’s go ahead and help them refinance, because that extra — can you use an extra $3,000?


THE PRESIDENT:  And that means you’re spending at restaurants and you’re buying stuff at the store and — you’re buying some clothes, is that what you said?  (Laughter.)  That you’re putting that money back into circulation — that’s good for everybody.  It’s good for small businesses; it’s good for large businesses.  We’ve already given thousands of families the chance to do this.  My opponent, his plan for the housing market is to let it hit bottom.


THE PRESIDENT:  That’s not a plan.  That’s a problem, that’s not a solution.

I’m running because I believe that in America, nobody should go bankrupt because they get sick.  (Applause.)  I’ll work with anybody who wants to work with me to continue to improve our health care system and our health care laws.  (Applause.)  But the law I passed is here to stay.  (Applause.)

And let me tell you something, Maumee.  It is going to make the vast majority of Americans more secure.  We will not go back to the days when insurance companies could discriminate against people just because they were sick.  We’re not going to tell 6 million young people who are now on their parent’s health insurance plans that suddenly they don’t have health insurance.  We’re not going to allow Medicare to be turned into a voucher system.

Now is not the time to spend four more years refighting battles we fought two years ago.  Now is the time to move forward and make sure that every American has affordable health insurance — (applause) — and that insurance companies are treating them fairly.  That’s what we fought for.  That’s what we’re going to keep.  We are moving forward.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  And, Maumee, I’m running because after a decade of war, it’s time to do some nation-building here at home.  (Applause.)  We ended the war in Iraq.  We are transitioning out of Afghanistan.  My plan would take half the money that we’ve been spending on war, let’s use it to put people back to work rebuilding our roads, rebuilding our bridges, rebuilding our schools, getting those construction workers out and about rebuilding America.  (Applause.)  That’s how we build our future.  We can’t go backwards.  We’ve got to move forward.

I’m running to make sure that we can afford all this by paying down the debt in a balanced way, in a responsible way.  Keep in mind, we had a surplus last time there was a Democratic President.  (Applause.)  They ran up the tab, put two wars on a credit card, tax cuts not paid for, prescription drug plan not paid for, left us the tab.  Well, we’re going to clean it up, but we’re going to clean it up not on the backs of the middle class — we’re going to do it in a balanced and responsible way.

I’ll cut spending like we already have on things we can’t afford and aren’t helping people.  But unlike my opponent, I’ll ask the wealthiest Americans who enjoyed the biggest tax cuts over the past decade to do a little more.  (Applause.)

And by the way, just like we know what they did didn’t work, we know what I’m talking about did work, because what I’m talking about is what Bill Clinton did as President.  Our economy created 23 million new jobs, the biggest budget surplus in history, and by the way, we made a whole bunch of millionaires as well.  (Applause.)  It wasn’t like rich people were doing bad back in the ’90s.  They were doing just fine, right?


THE PRESIDENT:  And you know what, there are plenty of patriotic, successful Americans who agree with us.  They want to do the right thing because they care about this country.

On jobs, on education, on housing, on health care, on retirement, on all these things that are the pillars of a middle-class life, we can’t go backwards.  We’ve got to go forwards.  And that’s the choice facing us this November.  And the choice could not be more clear.

Now, I’m not here to tell you, Ohio, that this is going to be easy, or it’s going to be quick.  Changes that we’re trying to bring about — we’re dealing with problems that happened over the course of decades.  They’re not going to be changed overnight.  And I know sometimes people feel like, well, Obama, he’s done some good things, but, boy, things are still tough out there, change hasn’t happened fast enough.  I understand that.  I get frustrated, too.  But what’s required are long-term solutions, not slick promises, not quick fixes.

And there are plenty of well-funded special interests in Washington, and their powerful allies in Congress, who want to keep things just the way they are.  But don’t ever buy the line that they’re selling that we can somehow accomplish more by doing less.  That might benefit their interests, but it won’t benefit yours.

That’s not how we became America.  Our parents, our grandparents, the founders of this country, didn’t set their sights lower.  They didn’t settle for something less.  And neither do we — because we’re Americans.  If we’re going to be the country we know we can be, we’ve got to keep doing the hard work of building the future of this country for our kids, just like our parents and grandparents did for us.  (Applause.)

And let me tell you something.  From now until November, the other side is going to spend more money than we’ve ever seen before, and they will be raining ads down on your head.  And they’ll tell you it’s all my fault — I can’t fix it because I think government is the answer to everything, or because I haven’t make a lot of money in the private sector, or I think everything is doing just fine.  That’s what all the scary voices in the ads will tell you.  That’s what Mitt Romney will say.  That’s what Republicans in Congress will say.

And that’s their plan for winning an election, but it’s not a plan to create jobs.  (Applause.)  It’s not a plan to provide you with greater security for you and your family.  It’s not a plan to restore the middle class or restore the American Dream.  And that’s the kind of plan we need right now, is a plan to build the middle class and restore the American Dream.

And if you agree with me — if you believe that our economy works best when everybody gets a fair shot and everybody is doing their fair share and everybody is playing by the same set of rules, then I’m going to need you out there working.  And you know what, I need you to talk to your friends and your neighbors.  Don’t just talk to Democrats.  Talk to independents, talks to Republicans.  (Applause.)  Because I want to work with anybody who believes that we’re in this together.  (Applause.)  I want to work with anybody who believes we’ve got to invest in our future.  I want to work with anybody who thinks we’ve got to give our kids a great education.  I want to work with anybody who believes that we’ve got to make sure that we’re building things here in America.  (Applause.)

I’m not a Democrat first; I’m an American first.  (Applause.)  I believe we rise or fall as one nation, as one people.  And I believe what’s stopping us is not our capacity to meet our challenges; what’s stopping us is our politics.  And that’s something you have the power to solve.

So hit the doors.  Make some phone calls.  Register your friends.  Talk to those family members who sometimes don’t vote.  Remind them where America’s strength comes from — it comes from our people.  Remind them how America came this far — it came because of our people.

All this money that’s being spent on negative ads in this campaign — they spent money in 2008.  I got outspent when I ran first time for Senate.  But you know what I have learned?  When the American people, when ordinary folks start standing up for themselves, start making their voices heard, start coming together, start believing again, nothing can stop them.  (Applause.)

Nothing can stop you.  Nothing can stop you, Maumee.  (Applause.)  Nothing can stop you, Ohio.  Nothing can stop us, America.  (Applause.)  Let’s remind the world just why it is we live in the greatest nation on Earth.  (Applause.)

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

12:27 P.M. EDT

Campaign Headlines May 24, 2012: Obama Campaign Stays on Attack Releases New Ad on Romney’s Iowa State Corporation Comment — Romney Goes Positive with New Day One Ad




Obama Hits Rewind, Romney Looks Forward in New Ads

Source: ABC News Radio, 5-24-12

Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Obama campaign wants to turn back the clock.  The Romney campaign wants to hit fast forward.

All week long the difference in messages coming from the two teams has been striking.  President Obama’s ad makers have kept a laser-like focus on Mitt Romney’s business dealings at Bain Capital, the private equity firm he founded nearly three decades ago.

On Thursday, the Obama team is out with a new video looking back at Romney’s memorable appearance last year at the Iowa State Fair when he declared, “corporations are people, my friend.”…

And to underscore that strategy, the Romney campaign unveiled a new campaign ad Thursday morning — part of their “Day One” series — that attempts to answer, “What would a Romney Presidency be like?”…READ MORE

Romney For President Releases Television Ad, “Day One, Part Two”

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 5-24-12

Today, Romney for President released a new television advertisement titled “Day One, Part Two.” On day one of his presidency, Mitt Romney will reverse President Obama’s failed policies by ending the era of big government, standing up to China, and repealing job-killing regulations.

To View “Day One, Part Two” Please See: http://mi.tt/MppsXX

AD FACTS: Script For “Day One, Part Two”

VIDEO TEXT: “What would a Romney Presidency be like?”

VOICEOVER: “What would a Romney Presidency be like?”

VIDEO TEXT: “Day 01”

VOICEOVER: “Day one, President Romney announces deficit reductions, ending the Obama era of big government, helping secure our kids’ futures.”

VIDEO TEXT: “End Obama era of Big Government”

VOICEOVER: “President Romney stands up to China on trade and demands they play by the rules.”

VIDEO TEXT: “Make China Play By The Rules”

VOICEOVER: “President Romney begins repealing job-killing regulations that are costing the economy billions.”

VIDEO TEXT: “Repeal Job-killing Regulations”

VOICEOVER: “That’s what a Romney Presidency will be like.”

MITT ROMNEY: “I’m Mitt Romney and I approve this message.”

A Better America: Day One, Part Two


Romney at the Iowa State Fairgrounds “corporations are people”

White House Recap March 23-30, 2012: The Obama Presidency’s Weekly Recap — President Barack Obama’s South Korea Trip & the Nuclear Security Summit



This week, the President traveled to the Republic of Korea to attend a nuclear security summit. Back at home, the kitchen garden got underway with this year’s first planting.

West Wing Week

Weekly Wrap Up: “We Need to Keep at It”

Source: WH, 3-30-12

From Dartmouth to the World Bank: On Friday, the President named Dr. Jim Yong Kim – president of Dartmouth college, co-founder of Partners in Health and global health and development expert – as his choice to head the World Bank. “[Despite] its name, the World Bank is more than just a bank,” the President explained. “It’s one of the most powerful tools we have to reduce poverty and raise standards of living in some of the poorest countries in the planet.”

Nuclear Security Summit: Just after midnight on Saturday morning, President Obama boarded Air Force One and departed for a trip to South Korea. His three-day trip included a tour of the DMZ and a meeting with U.S. troops stationed at the border; a talk with students at Hankuk University; and a series of bilateral and trilateral meetings with foreign leaders — including President Hu Jintao of China, President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan, and President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia.

All Right, Let’s Plant!: Students and Girl Scouts from across the country joined the First Lady on the South Lawn Monday for a sunny afternoon planting the White House Kitchen Garden.

Big Data, Big Deal: On Thursday, the Obama Administration announced the “Big Data Research and Development Initiative,” which promises to help accelerate the pace of discovery in science and engineering, strengthen our national security, and transform teaching and learning.

Facebook Timeline: The White House’s Facebook timeline launched on Friday, now providing both the latest news and a glimpse into history. The timeline highlights special moments from our rich history, including all forty-four presidential inaugurations, FDR’s first “fireside chat,” and the launch of the first White House website.

Full Text Obama Presidency March 25-27, 2012: President Barack Obama at the Nuclear Security Summit, Seoul, South Korea & Speech Transcripts



President Obama in South Korea

Source: WH, 3-25-12

Just after midnight on Saturday morning, President Obama boarded Air Force One and departed for a trip to South Korea. After crossing the International Date Line, he arrived in Seoul for a nuclear security summit.

As part of the trip, the President today got a first hand view of North Korea as he toured to the DMZ and met with U.S. troops stationed on the border. He told the servicemen and women, “Everybody back home could not be prouder of what you guys do each and every day — the dedication, the professionalism that you show.”
President Obama views the DMZ (March 25, 2012)
President Barack Obama is briefed by Lt. Col. Ed Taylor as he views the DMZ from Observation Post Ouellette at Camp Bonifas, Republic of Korea, March 25, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

The President also kicked off the three days of diplomacy with a pair of bilateral meetings — with President Lee Myung-bak of South Korea and Prime Minister Erdogan or Turkey.

President Barack Obama and President Lee Myung-bak (March 25, 2012)

President Barack Obama and President Lee Myung-bak participate in a press conference at the Blue House in Seoul, Republic of Korea, March 25, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Discussing the Global Economy and Nuclear Security in Seoul

Source: WH, 3-26-12

The Korean trade agreement will support an estimated 70,000 jobs

Tomorrow, President Obama will head home from South Korea — after a busy three days of diplomatic meetings and discussions of nuclear security.

At a talk today with students at Hankuk University, the President outlined the reasons why he’s made the issue such a major priority:

We’re building an international architecture that can ensure nuclear safety.  But we’re under no illusions. We know that nuclear material, enough for many weapons, is still being stored without adequate protection. And we know that terrorists and criminal gangs are still trying to get their hands on it — as well as radioactive material for a dirty bomb. We know that just the smallest amount of plutonium — about the size of an apple — could kill hundreds of thousands and spark a global crisis. The danger of nuclear terrorism remains one of the greatest threats to global security. And that’s why here in Seoul, we need to keep at it.

This is the President’s third official visit to South Korea, and as he pointed today, he’s been to Seoul more than any other capital. That fact obviously to speaks the strength of the political relationship between our two nations, but it also highlights our growing economic ties.

That’s why President Obama worked so hard to pass the U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement — which will help to support an estimated 70,000 jobs in the years ahead and increase U.S. GDP by at least $11 billion due to increased exports of goods.

The economy was also a topic of discussion in a series of bilateral meetings between President Obama and foreign leaders. Today, he held talks with President Hu Jintao of China, President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan, and President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia.



White House Recap March 10-16, 2012: The Obama Presidency’s Weekly Recap — President Barack Obama Hosts British Prime Minister David Cameron for Basketball, State Dinner & Press Conference



West Wing Week: 3/16/12 or “Leveling the Playing Field”

Source: WH, 3-16-12

This week, the President pressed for support of advanced manufacturing, held a series of “Live from the White House” Interviews, made a major announcement on trade rights, hosted Prime Minster Cameron for an Official State Visit and a trip to an NCAA game, and spoke on energy and job creation in Maryland.

Weekly Wrap Up: Standing Together and Working Together

Source: WH, 3-16-12

No Quick Fix: Speaking from Prince George’s Community College in Largo, Maryland on Thursday, the President explained his all-of-the-above strategy to develop every available source of American-made energy. “We need an energy strategy for the future,” the President explained. “Yes, develop as much oil and gas as we can, but also develop wind power and solar power and biofuels.”

Rock-Solid Alliance: On Wednesday morning, President Obama – together with the First Lady, the Vice President and Dr. Biden – welcomed British Prime Minister David Cameron and Samantha Cameron to the White House during the Official Arrival Ceremony on the South Lawn. Later that evening, the Prime Minister and his wife were honored with a State Dinner, where they were joined by dignitaries from both countries. “In war and I peace, in times of plenty and times of hardship,” President Obama remarked, “we stand tall and proud and strong, together.”

Announcing a New Trade Case: After forming the Trade Enforcement Unit two weeks ago, President Obama announced on Wednesday that, “we’re bringing a new trade case against China – and we’re being joined by Japan and some of our European allies.” The effort is focused on expanding American manufacturers’ access to rare earth materials, which China currently supplies and, due to their policies, prevents the United States from obtaining.

Bracketology: Before the madness began, the President took time to fill out his brackets for the 2012 NCAA men and women’s basketball tournaments. While Kentucky, Ohio State and Mizzou made his Final Four, it’s the North Carolina Tar Heels who he selected as his national champion. On Monday night, the President headed to Dayton, Ohio with Prime Minister Cameron to catch some early round action in person.

History Buzz January 25, 2012: Kenneth Swopes: Ball State professor recalls his sabbatical in China & research on Ming Dynasty


History Buzz


Ball State professor recalls his sabbatical in China

Source: BS Daily News, 1-25-12


Kenneth Swopes, associate professor of history explains his research about the Ming dynasty while pointing out relics that have helped him with his research. He talked about his findings to students and other professors Tuesday afternoon in the Burkhart building.

A historian of late imperial and northeast Asian military history presented the culmination of his sabbatical findings to a room full of students and colleagues Wednesday afternoon.

Kenneth Swope, associate professor of history, gave students and fellow professors the opportunity to learn more about the Ming Dynasty.

Swope’s research was a self-described overview of the book he wrote, which will be published at the end of this year.

Swope had planned to have the book published sooner, but by “happy coincidence,” he ran into the problem of having more primary sources than he had hoped for while on sabbatical in China.

“A lot of Chinese primary documents out of the archives in Beijing or Nanjing — where the two main archives are — are still published in hardcopy,” Swope said. “They’re not up on the internet or published digitally.”

One collection Swope used for his research was a collection of 102 volumes, about 500 pages each, of copies of handwritten documents from the Ming Dynasty.

The collection is estimated at $20,000-$25,000.

Swope said he read about 48 of the volumes for his sabbatical research.

“With reduced budgets and things, universities libraries aren’t able to buy these things,” Swope said. “So you still have to go there to do research.”

The book, entitled “The Military Collapse of China’s Ming Dynasty,” is the result of several years of work and research by Swope.

Beginning with an introduction from department chair Kevin Smith, Swope talked about the collapse of the Ming dynasty.

Attributing the fall of the Ming Dynasty to Emperor Wanli, Swope made a connection between the dynasty and American politics.

Swope provided reasons for the fall of the ancient power with significant reasons being economic and political factors.

“The first problem was economics, money problems,” Swope said. “Again, this is something we can identify with given the fiscal problems of our own government.”

With the Ming Dynasty, they had large amounts of physical wealth and were far more advanced than many other places in the world because their wealth had increased due to the finding of America.

Citing land taxes as the base of revenue, Swope connected the rich of the Ming Dynasty to part of the country’s economic problems.

“The rich found ways to dodge taxes,” Swope said. “The upper one percent of the Ming Dynasty were dodging all the taxes.”

White House Recap August 20-26, 2011: The Obama Presidency’s Weekly Recap — Vice President Biden’s Asia Trip — President Obama’s Statements on Libya & Hurricane Irene



Weekly Wrap-up: Time to Prepare

Source: WH, 8-26-11

Vice President Joe Biden Signs a Flag for a Group of Sailors at Yokota AFB

Vice President Joe Biden signs a flag for a group of sailors after speaking to troops at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Aug. 24, 2011. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

A quick look at what happened this week on WhiteHouse.gov:

#VPinAsia: The Vice President spent the last week traveling through Asia and meeting with leaders in the region. He delivered a major speech in China, met with the Prime Minister of Mongolia, and paid tribute to the enduring spirit of the Japanese tsunami survivors.

Hurricane Irene: The President has urged Americans to take this storm seriously. With the hurricane poised to reach the east coast this weekend, it is important to take steps ensuring your preparedness. We’ve compiled a list of helpful resources in case you are in the projected path of the hurricane.

Libya:  Following a call with the National Security Council, President Obama spoke about the evolving situation in Libya. President Obama said, “The Qaddafi regime is coming to an end, and the future of Libya is in the hands of its people,” making it clear that the courage of the Libyan people has brought freedom within reach.

Regulatory Reform: In January of this year, the President emphasized that our regulatory system “must measure, and seek to improve, the actual results of regulatory requirements.” With this point in mind, he ordered an unprecedentedly ambitious government-wide review of existing federal regulations. He directed agencies and departments to produce plans to eliminate red tape and to streamline current requirements. The agencies have released their final regulatory reform plans, including hundreds of initiatives that will reduce costs, simplify the system, and eliminate redundancy and inconsistency.

MLK Memorial: Though Hurricane Irene has postponed the official opening ceremony, Maya Angelou has released her poem, written to commemorate the true historic nature of this memorial.

Presidential Galleries: Visitors to the White House love to look at the archival photos that are featured in the halls of the East Wing. There’s a gallery of the Presidential pets, family life in the White House, Presidential vacations, and some of the Presidency’s most historic moments.


President Barack Obama holds a conference call on Hurricane Irene
President Barack Obama holds a conference call on Hurricane Irene, White House Photo, Pete Souza, 8/26/11


White House Recap August 13-19, 2011: The Obama Presidency’s Weekly Recap — Obama Embarks on Economic Rural Tour to the Midwest States of Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois — Job Plan Will be Announced After Labor Day



President Barack Obama delivers remarks at a town hall
White House Photo, Samantha Appleton, 8/17/11

Weekly Wrap Up: On the Road

Source: WH, 8-19-11

This week most of the action took place far away from the West Wing, as the President and many of his senior advisors hit the road to talk with Americans in rural towns and communities in Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois.

Rural Road Trip: From August 15-18, President Obama traveled through the Midwest, meeting with Americans in rural towns and communities in Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois. The purpose of his trip, dubbed the Economic Rural Tour 2011, was to have conversations with people from different walks of life about what is happening in our country right now. The President was there to talk, but also to listen. His message at the end of his trip? There’s nothing wrong with our country that can’t be fixed.

Summer Tour: The President was not the only member of the Administration on the road this week. In fact, this summer there are more than 100 events being held across the country in support of the White House’s Rural Economic Council, which this week released a Jobs and Economic Security report. The Council held a Rural Economic Forum in Iowa, where the President announced several new initiatives to help create jobs and grow the economy in rural communities.

VP in Asia: Vice President Joe Biden logged even more miles than the President this week, as he headed to China for the first stop on his three country trip through Asia. In addition to meeting with Chinese leaders in Beijing, the VP also attended a U.S.-China business roundtable and chatted with locals at a snack shop in the city. You can follow his travels live on Twitter – #VPin Asia.

Historic Appointments, Historic Delays: The President’s nominations for federal judges embody an unprecedented commitment to expanding the racial, gender and experiential diversity of the men and women who enforce our laws and deliver justice. Unfortunately, the delays these nominees are encountering on Capitol Hill are equally unprecedented. Check out this infographic to understand what this means for Americans seeking justice.

Immigration Update: The Department of Homeland Security announced a new strategy that focuses immigration resources in a way that puts public safety and national security first. Cecilia Muñoz, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, held Office Hours via Twitter to explain the change and what it means.

Super Bowl Champs in the House: On August 12, the Green Bay Packers paid a visit to the President, where he congratulated the team on their championship season. Team members took a tour of the White House and gave a shout out to the First Lady, whose work with Let’s Move inspires their own Fit Kids program, which helps educate Wisconsin children about good health and smart eating habits.

Julia Lovell: Historian Finds New Relevance in Chinese Conflict


History Buzz

The Opium War is a touchy subject, admits Julia Lovell.

The Chinese often refer to the conflict that began in 1839 as the beginning of colonial submission, while for many British it has faded to the footnotes of history.

But the myths of the war are still relevant, as they explain China’s complicated relationship with the West, Ms. Lovell argues in her new book, “The Opium War: Drugs, Dreams and the Making of China.”

The 36-year-old, who teaches history at the University of London, spoke with The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Chow about the book’s inspiration, why writing it put her in a bad mood, and how James Bond inspired her to study Chinese. The following interview has been edited.

I started off as a history major in university. In my Christmas holiday of my first term, being an undergraduate, I was watching a James Bond movie on TV. It was “You Only Live Twice,” the one where he goes to Japan.

There’s a scene where Miss Moneypenny asks him, “How are you going to manage with the language?” He says, “Don’t worry, Moneypenny, I studied Oriental languages in Cambridge.” I thought this was my only chance to have something in common with James Bond…. READ MORE

Political Highlights January 24, 2011: Obama & the State of the Union — Chinese President Visits White House — House Votes to Repeal Health Care Bill


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.



  • Who is Obama? Pragmatism makes him tough to define: A socialist? A steady hand? A sellout? Halfway through his first term — or only term, if Republicans can eject him in the 2012 elections — President Obama’s leadership style has made him something of a political enigma. His health care law ushered in the most sweeping social legislation since the 1960s, but he abandoned the government-sponsored coverage he embraced during his campaign. His tax-cut compromise with Republicans to extend unemployment benefits and provide relief to the middle class discarded a key campaign promise to roll back Bush-era tax cuts for top earners. His Wall Street bailouts alienated some of the Main Street workers he said he was trying to help. His soaring rhetoric from the campaign often dried up during debates on health care and jobs, but it re-emerged powerfully this month as he honored the victims of the mass shooting in Tucson.
    Two years into his presidency, who is Barack Obama? Ronald Reagan stood firm for limited government and against communism. Bill Clinton stayed focused on the economy. George W. Bush launched a post-9/11 war on terrorism. Obama’s political North Star is harder to define…. – USA Today, 1-18-11
  • Obama’s job approval rebounds in latest polls, but can it last?: The latest polls show Obama’s job approval back up to 50 percent. His response to Tucson and the bills passed by the lame-duck Congress are credited, but the economy remains a challenge.
    On the second anniversary of his inauguration – and days before his State of the Union address next Tuesday – President Obama is on the rebound with the American public. A slew of major polls now show Mr. Obama with more public approval than disapproval of his job performance, many of them putting him over the 50 percent mark. A survey of the latest polls by RealClearPolitics shows Obama averaging 50 percent approval versus 45 percent disapproval. The last time the positive outweighed the negative was in July. The last time that gap was at least 5 percentage points was a year ago…. – CS Monitor, 1-20-11
  • President Obama’s approval rating surges at midpoint of term: Several polls note a rise in public approval for Obama. The bump comes after his Tucson shooting speech and a productive lame-duck congressional session.
    The same polling shows that although new Speaker of the House John Boehner is getting favorable reviews early on, Americans don’t expect that much from the new Congress.
    A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey released Wednesday night showed Obama’s job-approval rating at 53%, an eight-point jump from mid-December and his highest rating since July 2009. Surveys from CNN/Opinion Research and ABC News/Washington Post also put Obama’s approval rating above the 50% threshold.
    An aggregation of polling data by Real Clear Politics shows Obama with a net approval rating of 5%, a jump of 8% from mid-December and at the highest level since January 2010…. – LAT, 1-20-11
  • Poll shows high marks for Obama on Tucson, low regard for political dialogue: Evaluations of President Obama’s handling of the Jan. 8 tragedy are highly positive across the political spectrum, with nearly eight in 10 giving him high marks for his response to the incident. A robust 71 percent of Republicans say they approve of his leadership following the shootings.
    The strong reviews of the president’s response to the Arizona incident – which included giving a prime-time eulogy at a memorial service for the victims – have helped boost Obama’s overall approval rating to its highest point since last April. Fully 54 percent of all Americans now approve of the way he is handling his job as president, while 43 percent disapprove…. – WaPo, 1-17-11


The President gives the 2010 State of the Union Address
  • State of the Union – NYT
  • The State of the Union and You: On Tuesday, January 25, at 9 p.m. EST, President Obama will deliver the State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol. We have been working on a number of ways citizens can get involved in the State of the Union and ask their questions of President Obama and senior Administration officials. You can find all the details on the brand new State of the Union page.
    Here’s the lineup of events next week. Be sure to tune in to watch the speech live at 9 p.m. on Tuesday and find a way get involved.
    Tuesday at 9 PM: Live Stream of the State of the Union Watch the live stream of the State of the Union Address on WhiteHouse.gov.
    Tuesday Immediately After the Speech: Open for Questions Immediately following the State of the Union Address, stay tuned for a live Open For Questions event where Senior White House officials will answer your questions about key issues addressed in the speech live from the White House…. – WH, 1-21-11
  • Obama’s speech will expose partisan divide on spending: President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech will emphasize “winning the future” for America by strengthening the nation’s ability to compete in a changing world, according to White House talking points provided Monday by a Democratic source. Tuesday night’s annual speech to Congress, a nationally televised event considered the president’s biggest address of the year, brings together the three branches of government for an assessment of where America stands and where it is heading.
    “The president will lay out a plan to win the future by out-innovating, out-educating and out-building the rest of the world,” said the White House talking points. “He will talk about the need to take responsibility for our deficits, by investing only in what makes America stronger and cutting what doesn’t, and reforming our government so that it’s leaner and smarter for the 21st century.”… – CNN, 1-24-11
  • State of the Union: It’s the economy, again: Standing before a nation clamoring for jobs, President Barack Obama will call for targeted spending to boost the economy but also for budget cutting in Tuesday night’s State of the Union address, his first in a new era of divided political power.
    To a television audience in the tens of millions, Obama will home in on jobs, the issue of most importance to the public and to his hopes for a second term. Though war and other concerns bid for attention, the president has chosen to lean heavily on the economy, with far less emphasis on Afghanistan and Iraq, terrorism and foreign affairs.
    Specifically, Obama will focus on improving the education, innovation and infrastructure of the United States as the way to provide a sounder economic base. He will pair that with calls to reduce the government’s debt — now topping a staggering $14 trillion — and reforming government. Those five areas will frame the speech, with sprinklings of fresh proposals.
    Yet no matter how ambitious Obama’s rhetorical reach, his speech at the halfway point of his term will be viewed in the context of his new political reality…. – AP, 1-24-11
  • Obama to Press Centrist Agenda in His Address: President Obama will outline an agenda for “winning the future” in his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, striking a theme of national unity and renewal as he stresses the need for government spending in key areas and an attack on the budget deficit.
    “My No. 1 focus,” he said, “is going to be making sure that we are competitive, and we are creating jobs not just now but well into the future.”
    “These are big challenges that are in front of us,” Mr. Obama also said in the video, sent to members of Organizing for America, his network of supporters from the 2008 campaign. “But we’re up to it, as long as we come together as a people — Republicans, Democrats, independents — as long as we focus on what binds us together as a people, as long as we’re willing to find common ground even as we’re having some very vigorous debates.”… –
    NYT, 1-23-11
  • Tensions rise between Supreme Court, politicians: The moment lasted about 20 seconds. But its political reverberations have endured for a year and exemplify today’s knotty confluence of law, politics and public perception.
    At last year’s State of the Union speech Jan. 27, with six Supreme Court justices in attendance, President Obama denounced a recent campaign-finance ruling, saying it reversed a century of precedent and warning that it would “open the floodgates” for corporate spending on elections. Justice Samuel Alito shook his head and mouthed “not true.” That tense moment has been viewed on youtube.com more than 650,000 times in the past year. It was singularly controversial but not the only headline-grabbing interaction between members of the political branches and the Supreme Court in the past twelve months.
    A series of events, most recently Justice Antonin Scalia’s acceptance of an invitation to speak to Tea Party members, has made clear that against the backdrop of an increasingly polarized Washington and the 24-hour media frenzy, interactions between justices and the two elected branches have become more politicized…. – USA Today, 1-24-11
  • State of Union Near, Republicans Draw Line on Spending: Congressional Republicans, seeking to recapture the debate over the country’s economic recovery in advance of President Obama’s State of the Union address, warned Sunday that they would oppose any new spending initiatives and press ahead with their plans for budget cuts in every realm of government, including the military…. – NYT, 1-23-11
  • State of the Union speech to focus on jobs: Obama: President Barack Obama said on Saturday he would use his annual State of the Union address to urge both parties to act to lift U.S. growth and create more jobs.
    “My number one focus is going to be making sure that we are competitive, that we are growing, and we are creating jobs not just now but well into the future,” he said in a video e-mailed to members of his Organizing for America grassroots movement.
    Obama’s speech on Tuesday to a joint session of the U.S. Congress will show how he plans to rise above the political gridlock that marked his first two years in the White House, shaping his 2012 re-election prospects…. – Reuters, 1-22-10
  • Obama touts U.S. innovation in State of the Union preview: In his weekly address, Obama hails American economic potential and efforts to ‘win the future.’ In their response, Republicans focus on the repeal of the healthcare overhaul law.
    President Obama hailed the economic potential of increased American exports and green technology Saturday, previewing themes expected to be at the heart of his second State of the Union address Tuesday night. In his weekly address, Obama referred to Wednesday’s state visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao and his own trip to a General Electric plant in New York on Friday as examples of how innovation and opening new overseas markets to American products will help “win the future.”
    “Countries around the world are upping their game and giving their workers and companies every advantage possible. But that shouldn’t discourage us,” he said. “We just have to make sure we’re doing everything we can to unlock the productivity of American workers, unleash the ingenuity of American businesses, and harness the dynamism of America’s economy.”
    Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, a doctor, pressed the Democrats who still control the Senate to bring a repeal bill up for a vote in the chamber. “We are now one step closer to victory in the fight for a healthcare policy that puts Americans first — not Washington,” he said. “Our job won’t be done until we repeal and replace this bad law.”… – LAT, 1-22-10
  • A ‘state of the union’ fight ahead over US government spending: How furiously to cut government spending is likely to be a major point of departure between Obama, who gives the State of the Union address on Tuesday, and congressional Republicans…. – CS Monitor, 1-22-10
  • Obama’s economic agenda: Boost US competitiveness: Under pressure to energize the economy, President Barack Obama will put job creation and American competitiveness at the center of his State of the Union address, promoting spending on education and research while pledging to trim the nation’s soaring debt.
    Obama hopes this framework will woo Republicans as he searches for success in a divided Congress and will sway a wary private sector to hire and spend money it’s held back. The economy is on firmer footing than when he took office two years ago, and his emphasis on competitiveness signals a shift from policies geared toward short-term stabilization to ones with steady and long-term growth in mind.
    Obama will speak to a Congress shaken by the attempted assassination of one of their own. Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head two weeks ago during an event in her district in Tucson, Ariz.
    The president has appealed for more civility in politics, and in a nod to that ideal, some Democrats and Republicans will break with tradition and sit alongside each other in the House chamber Tuesday night during a joint session of Congress…. – AP, 1-22-10
  • In this year’s State of Union, seating could blur party lines: Flash-forward now to the Congress of today, the Era of I-Hate-Your-Guts-And-Want-To-Rip-Your-Lungs-Out-You- Unpatriotic-Jerk. Weary of a climate that has grown so toxic that Congress should earmark money for a political Hazmat team, some lawmakers have a solution. When President Barack Obama comes to Capitol Hill Tuesday night to deliver the State of Union speech to a joint session of Congress, Democrats and Republicans should sit together, not in opposing camps of red and blue. The opposing camps idea has been the tradition since 1913, when Woodrow Wilson became the first president since Thomas Jefferson to personally deliver the annual speech to Congress…. – Miami Herald, 1-21-11
  • Obama’s Tuesday speech to stress economy, civility: President Barack Obama, midway through his term and mindful of positioning himself for next year’s re-election campaign, will use the annual State of the Union address Tuesday night to recast himself to voters and regain the confidence of centrists and independents. Expect the economy to serve as the major focus of the speech, both short-term job creation and his plans for long- term stability, with a secondary theme being a call for civility and compromise.
    “The great majority of the speech will be on the steps that the president believes our country has to take to continue that economic recovery,” said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs…. – Miami Herald, 1-21-11
  • GOP taps Paul Ryan to give rebuttal to Obama’s speech: House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, a rising Republican star who’s stirred controversy with his approach to budget-cutting, will give the GOP response Tuesday to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. The choice is aimed at showcasing the commitment of Republicans, who earlier this month took control of the House of Representatives for the first time in four years, to deficit reduction.
    Previous Republican responses to Obama’s State of the Union addresses were given by governors, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Bob McDonnell of Virginia.
    Ryan, 39, a seventh-term Wisconsin Republican, is known for his “Roadmap for America’s Future,” a plan for reducing federal budget deficits that includes permitting younger workers the option of setting aside Social Security tax payments for “personal retirement accounts.”
    In addition, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., a favorite of the tea party movement, will deliver a separate reaction to Obama’s speech on behalf of the Tea Party Express, one of the movement’s largest groups. The broadcast, following Obama and Ryan, will be broadcast on live streaming video at http://www.TeaPartyExpress.org or at http://www.TeaPartyHD.com…. – Miami Herald, 1-21-11
  • Scenarios: Possible themes in Obama’s State of Union speech: President Barack Obama faces a new political reality when he gives his State of the Union address on Tuesday: greater Republican power in Congress that will hamper his ability to make sweeping policy proposals. So the president, a Democrat, will make an even greater attempt to highlight areas of common ground with the opposition party on areas that are priorities for both sides such as boosting the economy and reducing the deficit. Here are a few potential areas he may touch upon…. – Reuters, 1-21-11


  • R. Sargent Shriver has died: Robert Sargent Shriver, the former Peace Corps director and vice-presidential nominee, has passed away.
  • Sargent Shriver, former Peace Corps director, Dies — NYT Slideshow
  • Sargent Shriver eulogized at funeral Mass in Maryland: Maria Shriver, the former NBC reporter and wife of former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, said her family took comfort in ‘knowing that Daddy is in heaven with God and with Mummy.’… – LAT, 1-22-10
  • Sargent Shriver remembered at star-studded funeral: Maria Shriver and husband Arnold Schwarzenegger helped carry the casket of Sargent Shriver today at a funeral mass at Our Lady of Mercy Parish, the Shriver family’s church in Potomac, Md. President Bill Clinton, First lady Michelle Obama, U2’s Bono and Oprah Winfrey attended the funeral. Others on the guest list included Muhammad Ali, Clint Eastwood and congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, reports AP. Wyclef Jean played piano and sang All the Ends of the Earth as guests including the Shriver family clapped along. Later, Vanessa Williams sang Soon and Very Soon.
    At a wake held for Shriver on Friday, some of Washington’s most notable figures extended condolences to the family. Shriver, the husband of Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver, died Tuesday at age 95…. – USA Today, 1-22-

Smiling at the Life of R. Sargent Shriver at His Funeral Mass

  • R. Sargent Shriver remembered for heritage, hugs: R. Sargent Shriver was honored Saturday as much for his passion for helping others as his loving hugs and enjoyment of baseball. Shriver, who fulfilled his brother-in-law John F. Kennedy’s campaign promise by starting the Peace Corps, developed the aid organization into an international force. Philanthropists and politicians who have worked to help others through charities were among hundreds honoring Shriver at a funeral Mass at Our Lady of Mercy Parish, the Shriver family’s church in Potomac, Md.
    Former President Bill Clinton, first lady Michelle Obama, U2 frontman Bono and singer Wyclef Jean were among those in attendance, along with members of the Kennedy and Shriver families.
    One by one, some of Shriver’s 19 grandchildren read short remembrances about their grandfather, recalling his passion for helping people, his hugs and his love of baseball.
    Cardinal Donald Wuerl of the Archdiocese of Washington told Shriver’s grandchildren to live with the same courage and fortitude of Shriver and his late wife, Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Wuerl spoke of Shriver’s legacy and belief that the world could be filled with peace, compassion and love. “Ask your parents to tell you stories. Read what your grandfather has written,” Wuerl said. “When you think of him, rejoice in the heritage he has given you.”… – AP, 1-22-10

  • Sargent Shriver’s family, veterans of social programs honor his life at wake: On Friday, Koskin was among hundreds who stood in a long but fast-moving line outside Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Georgetown to pay tribute to R. Sargent Shriver, the first director of the Peace Corps. Shriver died Jan. 18 at age 95. Koskin met Shriver a couple of times and has fond memories. “I’m here to celebrate a man who was an extraordinary role model for anyone who values what a just and civilized society should be,” said Koskin, an Arlington County resident who works in the Treasury Department’s inspector general’s office. “If you go to the Peace Corps building, his spirit is very much alive. You feel an incredible optimism for what is possible. Anyone who ever worked in that building comes away with an intolerance for the word ‘No.’ ” Mourners included dowagers in full-length fur coats, Special Olympians, civil servants and young college students who said Shriver inspired them to aim for a life in public service. Former Peace Corps volunteers, who formed the largest contingent at Friday’s wake, said they carried their idealism into middle age. A funeral Mass is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at Our Lady of Mercy in Potomac. Cardinal Donald Wuerl will deliver the homily…. – Washington Post, 1-21-11
  • R. Sargent Shriver, Peace Corps Leader, Dies at 95: R. Sargent Shriver, the Kennedy in-law who became the founding director of the Peace Corps, the architect of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s war on poverty, a United States ambassador to France and the Democratic candidate for vice president in 1972, died on Tuesday in Bethesda, Md. He was 95. Mr. Shriver was found to have Alzheimer’s disease in 2003 and on Sunday was admitted to Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, where he died. He had been in hospice care in recent months after his estate in Potomac, Md., was sold last year.
    White-haired and elegantly attired, he attended the inauguration of his son-in-law, Arnold Schwarzenegger, as the Republican governor of California in the fall of 2003. Mr. Schwarzenegger is married to Maria Shriver, a former NBC News correspondent. But in recent years, as his condition deteriorated, Mr. Shriver was seldom seen in public. He emerged in one instance to attend the funeral of his wife of 56 years, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, a sister of John F. Kennedy; she died in 2009 in Hyannis, Mass., at the age of 88…. – NYT, 1-18-11
  • ‘Sarge’ Shriver, founder of Peace Corps, dead at 95: Robert Sargent Shriver Jr., founder of the Peace Corps and husband of the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver, died yesterday after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
    The 95-year-old former vice-presidential candidate, known fondly as “Sarge,” “went to heaven to join the love of his life,” the family said in a statement.
    Shriver died at a Maryland hospital surrounded by his five children — Bobby, Maria, Tim, Mark and Anthony — their spouses and 19 grandchildren. His death came less than two years after his wife died in August 2009 at age 88.
    “He was a man of giant love, energy, enthusiasm and commitment. He lived to make the world a more joyful, faithful and compassionate place,” the family statement read. “We will miss him forever.” – Boston Herald, 1-18-11
  • Sargent Shriver, founding director of Peace Corps, dies at 95: Robert Sargent Shriver Jr., husband of the late Eunice Kennedy and father of five children, spent more than seven decades in public service.
    R. Sargent Shriver, who was tapped to create the Peace Corps by his brother-in-law John F. Kennedy and crafted 1960s-era programs that remain cornerstones in the federal government’s efforts to combat poverty, died Jan. 18 at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, a family spokesman said. He was 95 and had Alzheimer’s disease.
    A Yale-educated lawyer from a prominent Maryland family, Mr. Shriver was a businessman and aspiring political leader when he married Eunice Kennedy in the early 1950s. He served in three presidential administrations, including a stint as U.S. ambassador to France, and ran for president and vice president. His ambitions were as much propelled as they were frustrated by his connection to his in-laws, the powerful political dynasty from Massachusetts.
    When the family received word in 1964 that President Lyndon B. Johnson was considering Mr. Shriver as a running mate, Eunice balked. “No,” she reportedly said, and then invoked her brother Robert’s name. “It’s Bob’s turn.” Kennedy aide Ken O’Donnell was more straightforward, telling Mr. Shriver that if any of the inner circle were to run, it would be Bobby – not “half a Kennedy.”
    Still, it was Mr. Shriver’s status as an almost-Kennedy that landed him the role for which he is perhaps best known, as the leader of the Peace Corps during its infancy…. – WaPo, 1-18-11
  • Shriver family gave voice to ‘silent epidemic’ Public figure’s battle with Alzheimer’s helped normalize disease: Battling Alzheimer’s disease is often a private struggle, with few champions who speak on behalf of patients and their loved ones. But the family of R. Sargent Shriver, who died Tuesday, helped shed light on the disease and spur support and research for its causes.
    Since his diagnosis in 2003, the family of the influential public servant and founder of the Peace Corps had sought to change the public perception of people with Alzheimer’s so they would not be viewed as victims, said geriatrician William Thomas, professor at UMBC’s Erickson School of Aging.
    “Instead, he was a person living with Alzheimer’s, and that’s an absolutely crucial distinction,” Thomas said. “What the Shrivers were about were sort of normalizing this disease. It is important for people of stature, like the Shrivers, to step into the light and to be seen and to tell their story, because so many other people feel like they can’t do that.”… – LAT, 1-18-11
  • Statement by the President on the Passing of Sargent Shriver: I was deeply saddened to learn about the passing of Sargent Shriver, one of the brightest lights of the greatest generation. Over the course of his long and distinguished career, Sarge came to embody the idea of public service. Of his many enduring contributions, he will perhaps best be remembered as the founding director of the Peace Corps, helping make it possible for generations of Americans to serve as ambassadors of goodwill abroad. His loss will be felt in all of the communities around the world that have been touched by Peace Corps volunteers over the past half century and all of the lives that have been made better by his efforts to address inequality and injustice here at home. My thoughts and prayers are with Robert, Maria, Tim, Mark, and Anthony, and the entire Shriver family during this sad time. – WH, 1-18-11


  • Joseph I. Lieberman’s Life and Career, NYT Slideshow
  • 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.
  • For Lieberman, an Exit Forged in Alienation: Mr. Lieberman barely alluded to this in his speech, saying only that “I have not always fit comfortably into conventional political boxes — Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative.”
    The senator looked past the bad blood with Democrats, back all the way to John F. Kennedy, who he said had inspired him to pursue public service. He said Kennedy’s principles — “service to country, support of civil rights and social justice, pro-growth economic and tax policies, and a strong national defense” — were still his politics.
    “So maybe that means J.F.K. wouldn’t fit neatly into any of today’s partisan political boxes either,” Mr. Lieberman ventured. To his supporters, that is precisely the point: the party left Mr. Lieberman behind, not the other way around… – NYT, 1-20-11
  • Sen. Joe Lieberman says he will retire in 2012:Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut announced Wednesday that he will not seek a fifth term, ending a political career spanning four decades in which he evolved from a reliably Democratic state legislator into an independent U.S. senator who backed the war in Iraq and the Republican candidate for president. While Lieberman’s supporters lamented his decision not to run in 2012, many constituents, especially Democrats, said they were pleased because the “Joe” they knew as a state lawmaker and activist state attorney general is already long-gone.
    With his extended family standing behind him, Lieberman announced his intentions to retire before a crowd of several hundred supporters at a downtown Stamford hotel, near the site of his childhood home. While he acknowledged that he’d likely face a difficult re-election campaign, Lieberman, 68, downplayed speculation he was backing down from a tough race.
    He invoked a Bible verse from Ecclesiastes in explaining his decision: “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under Heaven.” “At the end of this term, I will have served 24 years in the U.S. Senate and 40 years in elective office. For me, it is time for another season and another purpose under heaven,” he said.
    Lieberman said he’s had a history of winning tough political battles since the 1970s, including the 2006 race where he lost the Democratic primary, only to win the general election as an independent. “I know that some people have said that if I ran for re-election, it would be a difficult campaign for me. So what else is new,” Lieberman said…. – AP, 1-19-11
  • Joe Lieberman Quips: When Regis Retires, I Retire: Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut confirmed on Wednesday that he will not seek another term. When he addressed a crowd of supporters and press at a Marriott hotel in Stamford, the politician said his wife Hadassa once asked him how long he was going to stay in the Senate and he came up with this response: “I promise you, that when Regis leaves television, I’ll leave the Senate,” he quipped. “And here we are.”
    Lieberman first became a Senator in 1988. Al Gore picked him as his running mate in 2000, and since then, Lieberman’s relationship with the Democratic party has been a little rocky. TV personality Regis Philbin announced his retirement from his long-running daytime show on Tuesday.
    “I have not always fit comfortably into conventional political boxes,” he said Wednesday. “Maybe you’ve noticed that.”… – WNYC, 1-19-11
  • Joe Lieberman’s approach out of step with the times: By the geriatric standards of the Senate, the retirement of 68-year-old Sen. Joe Lieberman comes at a relatively young age. But Wednesday’s news that the Connecticut Democrat plans to leave the stage in 2012 surprised no one: It was clear the role he played was outdated and even clearer that he was thoroughly unsuited for the modern political era.
    The circumstances surrounding Lieberman’s decision not to seek reelection attest to that. In the span of just a decade, he went from celebrated vice-presidential nominee—he was the first Jewish candidate on a major party ticket in American history—to near-pariah status within his own party. The speed and arc of his political decline is stunning: In 2000, Lieberman won reelection to a third Senate term in a landslide, even as he spent the bulk of his time campaigning outside his home state as Al Gore’s running mate. By 2006, Lieberman couldn’t even win the Democratic nomination for his own seat. He was forced to run as a third-party candidate, winning with a bare 50 percent of the vote.
    The pendulum swung so far for Lieberman that he got a serious look to be Republican Sen. John McCain’s running mate in 2008. Both Gore and McCain saw in Lieberman the same thing, in mirror image: a moderate-to-conservative grown-up, whose very presence would signal to voters that the man at the top of the ticket wasn’t as extreme as he might appear at first blush, either to the left or to the right.
    But these days, at a time when most politicians prefer to pledge devotion to bipartisanship while not actually practicing it, a man with a foot in two parties really has no party. And therefore, really, no political future…. – Politico, 1-19-11
  • Norton: Lieberman’s exit a loss for the District: With Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) announcing Wednesday that he will not run for reelection in 2012, plenty of members of his old party and liberal commentators are happy to see the Democrat-turned-Independent go. But at least one Democrat is sorry to hear the Connecticut lawmaker’s decision — Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.).
    “The people of the District of Columbia have no senator of their own, but they have had in Senator Joe Lieberman an unfailing champion of their rights,” Norton said in a press release. “Senator Lieberman has been the lead sponsor of virtually every bill for our rights since I have been a Member of the House. As conditions allowed, he was always there for this city, first for statehood, then for seats in the House and Senate, and finally for the House vote. Beyond sponsorship, Joe Lieberman has been our chief advocate and strategist in the Senate.”… – WaPo, 1-19-11
  • 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


  • Updated rehab aims to give Giffords her life back: She inspired the nation with her fairy-tale recovery. Now Rep. Gabrielle Giffords must inspire herself through the ordeal of rehabilitation, and doctors say it’s likely to be the hardest work she’ll ever do. Just a couple of decades ago, rehab was little more than physical therapy for shuffling stroke victims and wheelchair-bound quadriplegics, a last resort after doctors had done all they could.
    Now it’s a sophisticated science at the forefront of treating people like Giffords, who was shot in the forehead two weeks ago while meeting constituents in Tucson. An early start on rehab is key to limiting permanent damage, and the Houston hospital where she will be treated uses high-tech tools to push the brain to rewire itself.
    The Arizona congresswoman arrived Friday at the Texas Medical Center, where she is expected to spend a few days in intensive care before moving to TIRR Memorial Hermann rehab hospital. Instead of doctors making you well, rehab means “teaching you how to help yourself” to get your life back, said Dr. William Donovan, a former medical director of the rehab hospital who still works there part-time…. – AP, 1-22-11
  • Doc: Giffords heard cheers leaving Ariz., smiled: She heard them, smiled, and tears welled up in her eyes. The caravan carrying Rep. Gabrielle Giffords swept past cheering crowds Friday as she left the hospital in Tucson, Ariz., where she dazzled doctors with her recovery from being shot in the head two weeks ago, and was moved to Houston for rehabilitation….
    By Friday afternoon, after a 930-plus-mile trip that doctors said went flawlessly, Giffords was in an intensive care unit at Texas Medical Center, where a new team of doctors planned to start her therapy immediately. After several days of evaluation, she will be sent to the center’s rehabilitation hospital, TIRR Memorial Hermann. Giffords has “great rehabilitation potential,” said Dr. Gerardo Francisco, chief medical officer of Memorial Hermann…. – AP, 1-21-11
  • Doctor: Giffords felt sunshine from hospital deck: Gabrielle Giffords on Thursday felt the sunshine on her face for the first time since she was shot, as doctors prepared her to leave behind the Arizona hospital where she dazzled them with her rapid recovery. Her next stop will be a Houston rehab center, where she will face an even more arduous task: Getting life back to normal.
    Her husband said he’s hoping she’ll make a full recovery, calling her “a fighter like nobody else that I know.”
    The doctors who will help her offered a more sober outlook. “Not everyone always gets 100 percent restoration, but we help them to get to a new normal,” said Carl Josehart, chief executive of the rehab hospital that will be the Arizona congresswoman’s home for the next month or two…. – AP, 1-20-11
  • Federal grand jury indicts Ariz. shooting suspect: A federal grand jury on Wednesday indicted the suspect in the deadly Arizona shooting rampage that wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. The indictment against Jared Loughner, 22, accuses him of attempting to assassinate Giffords and trying to kill two of her aides. It does not include two murder charges listed in an earlier criminal complaint for the deaths of Giffords aide Gabe Zimmerman, 30, and U.S. District Judge John Roll, 63. Those are potential death penalty charges. A statement from the U.S. attorney for Arizona, Dennis Burke, said those require a more painstaking process under Justice Department rules. Burke said the initial indictment issued by a grand jury in Tucson was just the beginning of federal legal action against the 22-year-old Tucson resident…. – AP, 1-19-11
  • Giffords to relearn basic skills in Houston rehab: Less than two weeks after surviving a bullet through the brain, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is to be moved to Houston to begin an arduous journey of intensive mental and physical rehabilitation. She’ll have to relearn how to think and plan. It’s unclear if she is able to speak or how well she can see. And while she is moving both arms and legs, it’s uncertain how much strength she has on her right side. Her swift transition from an intensive care unit to a rehab center is based on the latest research, which shows the sooner rehab starts, the better patients recover. Giffords’ family hopes to move the Arizona congresswoman on Friday to TIRR Memorial Hermann hospital in Houston, where her husband lives and works as an astronaut. The exact day of the move will depend on her health.
    “I am extremely hopeful at the signs of recovery that my wife has made since the shooting,” Mark Kelly said in a statement released by Giffords’ congressional office. The staff at University Medical Center in Tucson “has stabilized her to the point of being ready to move to the rehabilitation phase.”… –
  • Giffords stands with assistance, may move to rehab center Friday: A federal grand jury indicts Jared Lee Loughner on charges of attempted murder… Giffords has the strength to stand and lift her head… Giffords is to be moved to TIRR Memorial Hermann in Houston… Her husband, Mark Kelly, says Giffords feared for her safety… – CNN, 1-19-11
  • The congresswoman and the astronaut: A love story: STORY HIGHLIGHTS: The world has gotten a glimpse into the love affair of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly… The pair met in China in 2003, wed in 2007… Friends say Kelly is Giffords’ “rock” and they are devoted to each other… – CNN, 1-19-11
  • In Tucson, a Staff Mourns While Asking, ‘What Would Gabby Do?’: They still greet every visitor. They still help veterans file for disability benefits and retirees sign up for Medicare. They still send out press releases, though now they are signed by the chief of staff instead of the boss. There is an empty desk where a key aide of Representative Gabrielle Giffords sat inside Suite 112 of a modest stucco building here. And though the boss herself is not returning anytime soon, the rest of the staff is struggling every day to adapt to what one of them called “the new normal.” Ms. Giffords’s aides opened Suite 112, the congresswoman’s district office, two days after the shooting that left her with a severe bullet wound to the head, and the office has stayed open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every weekday since. It has been one of the staff’s few constants since a gunman opened fire at a community event on Jan. 8, killing six people and wounding the congresswoman and 12 others. Staff members have dived into their jobs as a means of coping with the tragedy. The mantra has been “What Would Gabby Do?” and the answer has been clear — keep working…. – NYT, 1-18-11
  • Gabrielle Giffords responds well to skull surgery, doctors say: Physicians in Tucson say they repaired damage to Gabrielle Giffords’ eye sockets on Saturday, and that she has responded well. They are still unsure about her ability to speak…. – LAT, 1-17-11
  • More Progress Reported for Giffords: Doctors at the University Medical Center said on Monday that the condition of Representative Gabrielle Giffords, the Arizona congresswoman who was shot through the head Jan. 8, continued to improve, and that she appeared to be focusing her eyes, a sign of progress in her recovery.
    At a news conference at the hospital, doctors told reporters that Ms. Giffords had made it through the most dangerous period as far as potential swelling of her injured brain was concerned, but that she still faced the risk of serious complications, including infection.
    Her husband, Capt. Mark Kelly, a naval officer and astronaut, said in a television interview that Ms. Giffords had rubbed his back for 10 minutes, which doctors said was another positive sign. “It does imply that she is interacting, perhaps, in a more familiar way with him,” said Dr. G. Michael Lemole Jr., the chief neurosurgeon at the hospital…. – NYT, 1-17-11
  • Will Gabrielle Giffords keep her House seat?: It’s unclear when or if the Arizona congresswoman recovering from gunshot wounds might return to work, but her staff is keeping her offices running, and not even political opponents are talking about vacating her seat.
    Julian Zelizer, a congressional historian at Princeton University, said a decision on vacating the seat would probably be as much about emotions as the law. “It would still be very tough for someone to move to declare her seat vacant,” Zelizer said. “She has become a symbol to much of the nation, a symbol for the nation for hope about the political process.”… – LAT, 1-18-11


  • Obama vows to ‘unlock the productivity’ of Americans: US President Barack Obama expressed his determination Saturday to “unlock the productivity” of American workers to make the country more competitive in a technology-driven economy.
    “I know we can out-compete any other nation on Earth,” Obama said in his weekly radio address. “We just have to make sure we?re doing everything we can to unlock the productivity of American workers, unleash the ingenuity of American businesses, and harness the dynamism of America?s economy,” he added.
    The president also referred to a raft of trade deals worth $45 billion the United States and China announced Wednesday as the two powers tried to narrow disputes by tethering their economic fortunes…. – AFP, 1-22-10
  • Hawaii law bars release of Obama birth info: A privacy law that shields birth certificates has prompted Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie to abandon efforts to dispel claims that President Barack Obama was born outside Hawaii, his office says.
    State Attorney General David Louie told the governor that privacy laws bar him from disclosing an individual’s birth documentation without the person’s consent, Abercrombie spokeswoman Donalyn Dela Cruz said Friday.
    “There is nothing more that Gov. Abercrombie can do within the law to produce a document,” said Dela Cruz. “Unfortunately, there are conspirators who will continue to question the citizenship of our president.”
    Abercrombie, who was a friend of Obama’s parents and knew him as a child, launched an investigation last month into whether he can release more information about the president’s Aug. 4, 1961 birth. The governor said at the time he was bothered by people who questioned Obama’s birthplace for political reasons. But Abercrombie’s attempt reached a dead end when Louie told him the law restricted his options… – AP, 1-22-10
  • Obama pays short visit to House Democratic retreat: Lawmakers who gathered here for the annual House Democratic retreat may have been disappointed to get no preview of the State of the Union address from President Obama when he paid a quick visit tonight. They were treated, however, to a display of the president’s dance moves. Obama met with more than 130 House Democratic lawmakers and their spouses for about 90 minutes, entering the first-floor ballroom at the plush Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay shortly before 7:30 p.m. Democrats have been at the sprawling bayside resort since Thursday afternoon, discussing their strategy and messaging after a midterm shellacking that saw their party lose 63 seats in the House. The resort is the same one that hosted House Republicans after they lost the majority in 2006…. – WaPo, 1-21-11
  • The reality of death panels ObamaCare’s end-of-life planning comes down to economics: SUPPORTERS OF President Obama’s health care reform law have relentlessly derided Sarah Palin’s notion of “death panels’’ as a vulgar rhetorical technique, with no basis in reality, devised merely to scare a gullible, uneducated citizenry into rallying to repeal the law. The death panel notion persists, however, because it denotes, in a pithy way, the economic realities of scarcity inherent in nationalizing a rapidly developing, high-technology industry on which people’s lives depend in a rather immediate way. G.K. Chesterton once wrote that vulgar notions (and jokes) invariably contain a “subtle and spiritual idea.’’ The subtle and spiritual idea behind “death panels’’ is that life-prolonging medical technology is an expensive, limited commodity and if the market doesn’t determine who gets it, someone else will…. – Boston Globe, 1-21-11
  • Sasha Obama spoke Chinese to who?: Nine-year-old First Daughter Sasha Obama has been learning Chinese in school, but who does she speak to outside the classroom? The answer might surprise you. China’s President Hu Jintao is introduced to nine-year-old Sasha Obama by US President Barack Obama as they greet the crowd during an official south lawn arrival ceremony for Hu at the White House in Washington Jan. 19.
    President Barack Obama’s nine-year-old daughter, Sasha, wanted to test her developing Chinese skills this week while Hu Jintao was in town.
    Just whom did she want to practice them with? The Chinese president himself, according to a White House official who recounted the story on Thursday after a formal state dinner the previous night.
    “The president pointed out last night at the state dinner that his daughter, Sasha, is a very young girl but her class is studying Chinese,” Ben Rhodes, a White House deputy national security adviser, told a video conference with Chinese bloggers. “She’s under 10 years old and they’re studying Chinese, and she wanted to have the chance to practice her Chinese with President Hu.”
    Sasha attended Hu’s welcoming ceremony on the White House lawn on Wednesday morning with friends and could be seen waving a Chinese flag excitedly as her father and Hu walked around the grounds. The two presidents paused to visit when they reached the nine-year-old and her friends behind the rope line…. – CS Monitor, 1-21-11
  • Liberal group fights campaign finance decision opposed by Obama: The liberal advocacy group Common Cause has asked the Justice Department to investigate what it says are potential conflicts involving two Supreme Court justices whose votes helped clear the way for unlimited campaign spending by corporations, unions and others. President Obama cricized the ruling when it was rendered last January. Now Common Cause, in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, says Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas participated in strategy sessions with corporate leaders who benefitted by the decision inCitizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The advocacy group referred to political retreats sponsored by Koch Industries, a Wichita, Kan.-based energy company owned by brothers Charles and David Koch. Common Cause says the Koch Industries political action committee spent $2.6 million in the 2010 elections…. – USA Today, 1-20-11
  • Campaign finance ruling: Should Supreme Court justices have recused themselves?: The liberal group Common Cause asks the Justice Department to investigate whether Supreme Court Justices Scalia and Thomas should have stepped aside in a major campaign finance reform case a year ago.
    The liberal advocacy group Common Cause announced on Thursday that it has asked the Justice Department to investigate whether two US Supreme Court justices should have recused themselves from consideration of a major campaign finance reform case last year.
    Common Cause President Bob Edgar said the group has asked Attorney General Eric Holder to examine whether Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas should have stepped aside rather than vote in the Citizens United case.
    The case, handed down a year ago on Friday (Jan. 21), struck down a portion of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law that had barred corporate expenditures for political advertisements during campaign season…. – CS Monitor, 1-20-11

Photo courtesy of White House

  • Summit yields gains for both China and U.S.: Chinese President Hu Jintao’s just-concluded summit with President Obama was a win both for the Communist Party and for Hu himself, demonstrating once again the Chinese government’s reliance on ceremony to bolster its standing among its people. China’s state-run newspapers ran enormous photographs of Hu with Obama, a not-so- subtle message that China is now the United States’ equal on the world stage.
    For the Obama administration, the meeting went smoothly and yielded some progress on difficult issues – but it also served as a reminder that the U.S.-China relationship will continue to be among Washington’s most nettlesome.
    “The most important thing they did was, for the time being, put a floor under the relationship after a very bad year,” said Michael Green, a former National Security Council senior official. “No one expected a transformational summit, but if you graded it pass-fail, I say they passed.”… – WaPo, 1-20-11
  • Business Leaders Make Cut at State Dinner With Hu: Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter made the cut. So did Bill Clinton and his wife, the secretary of state. The heads of Microsoft, Boeing, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Boeing and Walt Disney were on the list. So were the singer Barbra Streisand, the ice skater Michelle Kwan, the violinist Yo Yo Ma, the architect Maya Lin and the fashion designer Vera Wang. But Fred Hochberg, the chairman of the Export-Import Bank, didn’t make it to President Obama’s state dinner for President Hu Jintao of China, even though trade was a major theme of the day. Neither did Aris Candris, the CEO of Westinghouse Electric, who attended a business leaders’ meeting with the two leaders, or Jim Sasser, the former ambassador to China, whose invitation to a State Department lunch with Mr. Hu might have served as a consolation prize.
    The 225 guests at Wednesday night’s glittering White House affair were, in a certain sense, survivors. All made it through an intense winnowing-down process by a White House confronted by some of the most intense jockeying for invitations in recent memory. The White House was intensely private about the planning, for fear of offending the Chinese. The theme for the evening was “quintessentially American,” with a menu that featured farm-fresh vegetables, poached Maine Lobster, dry aged rib eye with buttermilk crisp onions, topped off by old fashioned apple pie with ice cream. The entertainment, in the White House East Room, was the most quintessential of American music – a parade of jazz greats, including Herbie Hancock…. – NYT, 1-19-11
  • With Obama, Hu concedes China’s rights need help: In a rare concession on a highly sensitive issue, Chinese President Hu Jintao used his White House visit on Wednesday to acknowledge “a lot still needs to be done” to improve human rights in his nation accused of repressing its people. President Barack Obama pushed China to adopt fundamental freedoms but assured Hu the U.S. considers the communist nation a friend and vital economic partner.
    Hu’s comments met with immediate skepticism from human rights advocates, who dismissed them as words backed by no real history of action. Hu contended his country has “made enormous progress” but provided no specifics.
    Still, his remarks seemed to hearten and surprise U.S. officials, coming during an elaborate visit that centered on boosting trade and trust between the world’s two largest economies.
    More broadly, Hu and Obama sought to show off a more mature and respectful relationship, not the one often defined by disputes over currency, sovereignty and freedoms. Hu said he wanted even closer contact with Obama; Obama sought again to embrace China’s rise, and the two men shared some unexpected laughs…. – AP, 1-19-11
  • Obama’s day: Dealing with China: On this day in 1955, President Dwight Eisenhower first agreed to something that is now essential to White House life: A news conference filmed for television. It’s a day of high level diplomacy for President Obama, as he summits with President Hu Jintao of China. After Vice President Biden greeted Hu at the airport yesterday, the Chinese president and Obama held a small private dinner at the White House. Today, it’s down to work…. – USA Today, 1-19-11
  • U.S. Shifts Focus to Press China for Market Access: A year ago, the fight over how China’s cheap currency was hurting American companies in marketplaces at home and abroad was shaping up to be the epic battle between the world’s biggest power and its biggest economic rival.
    But when President Hu Jintao walks into the Eisenhower Executive Office Building with President Obama on Wednesday to face a group of 18 American and Chinese business leaders, much of the clash will be about a new economic battlefield — inside China itself…. – NYT, 1-18-11


John Boehner talks with reporters as he makes his way to his office from the House floor after the repeal of the Healtch Care Reform Act passed. | John Shinkle/POLITICO

  • Lawmakers’ soft words hide spending cuts’ pain: Terms like “cutting spending” and “raising taxes,” though they sound straightforward enough, are becoming battlegrounds in the Republicans’ and Democrats’ bids to frame the debate over how to cope with the growing national debt. Newly empowered congressional Republicans are playing down the big impact their proposed spending cuts would have on millions of Americans, according to Democrats and some bipartisan groups…. – AP, 1-21-11
  • House Republicans Plan Their Own Health Bills: Less than 24 hours after voting to repeal the new health care law, House Republicans said Thursday that they would pass discrete bills to achieve some of the same goals, but with more restraint in the use of federal power. At the same time, the speaker, John A. Boehner, said House Republicans would push for much stricter limits on abortion in federal programs, including those created by the new law. By a vote of 253 to 175, the House on Thursday directed four committees to draft legislation that would replace the health care law. The directive sets forth 13 objectives…. – NYT, 1-20-11
  • House panel announces investigation into healthcare reform: A day after the House voted to repeal the healthcare reform law, a powerful House committee is launching a probe of the Obama administration’s efforts to implement the law. Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Committee are flexing their new oversight powers by calling on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to explain why some groups were given waivers to a key requirement of the reform law and why the department recently reorganized an office created just months ago.
    The health department’s power to provide temporary exemptions to certain groups on annual insurance-limit requirements included in the reform law is “troubling,” according to a letter from Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and investigations subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.). The committee is asking the department to provide a list of every individual, organization, business, state or other entity that requested a waiver, obtained a waiver, or has been denied a waiver for any part of the reform law. The probe seeks “all documents” relating to the granting of waivers or exemptions for any reform law requirement…. – The Hill, 1-20-11
  • House votes to repeal Obama’s health care law: Swiftly honoring a campaign pledge, newly empowered Republicans pushed legislation to repeal the nation’s year-old health care overhaul through the House Wednesday night, brushing aside implacable opposition in the Senate and a veto threat from President Barack Obama. The 245-189 vote was largely along party lines, and cleared the way for the second phase of the “repeal and replace” promise that victorious Republicans made to the voters last fall. GOP officials said that in the coming months, congressional committees will propose changes to the existing legislation, calling for elimination of a requirement for individuals to purchase coverage, for example, and recommending curbs on medical malpractice lawsuits. Republicans also intend to try to reverse many of the changes Democrats made to Medicare Advantage, the private alternative to the traditional government-run health care program for seniors. Like the repeal bill itself, these other measures will require Senate approval and a presidential signature to take effect, and the prospect is for months of maneuvering on the issue. AP, 1-19-11
  • House votes to repeal health care law against long odds: McConnell pledges Senate vote… Democrats Boren, McIntyre and Ross voted for repeal… “It’s a promise kept,” a leading Republican says… The repeal bill is unlikely to survive the Senate, however…
    The House of Representatives voted to repeal the Obama administration’s signature health-care legislation Wednesday evening, a vote the newly elected Republican majority called a fulfillment of their No. 1 campaign promise. The bill, dubbed the “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act,” passed 245-189. Three Democrats joined a unanimous Republican caucus on the vote.
    The legislation is unlikely to make it past the Democratic-controlled Senate, where Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he won’t bring it to the floor for a vote. And even if it did, it would face a certain veto by President Barack Obama. But Rep. Mike Pence, a leading GOP conservative, dismissed Democratic criticism that Wednesday’s vote was a “gimmick.” “We have another term for it on our side of the aisle: It’s a promise kept,” he said. “And House Republicans are here to stand with the American people and say with one voice, ‘We can do better.’ We can do better than their government takeover of health care.”… – CNN, 1-19-11
  • Health care: Now comes the really hard part: The vote passed Wednesday 245-to-189 — with unanimous GOP support, plus three Democrats. But the repeal bill is destined to die in the Senate, so Republicans will use their newly acquired power in the House to wage a long-term campaign to weaken the law.
    The next steps — hearings, testimony from administration officials, funding cuts — lack the punch of a straight repeal vote, but Republicans said they will keep at it, hoping the end result is the same: stalling implementation of the $900 billion law.
    Republicans promise to hold a series of hearings and oversight investigations into the law, attempt to repeal individual provisions and craft an alternative health care plan. Some of the first issues they will tackle are the cost of the law, the mandate on larger employers to provide coverage and the impact of the legislation on the states.
    But the GOP is expected to be thwarted at every turn by the Democratic-controlled Senate — and ultimately President Barack Obama, who has said he is willing to “improve” the law but “we can’t go backward.”
    “This is not symbolic,” Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said on the floor. “This is why we were sent here, and we will not stop until we put a president in a position in the White House who will repeal this bill. … Make no mistake, we are here to stay and our resolve is firm.” Politico, 1-19-11
  • Debate To Repeal Health Care Law Begins: The house of representatives gets back to work on capitol hill for the first time since the Tucson shooting that left Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in the hospital.The first item of business – repealing the new healthcare law. Debate unfolded on the house floor and in a series of news conferences.Republicans showed off piles of petitions from Americans demanding a repeal. While democrats showcased the personal stories of people who say repealing the law will negatively affect them.
    Rep. Tom Price says: “In our pledge to America, we said we would do in our pledge to America, we said that if given the privilege of leading once again, one of the things we would do would be to vote in the House of Representatives to repeal Obamacare. “Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz says: “Why we are doing this other than playing to the vanity of extremely conservative right wing of the Republican party, is beyond me.”
    The repeal is expected to sail through the house. But it’s not expected to get through the democratic senate or the president’s veto. A final vote is expected Wednesday afternoon or early evening. – Fox News 12, 1-18-11
  • Congress tones down the rhetoric after shootings: Born of bloodshed, a self-proclaimed Age of Civility dawned in Congress on Tuesday. Republicans and Democrats of the House spoke without angry shouts and debated legislation to repeal the nation’s year-old health care law without rancor. By unspoken agreement, manners mattered, although there were few overt references to the reason — the shooting rampage in Arizona 10 days ago that left six dead, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords wounded and lawmakers of both parties stunned.
    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said no directives had gone out to rank-and-file lawmakers cautioning them about their behavior as the House convened to debate a highly controversial bill. “We expect the debate to ensue along policy lines,” he said, suggesting one that did not stray from the merits of the legislation itself.
    Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the second-ranking Democrat, agreed. “My expectation is that members will heed their own advice and will address the issues in a way that will deal with them on the merits,” he said. In the past, he added, too much of the public debate was “about incitement rather than informing . about making people angry, disrespecting the … point of view of the other side.”
    The change in tone was evident from the opening moments of the debate about a bill Republicans promised in last fall’s campaign to make an early 2011 priority…. – AP, 1-18-11
  • GOP set to assail healthcare law and seek alternatives: Civility gets its first test in the House since the Tucson shootings in a debate over repeal of Obama’s healthcare overhaul…. – LAT, 1-17-11
  • House set for health care repeal vote: The House of Representatives is set to vote on a repeal of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul this week, fulfilling a campaign promise of congressional Republicans and setting up a clash with the White House and Senate Democrats.
    House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has scheduled a floor debate on the measure for Tuesday and a vote on Wednesday. The new GOP majority, in keeping with its “repeal and replace” mantra, will instruct various House committees to craft alternatives to the law.
    “Repealing the job crushing health care law is critical to boosting small business job creation and growing the economy,” Boehner wrote online Monday…. – CNN, 1-17-11
  • Some House rivals spar — cautiously — on eve of health care repeal vote: House Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn (S.C.) noted that during last year’s debate over the health care law, he had argued that the overhaul amounted to the Civil Rights Act of the 21st Century.
    “We’re hearing some of the same rhetoric around patients’ rights that we heard around voting rights,” Clyburn said. “But does this mean that some changes should not be made? Absolutely not. When the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964, it did not cover public employees. When the Voting Rights Act became law in 1965, it did not cover congressional redistricting. The Fair Housing Law wasn’t perfect when it was passed, and bipartisan changes were made to all of these to improve the measures.” Clyburn added that as the House debates repeal, “I hope we can look at bipartisan changes and modifications that would increase efficiency and effectiveness but do not repeal this fundamental right.” 

    A few minutes later, however, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) had some stronger words for Republicans’ efforts to repeal the entire law.
    “Every minute that we spend fruitlessly debating the repeal of health care reform — which we know is ultimately not going to happen — is one less minute that we are spending creating jobs and focusing on getting people back to work and turning this economy around,” Wasserman Schultz said. “Why we are doing this other than playing to the vanity of the extremely conservative right wing of the Republican Party is beyond me.”

    At their weekly pen-and-pad briefings with reporters, both House Majority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said that leaders had not given any specific instructions to members of their caucuses to soften their rhetoric.
    “There’s been no discussion about acceptable language or non-acceptable language,” Cantor said. “What we’ve said, and the speaker has said, is this: We’re about a policy-oriented debate here. This is an issue of policy that was hotly debated over the last Congress, something that has great consequences for this country and deserving of a civil discourse in the House of Representatives, and that’s what we expect.”
    Repeal HealthCare Act Chairman Ken Hoagland, who also spoke at the event, called the petitions “an example to the rest of the world how even dramatic change in public policy can be effected through peaceful means.” “There is no room in our country for violent tactics to change public policy,” Hoagland said. “Our founding fathers left us every tool we need to change public policy peacefully, and that is what we intend to do. Now are the people who signed this petition angry? Yes, they are. … To suggest that that axiomatically leads to violence is just a wrong conclusion.” WaPo, 1-18-11


  • Ala. governor apologizes for remarks on Christians: Two days after being sworn in as Alabama governor, Robert Bentley apologized Wednesday for proclaiming to a Baptist church audience that only Christians were his brothers and sisters and vowed to work for people of all faiths and colors. His comments Monday shocked and offended some believers of other faiths, but the backlash didn’t seem to be a serious political wound for the retired dermatologist and Southern Baptist deacon. In a conservative state with some of the highest levels of church attendance in the country, some Christian leaders defended the remarks and the Republican will likely get a fair chance to pursue his agenda in the coming legislative session.
    “If anyone from other religions felt disenfranchised by the language, I want to say I am sorry. I am sorry if I offended anyone in any way,” he told reporters Wednesday after meeting with leaders of other faiths in his new office. After he took the oath of office at the Alabama Capitol on Monday, Bentley headed across the street to a service honoring Martin Luther King Jr. at King’s first church, Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. During his speech, he remarked: “Anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I’m telling you, you’re not my brother and you’re not my sister, and I want to be your brother.”… – AP, 1-18-11


  • Emanuel Raises $10 Million in Mayoral Bid: Rahm Emanuel, the former White House Chief of Staff, has raised more than $10 million in his quest to become mayor of Chicago. Filed with state election officials on Thursday, the campaign reports of Mr. Emanuel and his opponents offer a first real look at the financial side of this city’s first competitive race for mayor in years. In addition to the money he collected by the start of this year, Mr. Emanuel, who formerly served in Congress, also moved $1.1 million from a federal campaign fund into his mayor’s effort for a total of $11.7 million; he has already spent $3.4 million, the report showed…. – NYT, 1-20-11
  • Bill Clinton to campaign in Chicago for Emanuel: Former President Bill Clinton is coming to Chicago Tuesday to campaign for mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel, but his visit is the cause of some controversy. While the former White House chief of staff hopes Clinton can persuade voters to cast their ballots for him Feb. 22, a former mayoral contender has warned that Clinton is risking his popular standing with the African American community by backing Emanuel rather than a black candidate.
    Clinton is scheduled to appear with Emanuel at the Chicago Cultural Center Tuesday morning. The candidate touted the visit in his campaign mailings over the weekend, mixed with an appeal for campaign donations. “I’m honored to have President Clinton’s support,” Emanuel told supporters in the e-mail on Sunday. “I’m excited to show President Clinton the great Chicagoans who’ve made this campaign possible.”… – WaPo, 1-17-11


  • Obama could survive some bumps on road to 2012 reelection: Two years later, though, many analysts and observers have forgotten the breadth of Obama’s victory in the wake of the devastating and across-the-board (not to mention down-the-ballot) losses the Democratic Party suffered in the 2010 midterms. And yet, a detailed examination of the national map heading into 2012 suggests that the president still sits in a strong position for reelection – able to lose half a dozen (or more) swing states he carried in 2008 and still win the 270 electoral votes he needs for a second term…. – WaPo, 1-23-11
  • Evangelical/Romney supporter calls for new litmus test: Mark DeMoss, a well-connected figure in the evangelical community and Mitt Romney supporter, sent a memo last week to Christian conservatives urging them to consider “a new litmus test” beyond traditional cultural issues
    1. Who is most capable of winning the Republican nomination?
    2. Who is most capable of mounting the kind of campaign (raising money, recruiting staff and volunteers, presenting a clear message) necessary to upset a sitting president?
    3. Who is most capable of actually being the president of the United States—governing and serving as the CEO of the largest enterprises on the planet?
    Romney, argued DeMoss, was well-positioned financially and in the polls to meet the electability standard and, because of his background in business, is up for the job… – Politico, 1-23-11
  • Mitt Romney easily wins New Hampshire Republican poll: Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney easily won a poll of several hundred Republican delegates Saturday about whom they would choose to take on Democrat Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election. Also at the meeting, conservative Tea Party activist Jack Kimball beat Juliana Bergeron to be New Hampshire’s new state Republican Party chairman — an outcome that could influence presidential campaigning in the state.
    Romney won 35 percent of the poll, trouncing Texas Congressman Ron Paul, with 11 percent, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, with 8 percent, and 2008 vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who took 7 percent. Some 20 names were listed on the poll, including Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, and Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York…. – Reuters, 1-22-10
  • Republican hopefuls lay groundwork for 2012: Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and other potential presidential candidates have been stockpiling cash as they test the waters for a run. Nobody’s making anything official yet…. – LAT, 1-21-11
  • Poll: Mike Huckabee Takes Lead Among Potential GOP Presidential Picks: While Mike Huckabee has been cagey about whether he’ll make another run for the White House, a new poll out Friday finds the former Arkansas governor leading the pack among potential GOP presidential candidates for 2012. The Public Policy Polling survey has Huckabee with a solid 24 percent support among respondents, ahead of former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney, the ex-governor of Massachussetts, who are tied at 14 percent. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich comes in third with 11 percent, followed by Tim Pawlenty, the ex-governor of Minnesota, with 8 percent.
    PPP called Huckabee “the big winner” in this poll, citing his increased appeal to both moderates and conservatives within the Republican Party. Romney isn’t so lucky, according to PPP. He’s not particulary popular among conservative voters, who give him only a 55 percent favorability rating. That’s compared to 74 percent favorability from conservatives for Huckabee and 73 percent for Palin…. – Politics Daily, 1-21-11
  • Bachmann ‘encouraged’ after Iowa visit: Michele Bachmann of Minnesota says the reactions she received in her Friday meetings with Iowa Republican leaders and conservative activists in the leadoff presidential caucus state have encouraged her to explore running for president.
    “I am very encouraged by what I heard and the level of support that I saw today,” Bachmann told The Des Moines Register after a gauntlet of meetings in Des Moines.
    Bachmann’s visit stirred up the quietly developing race for the 2012 Republican presidential caucuses in Iowa, a little more than a year away.
    Bachmann spoke Friday night at a reception for Iowans for Tax Relief, an influential advocacy and political group with roughly 55,000 conservative and Republican-leaning members across the state. “It is not too late to change course and save this great nation,” Bachmann told her audience at a downtown Des Moines hotel. “I believe we can save America. I believe we can preserve this exceptional nation — this land of promise — for our children and grandchildren.”… – USA Today, 1-21-11
  • Palin Inches Toward 2012 in Iowa, Nevada: Sarah Palin may be inching toward a presidential run in 2012 as she heads next week to Nevada for two speeches and her advisers quietly begin talking to Republican activists in Iowa. Both states will be key to winning the Republican nomination, and Ms. Palin’s advisers are determined to do the groundwork necessary should she decide to jump into the campaign. The informal conversations in Iowa, reported by the Web site Real Clear Politics, are the first baby steps in what would have to become a much more elaborate turnout effort if Ms. Palin, the former Alaska governor, decides to run.
    And her speeches in Nevada to two outdoors groups — including one on the same night that President Obama delivers his State of the Union speech in Washington — give her a platform to talk about hunting and guns in the wake of the shootings in Arizona this month.
    “There are a lot of Republican activists who want the governor to run and want to get involved and want to help,” said Tim Crawford, the treasurer of Ms. Palin’s political action committee, SarahPAC…. – NYT, 1-20-11
  • Obama Will Move Political Operations to Chicago: President Obama will close the office of political affairs at the White House in preparation for the establishment of his re-election headquarters, which will open its doors in Chicago by late March to concentrate on building a national fund-raising and grass-roots operation to rival his first campaign, aides said.
    The president has signed off on the plan to set up his campaign headquarters away from Washington, a first for a modern-day presidential re-election campaign. To avoid turf battles, chaotic communications and duplicated efforts, aides said, a significant realignment is under way in the West Wing, with the duties of the political office being taken up by the Democratic National Committee.
    Mr. Obama intends to make a formal declaration of his candidacy in about two months by filing papers with the Federal Election Commission, aides said. That step would allow him to raise money and hire a team of advisers, who would seek to make Mr. Obama follow Bill Clinton as the second Democrat since Franklin Delano Roosevelt to be elected twice to the White House…. – NYT, 1-20-11
  • Pence urged to enter race for president in 2012: An independent campaign to draw GOP Rep. Mike Pence into the 2012 presidential race is under way, with a veteran of the Reagan White House launching a petition drive on Monday urging him to enter the primary contests.
    Ralph Benko, a deputy counsel to Ronald Reagan, announced the America’s President Committee to encourage a Pence- for-president bid. Former Rep. Jim Ryun, R-Kan., is also helping the campaign to collect signatures from conservatives and tea party activists.
    “Mike Pence extraordinarily exemplifies the optimistic, pro-growth, pro-job creation Reagan-Kemp wing of the GOP. Grass-roots conservatives, Republicans, the tea party and populists are looking for a man or woman of principle who can champion and unite the newly energized and engaged citizenry,” Benko said. “Mike Pence is the best choice to lead us into a new era of peace and prosperity.”… – AP, 1-17-11


The President records the Weekly Address
  • Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader on “Fox News Sunday.”: “With all due respect to our Democratic friends, any time they want to spend, they call it investment, so I think you will hear the president talk about investing a lot Tuesday night. This is not a time to be looking at pumping up government spending in very many areas.”
  • Sen. John McCain praises Obama: ‘Doing a Lot of the Right Things’: Speaking on Face the Nation, Arizona U.S. Senator John McCain praised President Obama, saying the first-term president has done “a lot of the right things.” “The president, I think, has learned a lot in the last two years as any president does. He is a very intelligent man. I think he’s doing a lot of right things,” he said.
    “I’m told already that the Democrats may agree with us on some changes,” Mr. McCain said. “There needs to be a lot more changes than what they’re willing to agree to. It has to be the subject of a national debate.” – The State Column, 1-23-11
  • Weekly Address: “We Can Out-Compete Any Other Nation”: Remarks of President Barack Obama The White House January 22, 2011: Here’s the truth about today’s economy: If we’re serious about fighting for American jobs and American businesses, one of the most important things we can do is open up more markets to American goods around the world.
    That’s why I met with China’s President Hu Jintao at the White House this past week. We’re now exporting more than $100 billion a year to China in goods and services. And as a result of deals we completed this week, we’ll be increasing U.S. exports to China by more than $45 billion, and China’s investments in America by several billion dollars. Most important, these deals will support some 235,000 American jobs. And that includes a lot of manufacturing jobs.
    That goal is why I fought so hard to negotiate a new and better trade deal with South Korea – a deal with unprecedented support from business and labor – that will support more than 70,000 American jobs. And that’s why I traveled to India last fall to help pave the way for $10 billion in new deals for American businesses and more than 50,000 new American jobs.
    Now, these may just sound like statistics. But yesterday, I saw what that means firsthand when I traveled to a GE plant in Schenectady, New York. This plant is manufacturing steam turbines and generators for a big project in India that resulted from a deal we announced around that trip – a project that’s helping support more than 1,200 manufacturing jobs and more than 400 engineering jobs in Schenectady. Good jobs at good wages, producing American products for the world.
    At the same time, GE has also been investing in innovation, building a clean energy center, an advanced battery manufacturing plant, and other state-of-the-art facilities in Schenectady that are resulting in hundreds of new American jobs and contributing to America’s global economic leadership.
    Leading the world in innovation. Opening new markets to American products. That’s how we’ll create jobs today. That’s how we’ll make America more competitive tomorrow. And that’s how we’ll win the future.
    While I was in Schenectady, I announced that Jeff Immelt, GE’s CEO and one of the most imaginative and visionary business leaders in America, has agreed to head up our new Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. The purpose of this council is to help us find ways to grow our economy by investing in our businesses here at home. And under Jeff’s leadership, I’m confident that they’ll generate good ideas about how we can spur hiring, educate our workers to compete in the 21st century, and attract the best jobs and businesses to America rather than seeing them spring up overseas.
    We’re living in a new and challenging time, in which technology has made competition easier and fiercer than ever before. Countries around the world are upping their game and giving their workers and companies every advantage possible. But that shouldn’t discourage us. Because I know we can win that competition. I know we can out-compete any other nation on Earth. We just have to make sure we’re doing everything we can to unlock the productivity of American workers, unleash the ingenuity of American businesses, and harness the dynamism of America’s economy. Thanks everyone, and have a nice weekend. – WH, 1-22-11TranscriptMp4Mp3
  • Watch Live: The China State Visit: The President hosts Hu Jintao, President of the People’s Republic of China, at the White House for a State Visit, marking the third State Visit of the Obama Administration. President Hu’s visit highlights the importance of expanding cooperation between the United States and China on bilateral, regional, and global issues, as well as the friendship between the peoples of our two countries. The President, who visited China in November 2009, looks forward to welcoming President Hu to Washington to continue building a partnership that advances our common interests and addresses our shared concerns. Watch the Arrival Ceremony, State Dinner toasts, and more on WhiteHouse.gov…. – WH, 1-19-11
  • State Dinner with President Hu of China: President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama host President Hu of China at a State Dinner at the White House. January 19, 2011…. – WH, 1-19-11TranscriptMp4Mp3
  • President Obama Welcomes President Hu of China to the White House: At a time when some doubt the benefits of cooperation between the United States and China, this visit is also a chance to demonstrate a simple truth. We have an enormous stake in each other’s success. In an interconnected world, in a global economy, nations — including our own — will be more prosperous and more secure when we work together.
    The United States welcomes China’s rise as a strong, prosperous and successful member of the community of nations. Indeed, China’s success has brought with it economic benefits for our people as well as yours, and our cooperation on a range of issues has helped advance stability in the Asia Pacific and in the world.
    We also know this: History shows that societies are more harmonious, nations are more successful, and the world is more just, when the rights and responsibilities of all nations and all people are upheld, including the universal rights of every human being.
    Mr. President, we can learn from our people. Chinese and American students and educators, business people, tourists, researchers and scientists, including Chinese Americans who are here today —- they work together and make progress together every single day. They know that even as our nations compete in some areas, we can cooperate in so many others, in a spirit of mutual respect, for our mutual benefit.
    What Deng Xiaoping said long ago remains true today. There are still great possibilities for cooperation between our countries. President Hu, members of the Chinese delegation, let us seize these possibilities together. Welcome to the United States of America. Hwan-ying. (Applause.)… – WH, 1-19-11TranscriptMp4Mp3
  • Palin explains ‘blood libel’ comment: Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, defending herself against criticism following the Tucson, Ariz., shootings, said Monday that she used the term “blood libel” to describe comments made by those who falsely tried to link conservatives to the assassination attempt against Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Speaking out for the first time since she used the term in a video, Palin said on Fox’s Sean Hannity show that the term referred to those “falsely accused of having blood on their hands.” Some Jewish groups strongly protested her use of the term, which historically was used to accuse Jews of using blood of Christians in religious rituals. “I think the critics again were using anything that they could gather out of that statement,” she said. “You can spin up anything out of anybody’s statements that are released and use them against the person who is making the statement.” Palin, a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2012, said the criticism won’t stop her from speaking out and accusing Democrats of taking the country in the wrong direction. “They can’t make us sit down and shut up,” she said…. – AP, 1-17-11
  • Cheney: Obama has Learned that Bush Policies were Right: President Obama has “learned from experience” that some of the Bush administration’s decisions on terrorism issues were necessary, according to former Vice President Dick Cheney. In his first interview since undergoing major heart surgery last July, Cheney said he thinks Obama has been forced to rethink some of his national security positions now that he sits in the Oval Office…. – Fox News, 1-17-11
  • Tom Daschle to Barack Obama: Meet, eat with GOP leaders: As Washington begins another period of divided government, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle urged President Obama to reach out to Capitol Hill by holding more regular meetings with congressional leaders of both parties.
    “I would love to see the President of the United States hold a weekly breakfast with the four leaders, two Republican and two Democratic,” Daschle said in a recent interview with POLITICO. The former South Dakota Democrat, one of Obama’s earliest supporters and still an outside adviser, suggested the president and congressional leaders alternate venues. “I think it would be refreshing to have the President come down to Capitol Hill and meet down there,” he said…. – Politico, 1-17-11


  • Julian E. Zelizer: What Obama can learn from Clinton, Reagan: Many political analysts are urging President Obama to give a State of the Union Address that is conciliatory toward Republicans and that acknowledges that voters are unhappy with the direction of his policies.
    Ever since he agreed to extend the Bush tax cuts in a compromise with Republicans, his poll numbers have been improving, and Obama has filled several key positions in his administration with moderate Democrats. There is reason to think that the president will continue this path….
    He can use this opportunity to answer some of the big questions surrounding his presidency. He can explain how and when the government can solve certain problems better then markets. He can explain to Americans how his health care bill will help contain costs for citizens. He can share with the country how he balances concerns over the deficit with the need to stimulate the economy and what exactly is the path he envisions toward a stronger economy.
    By tackling these and other questions, Obama has to use this opportunity to explain himself and his presidency, providing voters a stronger understanding of who he is and what policies he will defend as he enters into discussion with a Republican House…. – CNN, 1-24-11
  • ‘State of the Union’ Could Mark Turning Point for Obama, Historian Says: President Barack Obama’s Tuesday night State of the Union address comes at a critical moment in his presidency and could set the tone in Washington for years to come, says a presidential historian at the University of Indianapolis. This won’t be the first State of the Union delivered amid economic woes and stiff partisan opposition, Associate Professor Edward “Ted” Frantz says. Previous examples include Bill Clinton in 1995, Ronald Reagan in 1983 and Franklin Roosevelt in 1935.
    “The fundamental challenge for Roosevelt was getting business interests to trust him, and they never did,” Frantz says. In that case, however, Roosevelt was able to continue his New Deal economic reforms with the help of large Democratic majorities in Congress, an advantage Obama does not have…. – Newswise, 1-24-11
  • Reagan and Kennedy Are Role Models for Obama Obama’s message in Tucson was the kind of speech Kennedy and Reagan would have given: But historian Robert Dallek says both Kennedy and Reagan retain a grip on the popular imagination for similar reasons. “Kennedy and Reagan are the darlings of the public,” he says. “People remember them as inspirational voices. They gave people hope.” Dallek recalled a comment by historian Richard Hofstadter that Theodore Roosevelt, another iconic leader, was “the master therapist of the middle class.” Kennedy and Reagan played the same role. “Kennedy and Reagan made people feel good,” Dallek adds. “Kennedy and Reagan have become mythological figures, iconic figures.”… – US News, 1-21-11
  • What Would Ronnie Do?: Obama starts the second half of his term with a set of obstacles similar to those that bedeviled Ronald Reagan. On Reagan’s centennial, the president is looking to the past for inspiration…. – Newsweek, 1-23-11
  • Ari Berman: Obama: Triangulation 2.0?: Immediately following the Democrats’ 2010 electoral shellacking, a broad spectrum of pundits urged President Obama to “pull a Clinton,” in the words of Politico: move to the center (as if he wasn’t already there), find common ground with the GOP and adopt the “triangulation” strategy employed by Bill Clinton after the Democratic setback in the 1994 midterms. “Is ‘triangulation’ just another word for the politics of the possible?” asked the New York Times. “Can Obama do a Clinton?” seconded The Economist. And so on. The Obama administration, emphatic in charting its own course, quickly took issue with the comparison. According to the Times, Obama went so far as to ban the word “triangulation” inside the White House. Politico called the phrase “the dirtiest word in politics.”…. – The Nation, 2-7-11
  • House votes to repeal health-care reform: What happens now?: Though the House has repealed health-care reform, it won’t be repealed by the Senate, meaning the effort is virtually dead. But House Republicans can still try to dismantle the law by other means.
    “We have a bill that expanded coverage, put new regulations in place, but it’s not clear it cuts the cost of health care,” says Julian Zelizer, a congressional historian at Princeton University in New Jersey. “That’s a criticism you saw from left, right and center.” “If the debate moves in that direction, there’s room to form some kind of bipartisan support for more stringent cost controls,” he adds. “But on the other hand, both parties also have a stake in posturing going into 2012 elections.”… – CS Monitor, 1-19-11
  • Julian E. Zelizer: Can Boehner’s GOP deliver on promises?: Following a traumatic week for the nation in the wake of the Arizona shootings, Congress will get back to business this week. As House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s spokesperson announced, “It is important for Congress to get back to work, and to that end we will resume thoughtful consideration of the health care bill.”
    On Capitol Hill, Republicans find themselves in a position that seemed inconceivable a few years earlier, even to most conservatives. Although Democrats retain control of the White House and Senate, many Republicans were elated when they won control of the House and had the votes to elect John Boehner as speaker….
    The ways in which the Republican Party responds to these challenges will play an important role in defining what kind of political party Republican candidates will be able to champion in 2012 — and what kind of party President Obama will be able to attack on the campaign trail…. – CNN, 1-17-11
  • ‘Historian’ Douglas Brinkley: Obama ‘like’ Martin Luther King, Douglas Brinkley, presidential historian: “I thought President Obama did a wonderful job this evening. I thought that he really brought people together. I mean, when he, in the middle of the speech, said, ‘Gabby opened her eyes, Gabby opened her eyes,’ & you could almost hear a Martin Luther King-like inflection — And he carried that throughout a lot of the speech. “I was, like David Gergen earlier, a little put off by the atmospherics, 14,000 cheering people. But the president, I think, worked his way into that atmosphere. So, by the end of it, you could almost feel people hugging in the excitement, in the warmth & the love in the arena.”… – CNN, 1-13-11
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