Full Text Obama Presidency March 29, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech Calls on Congress to End Oil and Gas Subsidies

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Speaks on Repealing Subsidies for Oil Companies

President Obama Speaks on Repealing Subsidies for Oil Companies

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President on Oil and Gas Subsidies

Rose Garden

11:00 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)   Everybody, please have a seat.  Sorry we’re running just a little bit behind, but I figured it’s a great day to enjoy the Rose Garden.

Today, members of Congress have a simple choice to make:  They can stand with the big oil companies, or they can stand with the American people.

Right now, the biggest oil companies are raking in record profits –- profits that go up every time folks pull up into a gas station.  But on top of these record profits, oil companies are also getting billions a year — billions a year in taxpayer subsidies -– a subsidy that they’ve enjoyed year after year for the last century.

Think about that.  It’s like hitting the American people twice.  You’re already paying a premium at the pump right now.  And on top of that, Congress, up until this point, has thought it was a good idea to send billions of dollars more in tax dollars to the oil industry.

It’s not as if these companies can’t stand on their own.  Last year, the three biggest U.S. oil companies took home more than $80 billion in profits.  Exxon pocketed nearly $4.7 million every hour.  And when the price of oil goes up, prices at the pump go up, and so do these companies’ profits.  In fact, one analysis shows that every time gas goes up by a penny, these companies usually pocket another $200 million in quarterly profits.  Meanwhile, these companies pay a lower tax rate than most other companies on their investments, partly because we’re giving them billions in tax giveaways every year.

Now, I want to make clear, we all know that drilling for oil has to be a key part of our overall energy strategy.  We want U.S. oil companies to be doing well.  We want them to succeed.  That’s why under my administration, we’ve opened up millions of acres of federal lands and waters to oil and gas production.  We’ve quadrupled the number of operating oil rigs to a record high.  We’ve added enough oil and gas pipeline to circle the Earth and then some.  And just yesterday, we announced the next step for potential new oil and gas exploration in the Atlantic.

So the fact is, we’re producing more oil right now than we have in eight years, and we’re importing less of it as well.  For two years in a row, America has bought less oil from other countries than we produce here at home -– for the first time in over a decade.

So American oil is booming.  The oil industry is doing just fine.  With record profits and rising production, I’m not worried about the big oil companies.  With high oil prices around the world, they’ve got more than enough incentive to produce even more oil.  That’s why I think it’s time they got by without more help from taxpayers who are already having a tough enough time paying the bills and filling up their gas tank.  And I think it’s curious that some folks in Congress, who are the first to belittle investments in new sources of energy, are the ones that are fighting the hardest to maintain these giveaways for the oil companies.

Instead of taxpayer giveaways to an industry that’s never been more profitable, we should be using that money to double-down on investments in clean energy technologies that have never been more promising — investments in wind power and solar power and biofuels; investments in fuel-efficient cars and trucks, and energy-efficient homes and buildings.  That’s the future.  That’s the only way we’re going to break this cycle of high gas prices that happen year after year after year.  As the economy is growing, the only time you start seeing lower gas prices is when the economy is doing badly.  That’s not the kind of pattern that we want to be in.  We want the economy doing well, and people to be able to afford their energy costs.

And keep in mind, we can’t just drill our way out of this problem.  As I said, oil production here in the United States is doing very well, and it’s been doing well even as gas prices are going up.  Well, the reason is because we use more than 20 percent of the world’s oil but we only have 2 percent of the world’s known oil reserves.  And that means we could drill every drop of American oil tomorrow but we’d still have to buy oil from other countries to make up the difference.  We’d still have to depend on other countries to meet our energy needs.  And because it’s a world market, the fact that we’re doing more here in the United States doesn’t necessarily help us because even U.S. oil companies they’re selling that oil on a worldwide market.  They’re not keeping it just for us.  And that means that if there’s rising demand around the world then the prices are going to up.

That’s not the future that I want for America.  I don’t want folks like these back here and the folks in front of me to have to pay more at the pump every time that there’s some unrest in the Middle East and oil speculators get nervous about whether there’s going to be enough supply.  I don’t want our kids to be held hostage to events on the other side of the world.

I want us to control our own destiny.  I want us to forge our own future.  And that’s why, as long as I’m President, America is going to pursue an all-of-the-above energy strategy, which means we will continue developing our oil and gas resources in a robust and responsible way.  But it also means that we’re going to keep developing more advanced homegrown biofuels, the kinds that are already powering truck fleets across America.

We’re going to keep investing in clean energy like the wind power and solar power that’s already lighting thousands of homes and creating thousands of jobs.  We’re going to keep manufacturing more cars and trucks to get more miles to the gallon so that you can fill up once every two weeks instead of every week.  We’re going to keep building more homes and businesses that waste less energy so that you’re in charge of your own energy bills.

We’re going to do all of this by harnessing our most inexhaustible resource:  American ingenuity and American imagination.  That’s what we need to keep going.  That’s what’s at stake right now.  That’s the choice that we face.  And that’s the choice that’s facing Congress today.  They can either vote to spend billions of dollars more in oil subsidies that keep us trapped in the past, or they can vote to end these taxpayer subsidies that aren’t needed to boost oil production so that we can invest in the future.  It’s that simple.

And as long as I’m President, I’m betting on the future.  And as the people I’ve talked to around the country, including the people who are behind me here today, they put their faith in the future as well.  That’s what we do as Americans.  That’s who we are.  We innovate.  We discover.  We seek new solutions to some of our biggest challenges.  And, ultimately, because we stick with it, we succeed.  And I believe that we’re going to do that again.  Today, the American people are going to be watching Congress to see if they have that same faith.

Thank you very much, everybody.  (Applause.)

END
11:08 A.M. EDT

Full Text Obama Presidency March 22, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech on American Made Energy at Ohio State University

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY
& THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama and the Buckeye Bullet

Source: WH, 3-23-12
President Barack Obama looks at the Buckeye Bullet (March 22, 2012)

President Barack Obama looks at the Buckeye Bullet, a high speed electric land speed race car, during a tour of the Center for Automotive Research at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, March 22, 2012. An earlier version of the Buckeye Bullet holds the U.S. electric land speed record at 314.958 mph. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The Ohio State University in Columbus was President Obama’s final stop on this week’s energy tour. It’s home to the Center for Automotive Research, a hotbed of innovation in the fields of energy production and advanced vehicles.

There, President Obama had a chance to see the Buckeye Bullet — an electric car that has already traveled at speeds in excess of 300 miles per hour. Engineers at the school told him that they’re now aiming to design the vehicle so that it’s capable of going more than 400 miles per hour.

Today, Buckeye Bullet is already the fastest electric car in the world, and at OSU, they’re aiming to make it even faster. President Obama said that kind of ingenuity is “essential to American leadership.”

He told the Columbus crowd:

[As] long as I’m President, we are going to keep on making those investments. I am not going to cede the wind and solar and advanced battery industries to countries like China and Germany that are making those investments. I want those technologies developed and manufactured here in Ohio, here in the Midwest, here in America. By American workers. That’s the future we want.

As for the Buckeye Bullet, the President also promised that his daughter Malia, who will turn16 in a couple of years, will never drive 300 miles per hour, despite the vehicle’s impressive success.


Learn more:

POLITICAL QUOTES
& SPEECHES

Remarks by the President on American-Made Energy

The Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio

4:27 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Buckeyes!  (Applause.)  Yes.  It is good to be back at The Ohio State University.  (Applause.)  I want to thank —

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  I love you!

THE PRESIDENT:  I love you back.  (Applause.)  I am thrilled to be here.  I want to thank a couple of people.  First of all, the outstanding Mayor of Columbus, Michael Coleman, is here.  (Applause.)  I want to thank OSU Provost Joe Alutto.  (Applause.)

And I just got this extraordinary tour from Giorgio Rizzoni, who’s the director of the Center for Automotive Research.  So give him a big round of applause.  (Applause.)

Now, let’s face it, a presidential visit isn’t even close to being the biggest thing this weekend on campus.  (Laughter.)  And despite what Vijay said, I did have the Buckeyes heading to the Final Four.  (Applause.)  I’m just saying.  I think Selinger is going to have a big game tonight.  (Applause.)  And I promise you I didn’t do it because I knew I was coming here — because I am cold-blooded when it comes to filling out my brackets.  (Laughter.)  So I genuinely think you guys are looking good.

And by the way, I just read somewhere that one in every four teams in the Sweet 16 is from Ohio.  (Applause.)  You’ve got Ohio State, Ohio University, Xavier — (applause) — Xavier is in — Cincinnati.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  I’m not going to get in the middle of this. (Laughter.)  I do want to just say no state has ever done this before.  So it’s a testimony to Ohio basketball.  (Applause.)

And I want to thank Vijay for the outstanding introduction  — very much appreciate that.

Now, this is our last stop on a trip where we’ve been talking about an all-of-the-above energy strategy for America — a strategy where we produce more oil, produce more gas, but also produce more American biofuels and more fuel-efficient cars, more solar power, more wind power, more power from the oceans, more clean and renewable energy.  (Applause.)  More clean and renewable energy.

You know what I’m talking about here, because this school is a national leader in developing new sources of energy and advanced vehicles that use a lot less energy.

I just had a chance to take a tour of the Center for Automotive Research.  Now, I admit the best part of it was seeing the Buckeye Bullet, which has gone over 300 miles an hour and is now shooting for 400 miles an hour.  (Applause.)  And I asked the guys who were helping to design this whether mom was going to let them actually test-drive this thing, and the answer was no.  (Laughter.)  Only professional drivers are permitted.

But for anybody who’s not familiar with this, the Buckeye Bullet is the fastest electric car in the world.  (Applause.)  The fastest in the world.  I don’t know who’s going to need to go that fast.  (Laughter.)  But it is a testament to the ingenuity here at Ohio State and what is essential to American leadership when it comes to energy — our brain power.

I will say, though, when Malia gets her license in a few years, she will not be allowed to go 300 miles an hour.  (Laughter.)

Now, one of the reasons that I’ve been talking so much about fuel-efficient cars and new sources of energy is obviously because we’re seeing another spike in gas prices right now.  And that’s tough on folks.  I remember when I was a student, filling up was always tough.  And gas prices are putting pressure not just on students but on a lot of families all across Ohio, all across the country.  Whether you’re trying to get to school, go to work, go grocery shopping, dropping off your kids, you’ve got to be able to fill up that gas tank.  Right now, for most people you don’t have a choice.

So when prices spike, that tax hike feels like a — or that gas spike feels like a tax hike coming right out of your pocket. That’s part of the reason that we passed a payroll tax cut at the beginning of this year –- so that the average American would get an extra $40 in every paycheck to help offset the price of gas.  (Applause.)  So that’s going to offer some relief.

But the bigger question is how do we make sure that these spikes in gas prices don’t keep on happening — because we’ve seen this movie before.  This happens just about every year.  This happened this time last year.  Gas prices were even higher in the spring and summer of 2008.  It has been going on for years, for decades.

And every time prices start to go up — especially during an election year — politicians, they start dusting off their 3-point plan for $2.00 gas.  (Laughter.)  Although this year, they decided it was going to be $2.50.  (Laughter.)  This year they decided it was going to be $2.50.  Now, I don’t know where they pick that number, $2.50.  Because it could have been $2.40, I guess.  They could have said $2.10.  They could have said 50 cents a gallon.  But they all make the same promise.  They head down to the gas station and they make sure a few cameras are following them, and then they tell you how we’re going to have cheap gas forever if you just vote for them.  And it has been the same script for 30 years — the same thing.  It has been like a bad rerun.

And when you ask them, what specifically is your — (audience interruption.)

Sir, I’m here to speak to these folks.  You can hold your own rally.  (Applause.)  You’re being rude.  Sir, we’re trying to talk to these people.  (Applause.)  I’ll be happy to read your book — if you want to give me your book, I’ll be happy to read it.  But don’t interrupt my conversation with these folks, all right?  (Applause.)  Show me some courtesy.  (Applause.)  Show me some courtesy.  I’ll be happy to take your book.  But don’t interrupt everybody else.  All right?  Okay.

Now, where was I?  (Laughter.)  Go ahead and get that book from him, guys.  He wants to give me a book.  Please feel free to grab it.  You’re touting this book — make sure that you’ve given it to us.

All right, now that we’ve gotten that settled.  (Laughter.) Now, the question is, why is it that every year we hear the same story about how we’re going to have $2 gas, or $1.50 gas, or whatever price they come up with, if we would just drill for more oil?  That’s the solution that you always here.  Prices will immediately come down and all our problems will go away — like magic.

There are two problems with that.  First of all, we have been drilling.  We’re drilling right now.  Under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years — at any time.  (Applause.)  That’s a fact.  Over the last three years, we’ve opened millions of acres of land in 23 different states for oil and gas exploration. That’s a fact.  (Applause.)  Offshore, I’ve directed my administration to open up more than 75 percent of potential oil resources.  We’ve quadrupled the number of operating oil rigs to a record high.

I just visited New Mexico.  Their big problem is they don’t have enough truck drivers to transport all the oil that they are producing.  We’ve added enough oil and gas pipeline to circle the entire Earth and then some.  I just visited one of those new pipelines in Oklahoma, and today I directed my administration to make sure that we cut the red tape in terms of reducing some of these bottlenecks.

So the problem is not that we’re not drilling, or that we’re not producing more oil.  We are producing more oil than any time in the last eight years.  That’s not the problem.  There are probably a few spots where we’re not drilling, it’s true.  I’m not drilling in the South Lawn.  (Laughter.)  We’re not drilling next to the Washington Monument.  We’re not drilling in Ohio Stadium.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  So there are some spots out there that we are not drilling.  But we’re doing so in a way that protects the health and safety of the American people, and protects America’s incredible bounty that God gave us — our resources.  (Applause.)

So that’s point number one.  But the second issue, which, because we got a lot of young people, you guys understand, is that a strategy that relies only on drilling defies the fact that America uses 20 percent of the world’s oil, but we only have 2 percent of the world’s known oil reserves.  So we use 20 percent; we have 2 percent.  Who’s a math major here?  (Laughter.)  All right.  If I’m not mistaken, that leaves us about 18 percent short.  (Laughter.)

We can’t simply drill our way out of the problem.  Even if we drilled every square inch of this country right now, we’re going to be relying on other countries for oil.  (Applause.)  Does anybody here think that’s a good strategy?

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  Of course, it isn’t.  We shouldn’t have to pay more at the pump every time there’s instability in the Middle East, which is the main reason gas prices are going up right now. (Applause.)  We should not be held hostage to events on the other side of the world.  This is America.  We control our own destiny. We forge our own future.  And I will not accept an energy strategy that traps us in the past.  (Applause.)  We’re not going to do it.

So as long as I’m President, America is going to be pursuing an all-of-the-above energy strategy.  Yes, we’ll develop as much oil and gas as we can, in a safe way, but we’re also going to develop wind power, and solar power, and advanced biofuels.  (Applause.)  We can build the next-generation nuclear reactors that are smaller and safer and cleaner and cheaper, but we’ve got to also look at renewable energy as the key to our future.  And we’ve got to build cars and trucks that get more miles to the gallon.  (Applause.)  We’ve got to build homes and businesses that waste less energy, and put consumers in control of their energy bills.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  (Inaudible.)  (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT:  And we’ll do it by harnessing the same type of American ingenuity and imagination that’s on display right here at Ohio State.  (Applause.)  Right here at Ohio State.

So already we’ve made progress.  After decades of inaction, we raised fuel-economy standards, so that by the middle of the next decade, our cars will average nearly 55 miles per gallon, almost double what we get today.  (Applause.)  That means you’ll be able to fill up your car every two weeks instead of every week.  (Applause.)  You like that?

AUDIENCE:  Yes!

THE PRESIDENT:  That will save the average family about $8,000 at the pump over the life of a car, which is real money.  To use even less oil, we’re going to have to keep investing in clean, renewable, homegrown biofuels.  And already we’re using these biofuels to power everything from city buses to UPS trucks, even to Navy ships.  And the more we rely on these homegrown fuels, the less oil we buy from other countries and the more jobs we create right here in America.  (Applause.)

We also need to keep investing in clean energy like wind power and solar power.  I just visited the biggest American solar plant of its kind, in Boulder City, Nevada.  It’s powering thousands of homes.  It put hundreds of local people at work.  There are thousands of companies like that all across America.  And today, thousands of Americans have jobs because of public investments that have nearly doubled the use of clean energy in this country.

And as long as I’m President, we are going to keep on making those investments.  I am not going to cede the wind and solar and advanced battery industries to countries like China and Germany that are making those investments.  I want those technologies developed and manufactured here in Ohio, here in the Midwest, here in America.  (Applause.)  By American workers.  That’s the future we want.

So all these steps, all these steps have put us on a path of greater energy independence.   Here’s a statistic I want everybody to remember.  Since I took office, America’s dependence on foreign oil has gone down every single year.  (Applause.)  In 2010, our oil dependence was under 50 percent for the first time in 13 years.  (Applause.)  Even as the economy was growing, we’ve made progress in reducing the amount of oil that we have to import because we’re being smarter; we’re doing things better.

But now we’ve got a choice.  We can keep moving in that direction — we can keep developing new energy and new technology that uses less oil — or we can listen to these folks who actually believe that the only thing we can do is drill our way out of this problem.  In fact, they make fun of clean energy.  They call the jobs produced by them “phony” jobs.  They make jokes about them at their rallies.

Lately, we’ve heard a lot of politicians, a lot of folks who are running for a certain office –- (laughter) — they shall go unnamed — (laughter) — they dismiss wind power.  They dismiss solar power.  They make jokes about biofuels.  I guess they like gas-guzzlers because they’re against raising fuel standards.  Imagine if these guys had been around when Columbus set sail.  They’d be charter members of the Flat Earth Society.  (Laughter and applause.)  They don’t ask what we can do; they explain what we can’t do, and why we can’t do it.

And the point is there will always be cynics and naysayers who just want to keep on doing the same things the same way that we’ve always done them.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Then we wouldn’t have a black President, but we do!

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, that’s true.  (Applause.)

They want to double down on the same ideas that got us exactly into this mess that we’ve been in and we’ve been digging our way out of.  That’s not who we are as Americans.

We’ve always succeeded because we refused to stand still.  We put faith in the future.  We are inventors.  We are builders.  We’re makers of things.  We’re Thomas Edison and the Wright Brothers and Steve Jobs.  By the way, the Wright Brothers were from Ohio.  (Applause.)  Just want to point that out.  But that’s who we are.  That’s who we need to be right now.  We can’t be afraid of the future.  (Applause.)

The flat Earth crowd, they’ve got a different view.  They would rather give $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies to oil companies this year than to invest in clean energy.  Four billion dollars to an industry that’s making record profits because of what you’re paying at the gas station.  Does anybody think that they need help, that they don’t have enough incentive to drill for oil?  Does anybody think that’s a wise use of your tax dollars?

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  We have been subsidizing oil companies for a century.  That’s long enough.  (Applause.)  It is time to stop a taxpayer giveaway to an industry that’s rarely been more profitable, and start making investments in a clean energy industry that has never been more promising.

And when Congress votes on this, you guys should put some pressure on to tell them, do the right thing.  Bet on our future, not on our past.  (Applause.)  Put them on record:  They can either stand with the oil industry, or they can stand with the American people.  They can place their bets on the energy of the past, or place their bets on America’s future — on American workers, American technology, American ingenuity, American-made energy.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Our children.  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Our children.  (Applause.)  That’s the choice we face.  That’s what’s at stake right now.

And, Ohio, we know the direction that we’ve got to go in.  Ending these oil subsidies won’t bring gas prices down tomorrow. Even if we drilled every inch of America, that won’t bring gas prices down tomorrow.  But if we’re tired of watching gas prices spike every single year, if we’re tired of being caught in this position, knowing that China and India are growing — China had 10 million cars purchased in 2010 alone.  You’ve got a billion people, two billion people out there, who are interested in buying cars — which means that unless we develop alternatives, oil prices are going to keep on going up.

I don’t want folks in the Middle East taking your money out of your pocket because we did not develop the kind of strategies that will sustain our future and our independence.  (Applause.)

So I need all of you guys to make your voices heard.  Get on the phone.  Write and email.  Send a tweet.  Let your members of Congress know where you stand.  Tell them to do the right thing. Tell them that we can win this fight.  Tell them:  Yes, we can.  (Applause.)  We can build an economy that lasts.  We can make this another American Century.  We can remind the entire world just why it is the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.

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

END
4:46 P.M. EDT

Political Headlines March 13, 2012: CBS News/New York Times Poll: President Obama’s approval rating sinks to new low

POLITICAL HEADLINES

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama’s Rating Falls as Poll Reflects Volatility

Source: NYT, 3-12-12

President Obama arrived at Richmond International Airport in Virginia on Friday. His job-approval rating has dropped as gas prices have risen and tensions with Iran have escalated.
Luke Sharrett for The New York Times

President Obama arrived at Richmond International Airport in Virginia on Friday. His job-approval rating has dropped as gas prices have risen and tensions with Iran have escalated.

Despite improving job growth and an extended Republican primary, President Obama’s approval rating dropped substantially in recent weeks, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

Poll: Obama’s approval rating sinks to new low

Source: CBS News, 3-13-12

President Obama’s approval rating has hit the lowest level ever in CBS News polling, according to the latest CBS News/New York Times survey. The drop may be partially attributable to rising gas prices.

Just 41 percent of Americans approve of the job Mr. Obama is doing as president, according to the poll, conducted from March 7 to 11. Another 47 percent disapprove of his performance, up from 41 percent last month.

Mr. Obama’s approval rating was 50 percent last month.

The average U.S. price of a gallon of gasoline has jumped 12 cents over the past two weeks. The poll found that most Americans, 54 percent, believe gas prices are something a president can do a lot about.

Americans have historically felt that a president can control gas prices, though experts attribute changes to a variety of factors, many outside of a president’s control….READ MORE

Political Headlines March 12, 2012: Washington Post-ABC News poll: Gas prices sink Obama’s ratings on economy, bring parity to race for White House

POLITICAL HEADLINES

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Gas prices sink Obama’s ratings on economy, bring parity to race for White House

Source: WaPo, 3-12-12

Video: President Obama is hitting back at Republican criticism of his energy policies and his role in controlling gasoline prices.

Disapproval of President Obama’s handling of the economy is heading higher — alongside gasoline prices — as a record number of Americans now give the president “strongly” negative reviews on the 2012 presidential campaign’s most important issue, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Increasingly pessimistic views of Obama’s performance on the economy — and on the federal budget deficit — come despite a steadily brightening employment picture and other signs of economic improvement, and they highlight the political sensitivity of rising gas prices.

Graphic

Public disapproval of President Obama’s handling of the economy is again on the rise.

Click Here to View Full Graphic Story

Public disapproval of President Obama’s handling of the economy is again on the rise.

 

The potential political con­sequences are clear, with the ­rising public disapproval reversing some of the gains the president had made in hypothetical general-election matchups against possible Republican rivals for the White House. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former senator Rick Santorum (Pa.) now both run about evenly with Obama. The findings come just five weeks after Obama appeared to be getting a boost from the improving economy.

Gas prices are a main culprit: Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they disapprove of the way the president is handling the situation at the pump, where rising prices have already hit hard. Just 26 percent approve of his work on the issue, his lowest rating in the poll. Most Americans say higher prices are already taking a toll on family finances, and nearly half say they think that prices will continue to rise, and stay high….READ MORE

 

Full Text Obama Presidency March 10, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address Discusses Rising Gas Prices & Investing in a Clean Energy Future

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama talks about how companies are creating more jobs in the United States, making better products than ever before, and how many are developing new technologies that are reducing our dependence on foreign oil and saving families money at the pump.

President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address

Weekly Address: Investing in a Clean Energy Future

Source: WH, 3-10-12

Speaking from a factory in Virginia, President Obama talks about how companies are creating more jobs in the United States, making better products than ever before, and how many are developing new technologies that are reducing our dependence on foreign oil and saving families money at the pump.

Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

WEEKLY ADDRESS: Investing in a Clean Energy Future

In his weekly address, President Obama spoke to the American people from a factory in Petersburg, Virginia about the growing trend of companies creating more jobs in the United States, and also making better products than ever before.  The new technologies they are developing are playing an important role in reducing our dependence on foreign oil and saving families money at the pump. Under the Obama Administration, domestic oil and gas production is up, and we are currently producing more oil at home than any time in the last eight years, but with only 2% of the world’s oil reserves, we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices.  We need an all-of-the-above strategy that focuses on American-made energy, as well as increasing the fuel efficiency of the cars we drive, saving families money and dramatically reducing our reliance on foreign oil. The President also called on Congress to end the $4 billion in subsidies to oil companies each year so that we can invest in clean energy technologies.  There is no silver bullet to solve high gas prices, but together we can work to overcome our energy challenges as we create new American jobs.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
Petersburg, Virginia
March 10, 2012

Hi, everybody. I’m speaking to you this week from a factory in Petersburg, Virginia, where they’re bringing on more than 100 new workers to build parts for the next generation of jet engines.

It’s a story that’s happening more frequently across the country. Our businesses just added 233,000 jobs last month – for a total of nearly four million new jobs over the last two years. More companies are choosing to bring jobs back and invest in America. Manufacturing is adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s, and we’re building more things to sell to the rest of the world stamped with three proud words: Made in America.

And it’s not just that we’re building stuff. We’re building better stuff. The engine parts manufactured here in Petersburg will go into next-generation planes that are lighter, faster, and more fuel-efficient.

That last part is important. Because whether you’re paying for a plane ticket, or filling up your gas tank, technology that helps us get more miles to the gallon is one of the easiest ways to save money and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

The recent spike in gas prices has been another painful reminder of why we have to invest in this technology.   As usual, politicians have been rolling out their three-point plans for two-dollar gas: drill, drill, and drill some more.  Well, my response is, we have been drilling.  Under my Administration, oil production in America is at an eight-year high.  We’ve quadrupled the number of operating oil rigs, and opened up millions of acres for drilling.

But you and I both know that with only 2% of the world’s oil reserves, we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices – not when consume 20 percent of the world’s oil. We need an all-of-the-above strategy that relies less on foreign oil and more on American-made energy – solar, wind, natural gas, biofuels, and more.

That’s the strategy we’re pursuing.  It’s why I went to a plant in North Carolina earlier this week, where they’re making trucks that run on natural gas, and hybrid trucks that go further on a single tank.

And it’s why I’ve been focused on fuel efficient cars since the day I took office. Over the last few years, the annual number of miles driven by Americans has stayed roughly the same, but the total amount of gas we use has been going down. In other words, we’re getting more bang for our buck.

If we accelerate that trend, we can help drivers save a significant amount of money. That’s why, after 30 years of inaction, we finally put in place new standards that will make sure our cars average nearly 55 miles per gallon by the middle of the next decade – nearly double what they get today. This wasn’t easy: we had to bring together auto companies, and unions, and folks who don’t ordinarily see eye to eye. But it was worth it.

Because these cars aren’t some pie in the sky solution that’s years away. They’re being built right now – by American workers, in factories right here in the U.S.A. Every year, our cars and trucks will be able to go further and use less fuel, and pretty soon, you’ll be able to fill up every two weeks instead of every week – something that, over time, will save the typical family more than $8,000 at the pump.  We’ll reduce our oil consumption by more than 12 billion barrels. That’s a future worth investing in.

So we have a choice.  Right now, some folks in Washington would rather spend another $4 billion on subsidies to oil companies each year. Well you know what?  We’ve been handing out these kinds of taxpayer giveaways for nearly a century.  And outside of Congress, does anyone really think that’s still a good idea?  I want this Congress to stop the giveaways to an oil industry that’s never been more profitable, and invest in a clean energy industry that’s never been more promising.  We should be investing in the technology that’s building the cars and trucks and jets that will prevent us from dealing with these high gas prices year after year after year.

Ending this cycle of rising gas prices won’t be easy, and it won’t happen overnight. But that’s why you sent us to Washington – to solve tough problems like this one. So I’m going to keep doing everything I can to help you save money on gas, both right now and in the future. I hope politicians from both sides of the aisle join me. Let’s put aside the bumper-sticker slogans, remember why we’re here, and get things done for the American people.

Thank you, God bless you, and have a great weekend.

Full Text Obama Presidency March 1, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech on American Energy, Gas Prices, Oil Subsidies, Dependence on Foreign Oil and the Economy at Nashua Community College, New Hampshire

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama on Gas Prices and Oil Subsidies

Source: WH, 3-1-12

President Obama delivers remarks on energy from Nashua, New Hampshire (March 1, 2012)
President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the economy at Nashua Community College in Nashua, N.H., March 1, 2012. The president used a diagram to illustrate the decline in U.S. dependence on foreign oil. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Today in New Hampshire, President Obama renewed his call to repeal the $4 billion in subsidies that taxpayers provide the oil industry each year and said there’s only one real path forward for America’s future — an all of the above approach that develops every source of energy available to us.

He also addressed the idea that we’ll be able to drill our way to lower gas prices and energy independence:

So when it comes to oil production, under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years. That is a fact … Under my administration, we have a near-record number of oil rigs operating right now — more working oil and gas rigs than the rest of the world combined. Think about that.

The President is directing the federal government to address a range of issues that are having a real impact on what each of us pays at the pump. For starters, he’s working to prevent speculators from taking advantage of uncertainties in the commodities market and trying to reduce bottlenecks in the supply chain.

And the President is making a real push to eliminate the tax breaks that we provide to one of the most profitable industries in the world:

[Oil] companies are making record profits right now — tens of billions of dollars a year. Every time you go to the gas tank or fill up your gas tank, they’re making money.  Every time. Now, does anyone really think that Congress should give them another $4 billion this year? Of course not. It’s outrageous. It’s inexcusable. And I am asking Congress — eliminate this oil industry giveaway right away. I want them to vote on this in the next few weeks.

For more information about America’s decreasing dependence on foreign oil, check out our post from earlier today.

U.S. Dependence on Foreign Oil Is Declining

Learn more

Related Topics: Blueprint for an America Built to Last, Economy, Energy and Environment

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President on American Energy

Nashua Community College
Nashua, New Hampshire

1:28 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Nashua!  (Applause.)  It is good to be back in New Hampshire!  (Applause.)

Thank you, Mike, for that wonderful introduction and for your service to our country.  I want to thank the president of Nashua Community College, Lucille Jordan, for hosting us here today.  Give Lucille a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  We’ve got Professor Paul Wunderlich, who gave me a great tour.  Where’s Paul?  Where is he?  He’s got a beard — you can see him.  (Laughter.)  There he is.  And I want to thank your Mayor, Donnalee Lozeau, for joining us here today.  (Applause.)  Where’s Donnalee?  Right over there — there.  Right in there.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love you!

THE PRESIDENT:  I love you back.  It is good to be back in New Hampshire.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  (Inaudible) 911! 911!  Somebody’s down!

THE PRESIDENT:  Okay, we’ll be all right.  They probably were just standing too long.  Just give them a little space.  Where’s our EMS folks?  They’ll be okay.  Just give him a little space.  This happens sometimes.  You guys been here a while after the magging?

AUDIENCE:  Yes.

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, no, you have to eat ahead of time.  (Laughter.)  Keep your blood sugar high.  We got somebody over there?  Jordan, right in the middle.  There we go.  Here’s our guy.  Make a little room, everybody.  All right, let’s make sure everybody is okay.  You all right?  All good?  Okay.  I think you’re going to be all right.  Okay.  (Applause.)  So remember, eat before you come to a presidential event.  (Laughter.)

Now, I am from Chicago, so you know a little snow was not going to keep me away — (applause) — which is why I can relate to New Hampshireites, because this is just like a dusting.  (Laughter.)  What’s the big deal?  There’s no big deal.  When Air Force One landed there were like 50 people waiting to shake my hand — they got icicles on their eyebrows.  (Laughter.)  I was like, hey, great weather.  (Laughter.)  So I want to thank all of you for making the trek out here. I really appreciate it.

I just had a chance to look at some of the cutting-edge work that’s being done here at the auto shop.  Earlier this week, I gave a speech to American autoworkers where I said that one reason this country has an auto industry today is because we’re not just building cars again — (applause) — we’re building cars that use less oil, cars that go further on a gallon of gas.  And in part, that’s because of what’s happening in places like this community college.  It’s because of so many of you.

I don’t need to tell you why fuel efficiency is so important, especially right now.  Most of you filled up your gas tanks in the last week or two, am I right?

AUDIENCE:  Yes.

THE PRESIDENT:  It hasn’t been a happy experience.  You’ve see the prices go up almost every day and you’ve already felt the pinch, whether you own a car or maybe you own a small business that uses energy.  Some of you have no choice but to drive a long way to work.  And higher gas prices are like a tax straight out of your paycheck.  And in the winter, the rising price of oil is also making it more expensive to heat your homes.

Now, I know this is hard to believe, but some politicians are seeing higher gas prices as a political opportunity.  You’re shocked, I know.  (Laughter.)  But it’s true — right in the middle of an election year.  Who would have thought?  (Laughter.) So recently, the lead in one news story said — and I’m quoting here — “Gasoline prices are on the rise and Republicans are licking their chops.”  Licking their chops.  Now, let me tell you, only in politics do people respond to bad news with such enthusiasm.  (Laughter.)  That doesn’t happen anywhere else.

And so, as a consequence, you can anticipate we’re going to be hearing a lot about how people have these magic 3-point plans to make sure that you’re only paying $2-a-gallon gas.  Just like we heard about it in the last election, just like we’ve heard about it for the last 30 years.  And you know what the essence of their plan is going to be, which is:  Step one, drill.  Step two, drill.  Step three, keep drilling.  And by the way, we’ll drill in your backyard.  Wherever it is, we’re just going to put up more rigs.

Now, if there’s one thing I know about New Hampshire, it’s that your political bull detector is pretty keen.  It’s pretty sharp.  (Applause.)  You know that we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices.  There are no quick fixes or silver bullets.  If somebody tells you there are, they’re not telling you the truth.

If we’re going to take control of our energy future — which we have to do — if we’re going to avoid high gas prices every single year, with a lot of politicians talking every single year but nothing happening — if we’re going to avoid that, then we’ve got to have an all-of-the-above strategy that develops every single source of American energy.  Not just oil and gas, but also wind and solar and biofuels.  (Applause.)  We’ve got to keep developing the technology that allows us to use less oil in our cars and trucks, less oil in our buildings and our factories.  And that’s the strategy we’ve been pursuing for the last three years, and it’s the only real solution to this challenge.

Now, here’s the good news.  We’re making progress.  And you can see it in this chart.  There’s a chart behind me right here  — we’re using visual aids today.  (Laughter.)  The bar on the left shows that six years ago, 60 percent of the oil we used was imported.  Since I took office, America’s dependence on foreign oil has gone down every single year.  Every single year.  (Applause.)  In fact, in 2010, it was under 50 percent for the first time in 13 years — for the first time.  (Applause.)

And we gave one of these handy charts to everybody who came today, so you can impress your family and friends with your knowledge.  (Laughter.)  It makes a great conversation piece at parties.  (Laughter.)

Now, one of the reasons our oil — our dependence on foreign oil is down is because of policies put in place by our administration, but also our predecessor’s administration.  And whoever succeeds me is going to have to keep it up.  This is not going to be solved by one party; it’s not going to be solved by one administration; it’s not going to be solved by slogans; it’s not going to be solved by phony rhetoric.  It’s going to be solved by a sustained, all-of-the-above energy strategy.

And no matter what you hear from some folks in an election year, the key part of this strategy over the last three years has been to increase safe, responsible oil production here at home while also pursuing clean energy for the future.  We don’t have to choose between one or the other, we’ve got to do both.  (Applause.)

So when it comes to oil production, under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years.  That is a fact.  That’s a fact.  (Applause.)    Under my administration, we have a near-record number of oil rigs operating right now — more working oil and gas rigs than the rest of the world combined.  Think about that.  That’s a fact.  (Applause.)

We’ve opened up millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration where appropriate and where it is done safely, and we’ve approved more than 400 drilling permits since we put in place new safety standards to make sure that we don’t have the same kind of spill that we had down in the Gulf a couple of years ago.  (Applause.)

And we’ve approved dozens of new pipelines to move oil around, including from Canada.  Just this week, we announced that we’ll do whatever we can to help speed the construction of a pipeline in Oklahoma that will relieve a bottleneck for oil that needs to get to the Gulf.  And that’s going to help create jobs and encourage production.

So we’re focused on American oil production.  We are doing all that we can in a safe, responsible way to make sure that American oil production and gas production is high.  But here’s the thing.  The amount of oil that we drill at home doesn’t set the price of gas on its own.  And the reason is, is because oil is bought and sold on the world energy market.  And just like last year, the biggest thing that’s causing the price of oil to rise right now is instability in the Middle East.  This time it’s Iran.  But a lot of folks are nervous about what might happen there, and so they’re anticipating there might be a big disruption in terms of flow.  And when uncertainty increases, speculation on Wall Street can drive up prices even more.  Those are the short-term factors at work here.

So when you start hearing a bunch of folks saying somehow that there’s some simple solution, you can turn a nozzle and suddenly we’re going to be getting a lot more oil, that’s not just how it works.  Over the long term, the biggest reason oil prices will rise is because of growing demand in countries like China and India and Brazil.

Just think about this.  In five years, the number of cars on the road in China more than tripled.  Over the last five years, the number of cars tripled.  Nearly 10 million cars were added in China alone in 2010 — 10 million cars just in one country in one year.  So that’s using up a lot of oil.  And those numbers are only going to get bigger over time.  As places like China and India get wealthier, they’re going to want to buy cars like we do, and they’re going to want to fill them up like we do, and that’s going to drive up demand.

So what does this mean for us?  What does this mean for America?  It means that anybody who tells you that we can just drill our way out of this problem does not know what they’re talking about or they’re not telling you the truth.  (Applause.) One or the other.

Here’s another way to think about it.  The United States consumes more than 20 percent of the world’s oil, but we only have 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves — 20 percent we use; we only produce 2 percent.  And no matter what we do, it’s not going to get much above 3 percent.  So we’re still going to have this huge shortfall.  That’s why if we really want energy security and energy independence, we’ve got to start looking at how we use less oil, and use other energy sources that we can renew and that we can control, so we are not subject to the whims of what’s happening in other countries.  (Applause.)

We have to keep developing new technology that helps us use less energy.  We’ve got to keep relying on American know-how and ingenuity that comes from places like this one, Nashua Community College.  That’s our future.  (Applause.)  And that’s exactly the path that we’ve been taking these last three years.  Because of the investments we’ve made, the use of clean, renewable energy in this country has nearly doubled — and thousands of Americans have jobs because of it.

We’re taking every possible action to develop a near 100-year supply of natural gas, which releases fewer carbons.  Now that’s something that experts believe will support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade.  Our cooperation with the private sector has positioned this country to be the world’s leading manufacturer of high-tech batteries that will power the next generation of American cars.  (Applause.)

And after three decades of doing nothing, we put in place fuel economy standards that will make sure our cars average nearly 55 miles per gallon by the middle of the next decade.  That’s nearly double what we have today.  (Applause.)  And that, by the way, applies not just to cars — it applies to light trucks, and now it’s going to apply to heavy trucks as well.

So that means that every time you fill up, you can think to yourself, you know what, I won’t have to fill up again for two weeks instead of one week.  That’s worth applauding.  (Applause.) Because what that means is that will save the typical family more than $8,000 at the pump.  And it means that this country will reduce our oil consumption by more than 2 million barrels a day, which means we can continue to see a decline in how much imported oil we need.  (Applause.)  And that’s good for our national security, that’s good for our economy, and it’s good for our environment.  (Applause.)

So that’s the strategy we’ve got to pursue.  But we’ve got to do more, and we’ve got to do more even faster.  We’ve got to keep investing in developing every available type of American-made energy.  And this means that we’ve got to set some priorities.  We’ve got to make some choices.

First, while there are no short-term silver bullets when it comes to gas prices, I’ve directed my administration to look for every single area where we can make an impact and help consumers — from helping to relieve bottlenecks in the places like the one we’ve got in Oklahoma, to making sure speculators aren’t taking advantage of what’s going on in the oil markets.  And we’re just going to keep on announcing steps in the coming weeks; every time we find something that can provide a little bit of relief right now, we’re going to do it.  (Applause.)

But over the long term, an all-of-the-above strategy requires the right incentives.  And here’s one of the best examples.  Right now, $4 billion of your tax dollars — $4 billion — subsidizes the oil industry every year.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  Four billion dollars.  Now, these companies are making record profits right now — tens of billions of dollars a year.  Every time you go to the gas tank or fill up your gas tank, they’re making money.  Every time.  Now, does anyone really think that Congress should give them another $4 billion this year?

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  Of course not.  It’s outrageous.  It’s inexcusable.  And I am asking Congress — eliminate this oil industry giveaway right away.  I want them to vote on this in the next few weeks.  (Applause.)  Let’s put every single member of Congress on record:  You can stand with the oil companies, or you can stand up for the American people.  You can keep subsidizing a fossil fuel that’s been getting taxpayer dollars for a century, or you can place your bets on a clean-energy future.

So I’m asking everybody here today, anybody who is watching at home, let your member of Congress know where you stand.  Will you do that?  (Applause.)  Because I know where I stand, New Hampshire.  I know where I stand on this.  We want to have successful oil companies that are able to get the oil that we have in our country, but we also understand that our future requires us to make investments in clean, renewable energies.  And that has to start now.  We can’t wait.  We can’t wait until gas has skyrocketed more and people are desperate.  We need to start making those investments now.

And most of you guys agree.  (Applause.)  That’s why you’re putting your time — that’s why folks here at this community college are learning about building cars and repairing cars that use less oil — cars that are powered with alternative fuels, like natural gas.  That’s why the city of Nashua is purchasing a new fleet of trash trucks that run on natural gas.  (Applause.)  They’re going to go cleaner; they’re going to last longer; they’re going to be cheaper to fill up.  (Applause.)

I saw one of them.  It was a good-looking truck.  And it put a smile on the Mayor’s face, because she knows she’s saving money — she’s saving taxpayer money.  Good job, Mayor.  (Applause.)

So that’s part of what that $4 billion is going to the oil companies right now, that’s where it could be going — to help cities like this one convert their fleets to fuel-efficient cars and trucks, to help private sector companies — big companies like UPS or Federal Express — convert their fleets.  That can save us money.  In fact, since we announced the National Clean Fleets Partnership last year, the companies interested in transitioning their fleets have tripled.  And that’s part of why this chart is going down.

And I’m proud to say that the federal government is leading by example.  One thing the federal government has a lot of is cars.  I don’t know if you guys are aware of this, but we have a lot of cars.  (Laughter.)  And I’ve directed every department, every agency — every single one — to make sure that by 2015, 100 percent of the vehicles that the federal government buys are fuel-efficient cars and trucks.  (Applause.)  Let’s save us money.

So this is our future.  This is the ultimate solution to our energy challenge.  It’s not going to be a smooth, easy ride.  Some of the clean-energy technologies that are discovered, they won’t pan out.  Some companies will fail.  There’s going to be experiments and research that take time.  But as long as I’m President, I will not walk away from the promise of clean energy, because our future depends on it.  (Applause.)  I’m not going to cede the wind or the solar or the battery industry to China or Germany because some politicians in Washington refused to make the same commitment here in the United States of America.  (Applause.)

With or without this Congress, I’m going to continue to do whatever I can to develop every source of American energy — to make sure that three years from now our dependence on foreign oil is even lower, to make sure that our future is not controlled by events on the other side of the world.

We may not have a silver bullet to bring down gas prices tomorrow, or reduce our dependence on foreign oil overnight.  But what we do have in this country are limitless sources of energy, and a boundless supply of ingenuity and imagination and talent that we can put to work to develop the energy of the future.  (Applause.)  We’ve got you. We’ve got you.  (Applause.)

The easiest thing in the world is to make phony election-year promises about lowering gas prices.  But what’s harder is to make a serious, sustained commitment to tackle a problem that we’ve been talking about for 30 years and has not been tackled, has not been solved.  It’s not going to be solved in one year or one term — maybe not completely even in one decade.  But that’s the kind of commitment that we need right now.  That’s what this moment requires.

And so when I see all the young people who are here today — or the young at heart — (laughter) — we need you guys to keep at it.  This is your future at stake.  We need you to work hard. We need you to dream big.  We need you to summon the same spirit of unbridled optimism, that bold willingness to tackle tough problems that led previous generations to meet the challenges of their time — to power a nation from coast to coast, to touch the moon, to connect an entire world with our own science and imagination.  That’s what America is capable of doing.

And it’s that history that teaches us that all of our challenges — all of them — are within our power, within our grasp to solve.  (Applause.)  This one is no different.  This one is no different.  It will require our brightest scientists, our most creative companies, but it’s also going to require all of us — Democrats, Republicans, everybody in between -– to do our part.  That’s what this moment requires.

And I know we can do it.  And when we do, we’ll remind the world once again just why it is that the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.

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

END
1:55 P.M. EST

Political Highlights April 25, 2011: President Obama Sells Deficit Reduction Plan as Gas Prices Continue to Rise — Obama’s Facebook Townhall — Easter & Passover at the White House

POLITICAL HIGHLIGHTS

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:


White House Photo, Lawrence Jackson, 4/22/11

STATS & POLLS

  • Nation’s Mood at Lowest Level in Two Years, Poll Shows: Americans are more pessimistic about the nation’s economic outlook and overall direction than they have been at any time since President Obama’s first two months in office, when the country was still officially ensnared in the Great Recession, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll…. – NYT, 4-22-11
  • Robert Reich: Beware the ‘middle ground’ of the Great Budget Debate: The center of public opinion is nowhere near the halfway point between the two extremes of the budget debate. Americans lean toward Obama and the Democrats.
    We continue to hear that the Great Budget Debate has two sides: The President and the Democrats want to cut the budget deficit mainly by increasing taxes on the rich and reducing military spending, but not by privatizing Medicare. On the other side are Paul Ryan, Republicans, and the right, who want cut the deficit by privatizing Medicare and slicing programs that benefit poorer Americans, while lowering taxes on the rich….
    According to the most recent Washington Post-ABC poll, 78 percent of Americans oppose cutting spending on Medicare as a way to reduce the debt, and 72 percent support raising taxes on the rich – including 68 percent of Independents and 54 percent of Republicans…. – CS Monitor, 4-21-11
  • Poll: One in four Americans think Obama was not born in U.S.: A quarter of all Americans incorrectly think President Obama was not born in the United States, according to a new CBS News/ New York Times poll.
    Among all Republicans, 45 percent believe he was born in another country, as do 45 percent of Tea Party supporters, the poll shows…. – CBS, 4-21-11
  • Poll shows Americans oppose entitlement cuts to deal with debt problem: Despite growing concerns about the country’s long-term fiscal problems and an intensifying debate in Washington about how to deal with them, Americans strongly oppose some of the major remedies under consideration, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
    The survey finds that Americans prefer to keep Medicare just the way it is. Most also oppose cuts in Medicaid and the defense budget. More than half say they are against small, across-the-board tax increases combined with modest reductions in Medicare and Social Security benefits. Only President Obama’s call to raise tax rates on the wealthiest Americans enjoys solid support.
    On Monday, Standard & Poor’s, for the first time, shifted its outlook on U.S. creditworthiness to “negative” because of the nation’s accumulating debt. The announcement rattled investors and could increase pressure on both sides in Washington to work out a broader deal as part of the upcoming vote over increasing the government’s borrowing authority…. – WaPo, 4-19-11
  • New Poll Shows Obama Falling, But Not Below GOP Contenders: Economic anxiety is driving President Obama’s approval rating to nearly its lowest level yet, a new Washington Post/ABC News poll shows, but he still edges out any possible GOP opponent for 2012. The president’s 47 percent approval rating is down seven points from January, but he would get a majority of the vote against every potential Republican White House candidate except former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, whom he leads by a 49 to 45 percent margin.
    Results prove a direct correlation between the faltering economy and Obama’s grade: “Despite signs of economic growth, 44 percent of Americans see the economy as getting worse,” the Post reported, and Americans demonstrate particular concern for rising gas prices; meanwhile, 57 percent disapprove of Obama’s handling of the issue…. – The National Journal, 4-19-11
  • The GOP’s 2012 Enthusiasm Gap: New numbers out this morning bears bad news for Barack Obama but worse news for every single one of the GOP candidates. According to a poll by ABC News/Washington Post out today, only 43 percent of Republicans say they’re satisfied with the potential candidates for president and a further 17 percent have no opinion about the field. These two numbers are dramatically low compared to this stage in the 2008 elections, and analysts suggest that the GOP candidates’ reticence to formally enter the race might have something to do with the lack of enthusiasm…. – The National Journal, 4-19-11
  • A Gallup poll shows that 6 in 10 Americans approve of the budget deal that slices $38 billion from spending for the next six months, the president has moved toward embracing the role of deficit slayer.

IN FOCUS


The President cheers on children rolling Easter eggs, White House Photo, Chuck Kennedy, 4/25/11
  • Obamas host annual White House Easter egg roll: Thousands of kids and their parents swarmed the White House grounds Monday for the annual tradition of rolling Easter eggs across the South Lawn, complete with games, storytelling and a visit from the Easter Bunny. “I hope everybody is having a great time here,” President Barack Obama said in kicking off Monday’s event. He was joined on a balcony overlooking the sun-drenched South Lawn by his wife, Michelle, daughters Malia and Sasha, and mother-in-law, Marian Robinson. Mrs. Obama said it was “pretty amazing” that a record 30,000 were expected to attend. All 50 states and Washington, D.C., were represented, according to the White House. “We are so excited about this year’s Easter egg roll,” she said. “The theme is ‘Get Up and Go!’ because, as you know, I’m a big proponent of getting up and going, making sure we’re moving and eating healthy, and this Easter egg roll reflects all of that.”… – AP, 4-25-11
  • Obama’s Easter festivities; Afghanistan meeting: President Barack Obama handles one of the more fun parts of his job to start the week — the annual Easter Egg Roll at the White House. He’ll be joined on the South Lawn by members of his family Monday morning, and will make a few remarks…. – AP, 4-25-11
  • Obama attends Easter service at historic church: President Barack Obama and his family attended Easter service Sunday at a Washington church founded in 1863 by freed slaves. The first family entered Shiloh Baptist Church to a round of applause on a sun-splashed day in the nation’s capital as members of a choir dressed in black, white and gold sang “Total Praise.” Obama shook a few hands and hugged some members of the congregation as he and his wife, Michelle, and their daughters, Malia and Sasha, walked to a second-row pew. According to the church’s pastor, Dr. Wallace Charles Smith, 21 freed slaves made it to the nation’s capital from Fredericksburg, Va., to establish a place where they could worship freely and where “they could reach others with the good news of their salvation…. – AP, 4-24-11

REVOLUTIONS IN THE MIDDLE EAST: LIBYA IN TURMOIL

  • DOD: First Predator strike carried out in Libya: The Pentagon says the U.S. Air Force has carried out its first Predator missile strike in Libya. A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Capt. Darryn James, said the airstrike happened Saturday…. – AP, 4-23-11
  • McCain lauds anti-Gadhafi force during Libya visit: U.S. Sen. John McCain praised Libya’s rebels as his “heroes” in a visit to their de facto capital Friday, a day after the United States started flying armed drones to bolster NATO firepower and try to break a battlefield stalemate with Moammar Gadhafi’s forces….
    McCain, one of the strongest proponents in Congress of the U.S. military intervention in Libya, said he was in Benghazi “to get an on-the-ground assessment of the situation” and planned to meet with the rebel National Transition Council, the de facto government in the eastern half of the country, and members of the rebel military.
    “They are my heroes,” McCain said of the rebels as he walked out of a Benghazi hotel. A few Libyans waved American flags as his vehicle drove past…. – AP, 4-22-11
  • Clinton: Gadhafi may be using cluster bombs: The Obama administration said Thursday that Moammar Gadhafi’s government may be targeting Libyan civilians with cluster bombs, cautiously endorsing claims by rebels and human rights groups that the Libyan strongman’s troops are using the indiscriminate weapon on the western city of Misrata. Attacks by Gadhafi’s forces have been deplorable, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said. Despite outlining more examples of what she termed Gadhafi’s “inhumanity,” Clinton refused to signal any new course for the United States to help anti-government forces in their war to end four decades of dictatorship. “Col. Gadhafi’s troops continue their vicious attacks, including the siege of Misrata,” Clinton told reporters in Washington. “There are even reports that Gadhafi forces may have used cluster bombs against their own people.”… – AP, 4-21-11
  • Obama OKs use of armed drone aircraft in Libya: President Barack Obama has approved the use of armed drones in Libya, authorizing U.S. airstrikes against ground forces for the first time since America turned control of the operation over to NATO on April 4. It also is the first time that drones will have been used for airstrikes since the conflict began on March 19, although they have routinely been flying surveillance missions, Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters at a Pentagon briefing Thursday…. – AP, 4-21-11
  • U.S. defends role in Libya: U.S officials defended America’s role in the NATO-led mission in Libya Monday, amid criticism that Washington is not doing enough as the coalition struggles. White House spokesman Jay Carney downplayed reports that NATO is running out of munitions to fight the war. Carney told reporters that “a dramatic increase” in NATO sorties Sunday and Monday “demonstrates the capacity of NATO to fulfill its mission” in securing a no-fly zone over Libya. “We have no plans to change our posture,” he said…. – CNN, 4-18-11

INTERNATIONAL POLITICS

  • US treads warily in Syria, considers sanctions: Despite a ruthless crackdown on pro-reform demonstrators, there is no international appetite for a warlike approach to Syria — a crucial Mideast playmaker with ties to Iran and a say in any eventual Arab peace with Israel.
    In contrast with the quick international decision to launch an air campaign in nearby Libya, the United States is responding cautiously to mounting civilian deaths in Syria, preparing steps such as slapping new travel limits and financial penalties on Syrian leaders.
    As violence escalated anew on Monday, the White House stepped up its condemnation of President Bashar Assad’s regime, but stopped well short of demanding the ouster of a leader some U.S. Democrats had considered a potential reformer and peace broker…. – AP, 4-25-11
  • Thousands of Syrian troops raid rebellious city: Thousands of soldiers backed by tanks and snipers moved in before dawn to the city where Syria’s anti-government uprising began, causing panic in the streets when they opened fire indiscriminately on civilians and went house-to-house rounding up suspected protesters. At least 11 people were killed and 14 others lay in the streets — either dead or gravely wounded, witnesses said.
    The military raids on the southern city of Daraa and at least two other areas suggested Syria is trying to impose military control on the centers of protests against President Bashar Assad, whose family has ruled Syria for four decades. Residents and human rights activists said the regime wants to terrify opponents and intimidate them from staging any more demonstrations…. – AP, 4-25-11
  • Obama: Syria’s ‘outrageous’ violence must end now: President Barack Obama is condemning the latest use of force by Syria against anti-government demonstrators and says the regime’s “outrageous” use of violence against the protesters must “end now.”… In a statement, Obama says Syria’s moves a day earlier to repeal a decades-old emergency law and allow peaceful demonstrations were not serious in light of Friday’s eve…. – AP, 4-23-11
  • Syria targets activists in pinpoint raids: Syrian security forces detained dozens of opposition activists and fired from rooftops in a seaside town Sunday as authorities turned to pinpoint raids after days of bloodshed brought international condemnation and defections from President Bashar Assad’s regime.
    The strategy, described by a rights activist, appeared aimed at rattling the opposition’s leadership and showing that the state’s ability to conduct arrest sweeps has not changed despite abolishing nearly 50-year-old emergency laws last week.
    The rising level of violence — more than 120 people dead since Friday — brought calls from the watchdog group Human Rights Watch for a U.N. inquiry. But Sunday’s tactics also suggest a government effort to head off the round of protest marches…. – AP, 4-23-11
  • US official: US opposes Syria for UN rights body: The Obama administration will oppose Syria’s candidacy to the United Nations’ top human rights body, an official said Monday, calling the Arab country’s attempt to gain a seat in the organization “hypocritical” while it uses violence to try to silence protests against President Bashar Assad’s authoritarian regime. The diplomatic push against Assad’s government comes as thousands of Syrians continue to demonstrate for democratic reforms. Human rights groups say more than 200 have been killed by security forces in a month of protests…. – AP, 4-18-11

THE HEADLINES….

  • Kelly: Giffords cleared to attend shuttle launch: Rep. Gabrielle Giffords will attend husband Mark Kelly’s space shuttle launch in Florida on Friday, Kelly said, allowing the Arizona congresswoman to travel for the first time since she was flown from Tucson to Houston more than three months ago to recover from a gunshot wound to the head.
    In an interview with CBS’ Katie Couric, Kelly said Giffords’ doctors had given her permission to travel to Cape Canaveral, Fla., for the launch of Endeavour, which is scheduled for 3:47 p.m. Friday. Kelly is the commander of the shuttle mission.
    CBS released excerpts of the interview Sunday, and it was scheduled to air Monday on “CBS Evening News with Katie Couric,” according to a network statement.
    “I’ve met with her doctors, her neurosurgeon and her doctors, and … they’ve given us permission to take her down to the launch,” Kelly said in the interview in Houston. The network statement did not specify when the interview occurred…. – AP, 4-24-11
  • Obama again won’t call Armenian deaths ‘genocide’: President Barack Obama on Saturday marked the anniversary of the massacre of Armenians in Turkey nearly a century ago by calling it a “horrific” slaughter, but once again stopped short of branding it genocide.
    In a written statement, Obama said the 1915 killings of some 1.5 million Armenians represent “one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century.” But for the third straight year, he failed to use the word genocide to describe it. As a candidate for president, Obama repeatedly vowed to recognize the genocide once in office, vowing “a principled commitment to commemorating and ending genocide.”…. – AP, 4-23-11
  • US default could be disastrous choice for economy: The United States has never defaulted on its debt and Democrats and Republicans say they don’t want it to happen now. But with partisan acrimony running at fever pitch, and Democrats and Republicans so far apart on how to tame the deficit, the unthinkable is suddenly being pondered.
    The government now borrows about 42 cents of every dollar it spends. Imagine that one day soon, the borrowing slams up against the current debt limit ceiling of $14.3 trillion and Congress fails to raise it. The damage would ripple across the entire economy, eventually affecting nearly every American, and rocking global markets in the process.
    A default would come if the government actually failed to fulfill a financial obligation, including repaying a loan or interest on that loan. The government borrows mostly by selling bonds to individuals and governments, with a promise to pay back the amount of the bond in a certain time period and agreeing to pay regular interest on that bond in the meantime….. – AP, 4-23-11
  • In Hawaii, accessing some Obama birth info is easy: Lost in the renewed scrutiny into President Barack Obama’s birth records is the fact that anyone can walk into a Hawaii vital records office, wait in line behind couples getting marriage licenses and open a baby-blue government binder containing basic information about his birth.
    Highlighted in yellow on page 1,218 of the thick binder is the computer-generated listing for a boy named Barack Hussein Obama II born in Hawaii, surrounded by the alphabetized last names of all other children born in-state between 1960 and 1964. This is the only government birth information, called “index data,” available to the public…. – AP, 4-23-11
  • Obama pumps plan to develop renewable energy: President Barack Obama says one answer to high gasoline prices is to spend money developing renewable energy sources. “That’s the key to helping families at the pump and reducing our dependence on foreign oil” in the long term, he said Saturday in his weekly radio and Internet address….
    He announced Thursday during an event in Reno, Nev., that the Justice Department will begin looking for cases of fraud or manipulation in the oil markets, even though Attorney General Eric Holder suggested a variety of legal reasons may be behind the surging gas prices.
    As he has before, Obama said Saturday there is no “silver bullet” that will slash gas prices immediately. But he said there are things government can do to help make a difference in the long term. They also include boosting U.S. oil production, rooting out any illegal activity by traders and speculators and ending $4 billion in annual taxpayer subsidies to oil and gas companies. “Instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy sources, we need to invest in tomorrow’s,” Obama said…. – AP, 4-23-11
  • Gulf anniversary renews debate on Arctic drilling: A year after the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history, some experts are pondering the next doomsday scenario — a massive oil well blowout in the icy waters off Alaska’s northern coast. Like the deepest waters of the Gulf, the shallow but frigid seas off Alaska are a new frontier for oil and gas exploration. The reserves are large but come with risks…. – AP, 4-23-11
  • ‘Birther’ claims force GOP leaders to take a stand: In recent days several prominent Republicans have distanced themselves, with varying degrees of emphasis, from the false claim that Obama was born in a foreign country. But with a new poll showing that two-thirds of adult Republicans either embrace the claim or are open to it, the GOP leaders for the most part are not calling for a broader effort to stamp out the allegations.
    “It’s a real challenge for the Republican Party and virtually every Republican candidate for president,” contends Democratic pollster Geoff Garin. If it’s not handled well, he said, all-important independent voters might see Republicans as extreme or irrelevant…. – AP, 4-23-11
  • Michelle Obama’s plane flew closer to big jet: A plane carrying first lady Michelle Obama this week came even closer to a big military cargo jet than previously reported, the National Transportation Safety Board said Friday. The distance between the two planes closed to 2.94 miles before air traffic controllers at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington directed the first lady’s plane to abort a landing, the board said in a statement. The Federal Aviation Administration had previously said there was more than three miles between the planes, and had ordered controllers’ supervisors to oversee flights carrying the first lady and the vice president. A supervisor was already required to monitors flights with President Barack Obama on board…. – AP, 4-22-11
  • Obama to meet with Emirates crown prince Tuesday: The crown prince of the United Arab Emirates is coming to see President Barack Obama next week and is expected to discuss the turmoil in Yemen. A White House announcement said Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan will meet with Obama on Tuesday to talk about “common strategic interests.”… – AP, 4-22-11
  • Obama’s deficit plans run into economic reality: President Barack Obama headed west to sell his big picture deficit-reduction plan. But many people are waiting for a quick fix to their own economic problems caused chiefly by persistent unemployment and the crippled housing market….
    “If we don’t have a serious plan to tackle the debt and the deficit, that could actually end up being a bigger drag on the economy than anything else,” Obama said…. – AP, 4-22-11
  • Giffords makes Time’s 100 ‘most influential’ list: Time magazine has named U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. President Barack Obama wrote the tribute to Arizona congresswoman in the magazine’s May issue, saying Giffords may not have been a household name before she was shot in the head in a Jan. 8 mass shooting in Tucson, but now “she’s got the prayers of a nation rooting for her.” Obama wrote Giffords is a “model of civility and courage and unity — a needed voice that cannot return soon enough.”… – AP, 4-21-11
  • High court asked to reinstate FCC indecency policy: The Obama administration asked the Supreme Court Thursday to reinstate a policy that allows federal regulators to fine broadcasters for showing nudity and airing curse words when young children may be watching television. The administration is seeking the high court’s review of appeals court rulings that threw out the Federal Communications Commission’s rules against the isolated use of expletives as well as fines against broadcasters who showed a woman’s nude buttocks on a 2003 episode of ABC’s “NYPD Blue.”…. – AP, 4-21-11
  • Calif. GOP leader says email sender should resign: The head of Orange County’s Republican Party is vowing to keep up the pressure on a local GOP official to resign for sending an offensive email about President Barack Obama. “This issue will not go away until she has taken 100 percent responsibility for sending out a racist email that offended millions,” Chairman Scott Baugh said. He commented by telephone on Wednesday after Marilyn Davenport, speaking for the first time, said she will not resign and had no racist intentions when she sent the email.
    The message depicts Obama’s face superimposed over a baby chimp’s. The text under the image reads, “Now you know why — No birth certificate!” Davenport, 74, represents the 72nd Assembly District on the GOP’s Orange County Central Committee, a group of elected volunteers who raise funds and campaign for the party. “I feel that it was inappropriate and I offended people,” Davenport said outside her suburban ranch-style home. “I think it’s only racist when the intent in my heart is to make it that way, and that was not the intent in my heart.”… – AP, 4-21-11
  • Obama’s deficit plans run into economic reality: President Barack Obama headed west to sell his big picture deficit-reduction plan. But many people are waiting for a quick fix to their own economic problems caused chiefly by persistent unemployment and the crippled housing market. Audiences in California and Nevada understood why it’s important to get a handle on the deficit over the long term. Yet they made clear that the economic recovery hasn’t fully taken hold in ways that are meaningful to them. As Obama shifts into re-election mode, he will need to show that he hasn’t lost his focus on jobs even as the conversation in Washington swings to paying down what the nation owes…. – AP, 4-21-11
  • WikiLeaks suspect transferred to Fort Leavenworth: The Army private suspected of illegally passing U.S. government secrets to the WikiLeaks website was transferred Wednesday to an Army prison in Kansas from the Marine brig in Virginia where he has spent the past nine months. Pfc. Bradley Manning, suspected of having obtained the classified documents while serving as an Army intelligence analyst in Iraq, is awaiting a determination by the Army on whether he is mentally competent to stand trial…. – AP, 4-20-11
  • White House: First family to attend shuttle launch: President Barack Obama and his family will attend next week’s launch of Endeavour, NASA’s next-to-last space shuttle flight commanded by the husband of critically wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. A White House official said Wednesday that the president would be at the April 29 liftoff, along with wife Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha. That prompted Giffords to say: “Awesome.” Commander Mark Kelly will lead the six-man shuttle crew to the International Space Station. He has said he hopes his wife will be there when he blasts off, and is awaiting her doctors’ final approval…. – AP, 4-20-11
  • White House considering disclosure for contractors: The White House says it’s considering requiring companies pursuing federal contracts to disclose their campaign contributions. Spokesman Jay Carney says that would be achieved by an executive order that’s being drafted. With President Barack Obama officially a candidate for re-election, Carney denied any political motives behind the effort…. – AP, 4-20-11
  • Obama praises Gulf workers 1 year after oil spill: President Barack Obama is noting the one-year anniversary of the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, paying tribute to the 11 men killed and thanking the thousands of responders who “worked tirelessly to mitigate the worst impacts” of the oil spill. Obama says that while workers have “made significant progress, the job isn’t done.” He says his administration will continue to hold BP PLC, which leased the rig, and other parties “fully accountable for the damage.”…. – AP, 4-20-11
  • Comprehensive immigration reform probably doomed: President Barack Obama revisited a key campaign promise when he hosted a White House meeting of elected officials and experts on immigration. But if a major overhaul of the nation’s immigration policy is his goal, Republicans in Congress say he shouldn’t hold his breath. They say any bill that even hints at amnesty or legalization for millions of illegal immigrants already living and working in the United States is dead before it ever makes an appearance in a congressional committee…. – AP, 4-20-11
  • Ag secretary’s wife moves toward US House run: Christie Vilsack, the wife of Agriculture Secretary and former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, announced Wednesday she is taking the first step toward running for Congress by relocating to Iowa’s new 4th District. “The decision to run for Congress deserves serious consideration,” Vilsack said in a statement. “Next month I will move to Ames and continue to explore the possibility of representing Iowa in the U.S. House of Representatives.”…. – AP, 4-20-11
  • Obama calls GOP Medicare, spending plan ‘radical’: President Barack Obama declared Wednesday that congressional Republicans are pushing a radical plan to trim Medicare and Medicaid, ramping up the rhetoric before a friendly Facebook crowd at the headquarters of the popular social networking site.
    “I think it’s fair to say that their vision is radical,” Obama told a town hall gathering that included questions posed by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and sent in by site users.
    “I don’t think it’s particularly courageous,” he said of the GOP plan to convert Medicare to a voucher program and make big cuts to the federal-state Medicaid program for the poor.
    “Nothing is easier than solving a problem on the backs of people who are poor, or people who are powerless, or don’t have lobbyists, or don’t have clout,” Obama said…. – AP, 4-19-11
  • Obama begins selling ‘balanced’ deficit plan: President Obama began a coast-to-coast sales pitch Tuesday for something that may prove tough to sell: spending cuts and tax increases. It’s the exact opposite prescription from what Obama spent his first two years in office pitching — a one-two punch of stimulus spending and tax cuts designed to lift the nation out of a major recession.
    To make his case, the president warned that his “balanced” combination of defense and domestic spending cuts and higher taxes on upper-income Americans was the best way to block a Republican plan to privatize Medicare and cut taxes for the wealthy. “I think that is the wrong way to go,” Obama told about 550 students and local residents at Northern Virginia Community College in the Washington suburbs. “That would fundamentally change Medicare as we know it, and I’m not going to sign up for that.”… – USA Today, 4-19-11
  • Obama off to ‘friend’ Facebook in person: President Barack Obama heads to Facebook’s headquarters on Wednesday to tout his budget cuts to followers of the social media powerhouse, which he also hopes to use to help get reelected. Obama, whose audacious 2008 White House bid leaned heavily on social networking sites, will hype his “Shared Responsibility and Shared Prosperity” plan at Facebook’s Palo Alto, California, headquarters.
    With his 2012 reelection campaign just getting into gear, Obama is moving to bring some love to the more than 19 million Facebook followers he has, up close and in person.
    The US president is to take part at 2045 GMT in a scheduled question and answer session at the headquarters not far from San Francisco. If the format is different, the content should be familiar: Obama has been hammering away since April 13 at his strategy to get the federal deficit under control and pare US debt…. – AFP, 4-19-11
  • In Va., Obama Pitches Debt-Reduction Plan: President Obama on Tuesday made the first of what are likely to be many road-trips to pitch his case for a more “balanced” debt-reduction plan than House Republicans have passed, one that includes tax increases for the wealthy, cuts the military and preserves Medicare and Medicaid. Mr. Obama drew applause from his mostly youthful audience at a community college here in casting the choices ahead as a trade-off between the Bush-era tax cuts for high income, including his own, and spending for programs like seniors’ health care, Head Start or for the disabled.
    He said those tax rates benefiting the wealthy, which he agreed to extend through 2012 in a deal with Republicans last December, must end after that — “especially when we know that the only way to pay for these tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans is by asking seniors to pay thousands of dollars more for their health care, or cutting children out of Head Start, or doing away with health insurance for millions of Americans on Medicaid.”
    “It’s not a trade-off that I think most Americans think is fair, no matter what party you belong to,” Mr. Obama said. “That’s not who we are as a country. We’re better than that.”…
    “Finding savings in our domestic spending only gets you so far. We’re also going to have to find savings in places like the defense budget,” Mr. Obama said, drawing the first burst of applause from the college students — a target audience for the president’s re-election hopes.
    He added, “And I know this is near and dear to your hearts — we’re not going to reduce our deficit by cutting education and eliminating college scholarships. In a world where our students face stiff competition from students from other countries, why would we make it harder for you to compete?”…
    “I’m not going to sign up for that,” Mr. Obama vowed. “Having said that, we are going to have to reform Medicare and our entire health-care system in order to improve quality for the amount of money that we spend.”…. – NYT, 4-19-11
  • Plane carrying Michelle Obama aborts landing because of controller error: A White House plane carrying Michelle Obama came dangerously close to a 200-ton military cargo jet and had to abort its landing at Andrews Air Force Base on Monday as the result of an air traffic controller’s mistake, according to federal officials familiar with the incident. Ultimately, controllers at Andrews feared that the cargo jet was not moving quickly enough to clear the runway in time for the White House plane to land, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak for their agencies.
    Officials with the Federal Aviation Administration confirmed Tuesday that the first lady was aboard the plane and said that “the aircraft were never in any danger.” The White House referred all questions to the FAA…. – WaPo, 4-19-11
  • Immigration Is Lead Topic as Leaders Are Gathered: President Obama told a gathering of business, labor, religious and political leaders at the White House on Tuesday that he remains committed to an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws and wants to try again in the coming months to push Congress to pass a bill. With his re-election campaign launched this month and Latino communities growing increasingly frustrated with his immigration policies, Mr. Obama summoned more than 60 high-profile supporters of the stalled overhaul legislation to a strategy session, looking for ways to revive it. Among those attending were Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York, an independent; Mayor Julian Castro of San Antonio, a Democrat; and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, a Republican…. – NYT, 4-19-11
  • Obama to hold meeting on immigration reform: President Barack Obama, under fire for not taking on immigration reform yet, has marshaled a high-profile meeting in an attempt to show wide and varied support for an overhaul of America’s immigration laws. The invitees are among a bipartisan group expected to meet with President Barack Obama at the White House Tuesday afternoon to discuss revamping the immigration system…. AP, 4-18-11
  • Obama, Panama’s president to meet April 28: The White House says President Barack Obama and Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli will meet for the first time later this month…. – AP, 4-18-11
  • Work begins on new SC school featured by Obama: Construction is starting on a new school in South Carolina more than two years after a student wrote Congress about the decrepit conditions at her school…. – AP, 4-18-11
  • Pentagon inquiry clears McChrystal of wrongdoing: A Pentagon inquiry into a Rolling Stone magazine profile of Gen. Stanley McChrystal that led to his dismissal as the top US commander in Afghanistan has cleared him of wrongdoing. The probe’s results released Monday also called into question the accuracy of the magazine’s report last June, which quoted anonymously people around McChrystal making disparaging remarks about members of President Barack Obama’s national security team, including Vice President Joe Biden.
    At the time he dismissed McChrystal, Obama said the general had fallen short of “the standard that should be set by a commanding general.” The Defense Department inspector general’s report, however, concluded that available evidence did not support the conclusion that McChrystal had violated any applicable legal or ethics standard…. – AP, 4-18-11
  • Obama extends Passover greetings to Netanyahu: The White House says President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed cooperation on counterterrorism, the Middle East peace process and violence in the Gaza Strip during a telephone conversation Monday…. – AP, 4-18-11
  • Obama to award trophy to AF Academy football team: President Barack Obama meets with some of the troops Monday, but not the usual kind or for the usual reasons. Obama will present the Commander-in-Chief Trophy to the Air Force Academy football team in the Rose Garden. The Falcons won the trophy in early November by beating West Point, 42-22…. – AP, 4-18-11
  • Congress Can’t Kill Advisory Posts, Obama Declares in Signing Statement: President Obama is refusing to eliminate several “czars” who were cut in the fiscal 2011 spending bill, calling the provision a violation of the separation of powers. When Congress unveiled its budget compromise last week, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) touted the provision as the elimination of “four of the Obama Administration’s controversial czars.” Among the cut czars was the assistant to the president for energy and climate change, a position that was held by Carol Browner until she stepped down in January. But in a signing statement Friday, Obama argued that lawmakers had overstepped their authority. “The President has well-established authority to supervise and oversee the executive branch, and to obtain advice in furtherance of this supervisory authority,” Obama wrote. “The President also has the prerogative to obtain advice that will assist him in carrying out his constitutional responsibilities, and do so not only from executive branch officials and employees outside the White House, but also from advisers within it.”…. – NYT, 4-18-11
  • Obamas report $1.7 mn in income for 2010: US President Barack Obama and his wife earned $1.7 million last year, a significant drop from the prior year as sales of the president’s books slowed, according to tax documents released Monday. The president and Michelle Obama reported 2010 adjusted gross income of $1,728,096, down from $5.5 million in 2009.
    While the salary for US president is $395,000 annually, “the vast majority of the family’s income is the proceeds from the sale of the president’s books,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement. Obama earned $1.38 million in 2010 from sales of his books, “The Audacity of Hope,” “Dreams From My Father,” and “Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters.” That’s down from nearly $5.2 million in books’ revenue from 2009…. – AFP, 4-18-11
  • Job cuts for poor seniors could up homelessness: Under the Department of Labor’s Senior Community Service Employment Program, more than 75,000 elderly Americans living in poverty in all 50 states earn their keep by the slimmest of margins. To qualify, participants must be over 55 and earning less than 125 percent of the federal poverty level — $13,600 a year.
    In the budget bill signed Friday by President Barack Obama, the program was slashed by 45 percent, from $825 million to $450 million a year. Advocates say it could mean as many as 58,000 fewer jobs if states or national groups are forced to discontinue the program because of the reductions…. – AP, 4-17-11

112TH CONGRESS

  • Boehner: DOJ funds should pay to defend marriage: House Speaker John Boehner says the Justice Department should reimburse the House for court costs of defending a ban on gay marriage. In a letter Monday to Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, the Ohio Republican says he shares her concern over the cost of defending the law in court and intends to “redirect” some of the department’s money to the House as repayment…. – AP, 4-18-11

COURT AND LEGAL NEWS:

  • Firm hired by GOP ends work on gay marriage ban: A prominent law firm hired by Republican lawmakers to defend the federal ban on gay marriage said Monday it was withdrawing from the case amid criticism by advocacy groups, prompting the partner leading the work to quit.
    The move by Atlanta-based King & Spalding is the latest flashpoint in the public debate over gay rights. Chairman Robert Hays Jr. said the firm chose to divorce itself from the controversy after determining that the decision to take the case wasn’t vetted properly, but gay rights groups had also been pressuring the 800-lawyer company with plans for a protest Tuesday in Atlanta and with calls to its other clients. The groups cheered the move.
    The decision, however, was sharply criticized by conservative groups, legal observers and the partner who had been handling the case, a former high-ranking Justice Department official under President George W. Bush. Washington-based attorney Paul Clement said he’s moving to another law office so he can continue the work…. – AP, 4-25-11
  • High court rejects quick review of health care law: The Supreme Court rejected a call Monday from Virginia’s attorney general to depart from its usual practice and put review of the health care law on a fast track. Instead, judicial review of President Barack Obama’s signature legislation will continue in federal appeals courts. The justices turned down a request by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a leading opponent of the law, to resolve questions about its constitutionality quickly. The Obama administration opposed Cuccinelli’s plea. Only rarely, in wartime or a constitutional crisis, does the court step into a legal fight before the issues are aired in appellate courts. Hearings already are scheduled in May and June in three appeals courts. The case still could reach the high court in time for a decision by early summer 2012…. – AP, 4-25-11
  • Who’s at fault? Court battle looms over oil spill: BP said in its lawsuit filed in federal court in New Orleans that Cameron International provided a blowout preventer with a faulty design, alleging that negligence by the manufacturer helped cause the disaster. The lawsuit seeks damages to help BP pay for the tens of billions of dollars in liabilities it has incurred from the disaster.
    It also was seeking $40 billion from rig owner Transocean, accusing it of causing last year’s deadly blowout in the Gulf of Mexico that led to the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. BP says every single safety system and device and well control procedure on the Deepwater Horizon rig failed.
    The lawsuit against Cameron said the blowout preventer “was unreasonably dangerous, and has caused and continues to cause harm, loss, injuries, and damages.”… – AP, 4-21-11
  • SUPREME COURT NOTEBOOK: Kagan absences no big deal: Justice Elena Kagan’s leather-backed chair was empty this week for the 26th and final time this term while the other Supreme Court justices listened to arguments in an obscure dispute between the government and an Indian tribe. When President Barack Obama nominated Kagan for the Supreme Court last year, some court observers worried that her work as solicitor general would force her from enough cases to pose a serious problem for the high court.
    After all, there is nothing worse for a petitioner than a meaningless 4-4 vote after expending all the effort that goes into winning a precious spot on the court’s calendar and presenting arguments to the justices. Tie votes leave the lower court ruling in place but set no national precedent. So far, though, Kagan’s absence has been important only once in 19 cases the court has decided without her. A lawsuit about Costco’s sale of Swiss-made Omega watches at a steep discount ended up 4-4, leaving unresolved an issue about rules that apply to so-called gray market goods that are purchased abroad, then imported and resold without the permission of the manufacturer…. – AP, 4-21-11
  • High court takes no action on Va. health care case: The Supreme Court has taken no action on Virginia’s call for speedy review of the health care law. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is asking the court to resolve questions about the law quickly, without the usual consideration by federal appellate judges and over the objection of the Obama administration…. – AP, 4-18-11

STATE & LOCAL POLITICS

  • Arizona gov.: Birther issue ‘path of destruction’: Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer says the so-called “birther” issue is a potentially destructive issue for the U.S. Brewer was interviewed on CNN on Monday about her decision a week ago to veto an Arizona bill that would have required President Barack Obama and other presidential candidates to prove their natural-born citizenship…. – AP, 4-25-11
  • Ariz. governor’s vetoes of GOP bills lift eyebrows: Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s vetoes of a half-dozen bills sponsored by fellow Republicans are raising eyebrows, with some conservatives questioning whether she is still one of them. Never mind that she has signed more than 200 other bills from the GOP-led Legislature. They wanted her to OK bills on school choice and religious rights, among others, as well as one that would have made the state the first to require presidential candidates to prove their natural born citizenship to get on the ballot…. – AP, 4-20-11
  • Why Arizona governor vetoed gun law and ‘birther bill,’ irking the right: Jan Brewer, Arizona governor, surprised conservatives by vetoing a bill to allow guns onto college campuses and a ‘birther bill’ to require certain proofs of US citizenship for presidential candidates…. – CS Monitor, 4-19-11
  • Obama as a chimp? E-mail gives California GOP problems it didn’t need: The California GOP had a historically bad election in 2010, partly because it has trouble connecting with immigrants and minorities. An e-mail from a local Republican official touting the ‘birther’ conspiracy and showing Obama as a chimp won’t help…. – CS Monitor, 4-19-11
  • Chicago Mayor-elect Emanuel names schools chief: Chicago Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel on Monday picked Rochester, N.Y., schools superintendent Jean-Claude Brizard to be the new Chicago Public Schools chief, selecting a leader who recently earned a no-confidence vote from his local teachers but someone Emanuel praised as not being afraid of “tough choices.”
    “And that is what Chicago students need today,” Emanuel said of Brizard, whom he called “J.C.” while introducing him at a press conference at a nearly empty Chicago high school because students are on spring break. Chicago is the nation’s third-largest district with more than 400,000 students and 675 schools… – AP, 4-18-11
  • Republican legislative gains tug nation to right: In state after state, Republicans are moving swiftly past blunted Democratic opposition to turn a conservative wish-list into law. Their successes, spurred by big election gains in November, go well beyond the spending cuts forced on states by the fiscal crunch and tea party agitation. Republican governors and state legislators are bringing abortion restrictions into effect from Virginia to Arizona, expanding gun rights north and south, pushing polling-station photo ID laws that are anathema to Democrats and taking on public sector unions anywhere they can…. – AP, 4-18-11

ELECTIONS — PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 2012….

  • Barbour out, GOP ponders as 2012 field takes shape: Republican Gov. Haley Barbour bowed out of presidential contention Monday with a surprise announcement just as the 2012 campaign was getting under way in earnest, 18 months before Election Day. The Mississippi governor said he lacked the necessary “absolute fire in the belly” to run.
    Barbour’s declaration, unexpected because he had been laying the groundwork for a campaign for months, thins a Republican cluster of no less than a dozen potential candidates to take on Democratic President Barack Obama.
    With the GOP campaign’s first debate scheduled for next week, the muddy Republican field will become clearer very soon as more potential contenders announce whether they’ll run or sit out. Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who lost in 2008 and is a favorite of libertarians as well as tea partyers, is planning to take a step toward a second bid on Tuesday. The next facing a self-imposed deadline of this weekend, is Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, a Barbour friend and a fiscal conservative who has shined a spotlight on rising budget deficits and national debt…. – AP, 4-25-11
  • Trump: Obama wasn’t qualified for Ivy League: Real estate mogul Donald Trump suggested in an interview Monday that President Barack Obama had been a poor student who did not deserve to be admitted to the Ivy League universities he attended. Trump, who is mulling a bid for the Republican presidential nomination, offered no proof for his claim but said he would continue to press the matter as he has the legitimacy of the president’s birth certificate.
    “I heard he was a terrible student, terrible. How does a bad student go to Columbia and then to Harvard?” Trump said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I’m thinking about it, I’m certainly looking into it. Let him show his records.”
    “I have friends who have smart sons with great marks, great boards, great everything and they can’t get into Harvard,” Trump said. “We don’t know a thing about this guy. There are a lot of questions that are unanswered about our president.”… – AP, 4-25-11
  • Sen. Nelson faces tough race in Republican region: The last time Sen. Ben Nelson ran for re-election, in 2006, Democrats held four of the six Senate seats representing the 650 miles of plains from Nebraska north to the Canadian border.
    If the Nebraska senator’s political fortunes don’t change, soon there will be just one.
    As Nelson quietly prepares for his 2012 re-election campaign, he is doing so in a region that is trending away from him. As recently as 2004, the Great Plains wasn’t just a place where Democrats could win — it was a power center, led by then Majority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota. Today, the region is tilting toward the GOP…. – AP, 4-25-11
  • Ill housing markets trump ideology for many in GOP: Shutting down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should fit seamlessly into the Republican drive to shrink government. After all, keeping the ailing mortgage giants afloat has cost taxpayers $150 billion and many in both parties want private lenders to finance a bigger share of the nation’s $11.3 trillion residential mortgage market.
    But House and Senate Republicans pushing bills to phase out both federally run companies are learning how fear, politics and old-fashioned lobbying can trump ideology…. – AP, 4-25-11
  • NH GOP primary not just a Republican party: At fundraising dinner after dinner, state Republican Party Chairman Jack Kimball earns loud applause when he declares that New Hampshire will send forward “a good strong conservative nominee for the presidency of the United States.” But it won’t be just Republicans who pick a winner in the first-in-the-nation presidential primary next year. Independent voters, who make up nearly 42 percent of registered voters in the state, can participate in either party’s primary. And, given that President Barack Obama has no serious Democratic challenger, most independents are expected to cast ballots in the GOP race next February, unlike in the last presidential campaign…. – AP, 4-25-11
  • Bloomberg noncommittal on Trump presidential talk: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg calls real estate tycoon Donald Trump a friend and says “anybody can run for president if you’re 35 and an American citizen.” Bloomberg tells “Fox News Sunday” that Trump is “a New York icon.” But the mayor is shying away from talking up Trump’s flirtation with the presidency…. – AP, 4-24-11
  • Spring brings fundraising frenzy for GOP hopefuls: Mitt Romney is organizing a phone bank fundraiser in Las Vegas next month. Tim Pawlenty is holding regular “friendraising” meetings in big-money California and elsewhere. Haley Barbour hunkers down soon with finance operatives in cash-rich New York and other lucrative places.
    Republican presidential hopefuls are in the midst of a fundraising frenzy as they seek to raise campaign cash and assemble influential donor networks.
    As the 2012 campaign ramps up, the contenders are under pressure to show they can bring in the dough before the slower summer season begins. “Money is hardly the only indication of a candidate’s potential, but it’s an important indication,” said Lew Eisenberg, a Romney fundraiser…. – AP, 4-24-11
  • Costly gasoline clouds Obama re-election prospects: With gas prices climbing and little relief in sight, President Barack Obama is scrambling to get ahead of the latest potential obstacle to his re-election bid, even as Republicans are making plans to exploit the issue. No one seems more aware of the electoral peril than Obama himself.
    “My poll numbers go up and down depending on the latest crisis, and right now gas prices are weighing heavily on people,” he told Democratic donors in Los Angeles this past week…. – AP, 4-23-11
  • GOP’s Pawlenty wants US ambassador out of Syria: Potential GOP presidential contender Tim Pawlenty wants the U.S. to recall its ambassador to Syria and seek economic sanctions to send “a clear and strong signal” opposing the nation’s violent crackdown on demonstrators. In a written statement Friday, the former Minnesota governor also pressed President Barack Obama to seek a formal condemnation from the United Nations Security Council…. – AP, 4-23-11
  • Beck suggests Huckabee too ‘thin-skinned’ for 2012: Glenn Beck is offering some unsolicited advice to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee: Skip the 2012 presidential race if you can’t take some political punches. In an ongoing feud between the two Fox News Channel hosts, Beck suggested during his radio show Friday that Huckabee is too “thin skinned.” He also criticized the former governor’s record on taxes and executive clemency…. – AP, 4-23-11
  • NM ex-gov. Johnson announces presidential bid: Highlighting his background as both a governor and outdoor adventurer, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson announced his presidential campaign outside the New Hampshire Statehouse on Thursday before heading for a mountain known as the birthplace of extreme skiing.
    Johnson, a Republican, acknowledged that he is virtually unknown in New Hampshire and other key primary states but said he won’t be outworked when it comes to retail politics. “I have to do, and want to do, really well in New Hampshire,” he said. “So I’m going to spend a lot of time in New Hampshire, where you can go from obscurity to prominence overnight with a good showing in New Hampshire.”…. – AP, 4-21-11
  • Iowa activists not sold on Trump caucus campaign: Donald Trump says he would embrace the rigors of campaigning in Iowa if he decides to run for president, but Iowa Republican leaders say they doubt the celebrity businessman really knows what it takes to compete in the state’s presidential caucuses and wonder if he would commit the time and effort needed.
    Although some state Republican Party leaders have welcomed the attention Trump’s presidential ideas have brought to the 2012 race and look forward to a giant fundraising dinner he will keynote in June, they also express skepticism about him as a candidate that borders on contempt.
    “‘The Donald’ will be wherever the cameras are, and nowhere else,” said Doug Gross, a Des Moines Republican and longtime confidant of GOP Gov. Terry Branstad…. – AP, 4-22-11
  • Huckabee criticizes Beck for ‘progressive’ claim: Mike Huckabee is criticizing fellow Fox News Channel host Glenn Beck for calling the former Arkansas governor and potential presidential candidate a “progressive.” Huckabee released a statement Thursday criticizing Beck for calling him a “progressive” on his radio show earlier this week. Beck on Tuesday described Huckabee as someone who doesn’t want to “disrupt giant government” and noted Huckabee’s defense of first lady Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity efforts…. – AP, 4-21-11
  • Dems: Sanchez likely to run for Texas Sen. seat: Democratic officials said Monday that retired Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez is expected to run for the U.S. Senate in Texas, giving Democrats a high-profile recruit to fill the seat being vacated by GOP Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison…. – AP, 4-18-11

QUOTES

White House Photo, Lawrence Jackson, 4/20/11
  • Brad Watson’s Interview with President ObamaWFAA, 4-19-11
  • Weekly Address: Stopping Oil Market Fraud, Beginning a Clean Energy Future Remarks of President Barack Obama Weekly Address on Gas Prices Saturday, April 23, 2011 Washington, DC: This is a time of year when people get together with family and friends to observe Passover and to celebrate Easter. It’s a chance to give thanks for our blessings and reaffirm our faith, while spending time with the people we love. We all know how important that is – especially in hard times. And that’s what a lot of people are facing these days.
    Even though the economy is growing again and we’ve seen businesses adding jobs over the past year, many are still looking for work. And even if you haven’t faced a job loss, it’s still not easy out there. Your paycheck isn’t getting bigger, while the cost of everything from college for your kids to gas for your car keeps rising. That’s something on a lot of people’s minds right now, with gas prices at $4 a gallon. It’s just another burden when things were already pretty tough.
    Now, whenever gas prices shoot up, like clockwork, you see politicians racing to the cameras, waving three-point plans for two dollar gas. You see people trying to grab headlines or score a few points. The truth is, there’s no silver bullet that can bring down gas prices right away.
    But there are a few things we can do. This includes safe and responsible production of oil at home, which we are pursuing. In fact, last year, American oil production reached its highest level since 2003. On Thursday, my Attorney General also launched a task force with just one job: rooting out cases of fraud or manipulation in the oil markets that might affect gas prices, including any illegal activity by traders and speculators. We’re going to make sure that no one is taking advantage of the American people for their own short-term gain. And another step we need to take is to finally end the $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies we give to the oil and gas companies each year. That’s $4 billion of your money going to these companies when they’re making record profits and you’re paying near record prices at the pump. It has to stop.
    Instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy sources, we need to invest in tomorrow’s. We need to invest in clean, renewable energy. In the long term, that’s the answer. That’s the key to helping families at the pump and reducing our dependence on foreign oil. We can see that promise already. Thanks to an historic agreement we secured with all the major auto companies, we’re raising the fuel economy of cars and trucks in America, using hybrid technology and other advances. As a result, if you buy a new car in the next few years, the better gas mileage is going to save you about $3,000 at the pump.
    But we need to do more. We need to harness the potential I’ve seen at promising start-ups and innovative clean energy companies across America. And that’s at the heart of a debate we’re having right now in Washington about the budget.
    Both Democrats and Republicans believe we need to reduce the deficit. That’s where we agree. The question we’re debating is how we do it. I’ve proposed a balanced approach that cuts spending while still investing in things like education and clean energy that are so critical to creating jobs and opportunities for the middle class. It’s a simple idea: we need to live within our means while at the same time investing in our future.
    That’s why I disagree so strongly with a proposal in Congress that cuts our investments in clean energy by 70 percent. Yes, we have to get rid of wasteful spending – and make no mistake, we’re going through every line of the budget scouring for savings. But we can do that without sacrificing our future. We can do that while still investing in the technologies that will create jobs and allow the United States to lead the world in new industries. That’s how we’ll not only reduce the deficit, but also lower our dependence on foreign oil, grow the economy, and leave for our children a safer planet. And that’s what our mission has to be. – WH, 4-23-11TranscriptMp4Mp3

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

  • Obama, Modern Presidents Are Too Powerful Authors contend the presidency has become too powerful for courts or Congress to restrain: As any history student knows, the Founding Fathers envisioned a president with strong executive power, but one also kept in check by Congress and the Supreme Court. In The Executive Unbound: After the Madisonian Republic, University of Chicago law professor Eric Posner and Harvard University law professor Adrian Vermeule contend that the presidency has become too powerful for the courts or lawmakers to restrain. Using the September 11 terrorist attacks and the 2008 financial crisis as examples, the authors argue that the courts are too slow and Congress is too divided to provide real oversight for the White House. Instead of those traditional checks, Posner and Vermeule say the main constraint on the president is now political—the fear his party will lose the next election. Posner recently spoke with U.S. News about the modern presidency and how it has affected the first two years of the Obama administration…. – US News, 4-22-11
  • Julian E. Zelizer: Obama takes on risky topic of taxes: After spending two years on health care, President Barack Obama is about to take up another Herculean political challenge: taxes.
    In response to the Republican plans to cut spending, Obama is pushing a proposal of his own, which will include loophole-closing tax reform and increasing taxes on the wealthy. In his speech at George Washington University, the president said:
    “I say that at a time when the tax burden on the wealthy is at its lowest level in half a century, the most fortunate among us can afford to pay a little more. ”
    By injecting taxes into the mix, Obama enters into perilous territory. For decades, Democrats have mostly tried to avoid any proposals that increase taxes….
    Importantly, the shift of public debate toward deficit reduction offers Obama as much of an opportunity as a danger. The fact is that substantive deficit reduction won’t take place unless higher revenue is part of the package. Spending cuts alone won’t do the trick.
    But if Obama does not recalibrate his political strategy, he could weaken his own standing, as well as the standing of congressional Democrats, going into 2012. – CNN, 4-18-11
  • After budget battle Act 1, will Obama, Reid, Boehner have an Act 2?: Looming debt-ceiling talks may be a bigger hurdle for the three negotiators than the hard-fought deal on the 2011 budget. As for a deficit-cutting plan? Obama and Boehner are starting far apart.
    One hurdle may be that Democrats and Republicans emerge from Round 1 with different expectations for next steps. “There’s nothing inevitable about this [first budget] deal,” says Julian Zelizer, a congressional historian at Princeton University in New Jersey. “For Republicans, it’s a precedent to cut more. For Mr. Obama, it’s a precedent to think about something else besides spending cuts.”…
    “Republicans have insisted on spending cuts and deficit reduction, rather than reviving the economy, and with this speech [Obama] shifted to their ground,” says Mr. Zelizer. “This is a White House that feels that Republicans are powerful and have been successful in shifting the public to their issues.”… – CS Monitor, 4-18-11
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