Political Musings November 12, 2013: Obama honors America’s veterans at national Veterans Day ceremony

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Obama honors America’s veterans at national Veterans Day ceremony

By Bonnie K. Goodman

President Barack Obama guaranteed to “never forget” America’s veterans in his Veterans Day address delivered on Monday, Nov. 11, 2013 in a ceremony marking the day at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. The ceremony was also…READ MORE
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Full Text Obama Presidency November 11, 2013: President Barack Obama’s on Veterans Day

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President on Veterans Day

Source: WH, 11-11-13

President Obama Honors Veterans

President Obama Honors Veterans

Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington, Virginia

11:35 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Please be seated.  Good morning, everyone.

Thank you, Secretary Shinseki, for your lifetime of service to our nation, and for being a tireless advocate on behalf of America’s veterans, including your fellow Vietnam veterans.  To Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden; Secretaries Hagel and Perez; Admiral Winnefeld; Major General Buchanan; most of all, to our outstanding veteran service organizations; our men and women in uniform; and to the proud veterans and family members joining us in this sacred place — Michelle and I are incredibly honored to be with you all here today again.

To the Gold Star families, and the brothers- and sisters-in-arms who walk the paths of these hallowed grounds and the cemeteries around the world, we join you as you remember your loved ones who wore America’s uniform.  And here at Arlington, and Section 60, we’ve ensured that you can continue to bring the small mementos of your love and affection to the final resting place of these American heroes.

Today, we gather once more to honor patriots who have rendered the highest service any American can offer this nation  — those who fought for our freedom and stood sentry for our security.  On this hillside of solemn remembrance and in veterans’ halls and in proud parades across America, we join as one people to honor a debt we can never fully repay.

In the life of our nation, across every generation, there are those who stand apart.  They step up, they raise their hands, they take that oath.  They put on the uniform and they put their lives on the line.  They do this so that the rest of us might live in a country and a world that is safer, freer, and more just.  This is the gift they’ve given us.  This is the debt that we owe them.

They fought on a green at Lexington so that we could make independent the country they imagined.  They fought on the fields of Gettysburg so that we could make whole a nation torn asunder.  They fought on the beaches of Europe and across Pacific islands.  And from their sacrifice we emerged the strongest and most prosperous nation in the history of the world.  And this year, as we mark the 60th anniversary of the end of the fighting in Korea, we pay special tribute to all those who served in the Korean War.

From the jungles of Vietnam to Desert Storm to the mountains of the Balkans, they have answered America’s call.  And since America was attacked on that clear September morning, millions more have assumed that mantle, defining one of the greatest generations of military service this country has ever produced.

On tour after tour after tour, in Iraq and Afghanistan, this generation — the 9/11 Generation — has met every mission we have asked of them.  And today we can say that because of their heroic service, the core of al Qaeda is on the path to defeat, our nation is more secure, and our homeland is safer.

They’re men and women like the soldier — and soon to be veteran — I met a few months ago, Jacare Hogan.  Jacare deployed to Iraq twice, and she survived not one, but two –- excuse me, three separate IED explosions.  And when she was well enough, she deployed again, this time to Afghanistan, where she was often the only woman at our forward operating bases.  She proudly wears the Combat Action Badge.  And today, Jacare is committed to helping other wounded warriors recover from the trials of war.  “Helping the troops,” she says, “is what I’m all about.”  My fellow Americans, that’s what we should be all about.

Our work is more urgent than ever, because this chapter of war is coming to an end.  Soon, one of the first Marines to arrive in Afghanistan 12 years ago — Brigadier General Daniel Yoo — will lead his Camp Pendleton Marines as they become one of the last major groups of Marines to deploy in this war.  And over the coming months, more of our troops will come home.  This winter, our troop levels in Afghanistan will be down to 34,000.  And by this time next year, the transition to Afghan-led security will be nearly complete.  The longest war in American history will end.  (Applause.)

As is true after every conflict, there is a risk that the devoted service of our veterans could fade from the forefront of our minds; that we might turn to other things.  But part of the reason we’re here today is to pledge that we will never forget the profound sacrifices that are made in our name.  Today reminds us of our sacred obligations.  For even though this time of war is coming to a close, our time of service to our newest veterans has only just begun.

Think about it:  Our troops wear the uniform for a time, yet they wear another proud title, the title of “veteran,” for decades — for the rest of their lives.  As a nation, we make sure we have the best-led, best-trained, best-equipped military in the world.  We have to devote just as much energy and passion to making sure we have the best-cared for, best-treated, best-respected veterans in the world.  (Applause.)

So when we talk about fulfilling our promises to our veterans, we don’t just mean for a few years; we mean now, tomorrow, and forever — and not just for generations past, but for this generation of veterans and all who will follow.

And that’s why, as Commander-in-Chief, I’m going to keep making sure we’re providing unprecedented support to our veterans.  (Applause.)  Even as we make difficult fiscal choices as a nation, we’re going to keep making vital investments in our veterans.  We’re going to keep improving veterans’ health care, including mental health care so you can stay strong.  We’re making sure that veterans not covered by the VA can secure quality, affordable health insurance.

We’re going to keep reducing the claims backlog.  We’ve slashed it by a third since March, and we’re going to keep at it so you can get the benefits that you have earned and that you need, when you need them.  (Applause.)  We’re going to keep helping our newest veterans and their families pursue their education under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.  We just welcomed our one millionth student veteran, and we’re ready for all those who come next.

And we’re going to keep demanding that the rights and dignity of every veteran are upheld, including by pushing for the Disabilities Treaty so that our disabled veterans enjoy the same opportunities to travel and work and study around the world as everybody else.  (Applause.)  And with the help of Michelle and Dr. Jill Biden and Joining Forces, we’re going to keep fighting to give every veteran who has fought for America the chance to pursue the American Dream — a fair shot at the jobs and opportunity you need to help us rebuild and grow here at home.  Because you’re bringing home the skills and the work ethic and leadership necessary to start companies and serve your communities and take care of your fellow veterans.

And that’s our promise to you and all who have served:  to be there, to support you, when you come home — every step of the way.  And as a nation, we will strive to be worthy of the sacrifices that you’ve made.  That’s what we owe all our veterans.  That’s what we owe veterans like Richard Overton, who served in the Army in World War II.  He was there, at — (applause) — now, everybody, I want you to know a little something about Mr. Overton here.  He was there at Pearl Harbor, when the battleships were still smoldering.  He was there at Okinawa.  He was there at Iwo Jima, where he said, “I only got out of there by the grace of God.”

When the war ended, Richard headed home to Texas to a nation bitterly divided by race.  And his service on the battlefield was not always matched by the respect that he deserved at home.  But this veteran held his head high.  He carried on and lived his life with honor and dignity.  He built his wife a house with his own two hands.  He went back to work in the furniture business.  In time, he served as a courier in the Texas State Capitol, where he worked for four governors, and made more friends than most of us do in a lifetime.

And today, Richard still lives in the house that he built all those years ago.  He rakes his own lawn.  And every Sunday he hops in his 1971 Ford truck and drives one of the nice ladies in his neighborhood to church.  (Laughter and applause.)  This is the life of one American veteran — living proud and strong in the land he helped keep free.

And earlier this year, the great folks at Honor Flight Austin brought Richard to Washington, D.C. for the first time.  And he and his fellow veterans paid their respects at the World War II Memorial.  And then they visited the memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr.  And as Richard sat in a wheelchair beneath that great marble statue, he wept.  And the crowd that gathered around him wept, too, to see one of the oldest living veterans of World War II bear witness to a day — to the progress of a nation — he thought might never come.

Richard Overton, this American veteran, is 107 years old.  (Applause.)  And we are honored that he’s here with us today.  So let’s ask Richard to stand again — because he can stand.  (Applause.)

And this is how we’ll be judged.  Not just by how well we care for our troops in battle, but how we treat them when they come home — and by the America we build together; by what we do with the security and peace that they have helped grant us; by the progress that allows citizens from Richard Overton to Jacare Hogan to play their part in the American story.

Today, our message to all those who have ever worn the uniform of this nation is this:  We will stand by your side, whether you’re seven days out or, like Richard, seventy years out.  Because here in America, we take care of our own.  We honor the sacrifice that has been made in our name, for this nation that we love.  And we commit ourselves to standing by these veterans and their families, for as long as we’re blessed to walk this Earth.

God bless you all.  God bless our veterans.  God bless our men and women in uniform.  And God bless these United States of America.  (Applause.)  Thank you.

END                11:50 A.M. EST

 

Political Headlines November 11, 2012: President Barack Obama Marks Veterans Day at Arlington National Cemetery

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

President Obama Marks Veterans Day at Arlington National Cemetery

Source: ABC News Radio, 11-11-12

Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images

Honoring the nation’s military “heroes over the generations, who have served this country of ours with distinction,” President Barack Obama today participated in Veterans Day ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery.

After laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns, the president spoke on the grounds’ memorial amphitheater to tell assembled military and their families that Nov. 11 would forever belong to them and, “every service member who has ever worn our nation’s uniform.”

“On behalf of the American people, I say to you that the memory of your loved one carries on not just in your hearts, but in ours as well.  And I assure you that their sacrifice will never be forgotten,” he said. “For it is in that sacrifice that we see the enduring spirit of America.  Since even before our founding, we have been blessed with an unbroken chain of patriots who have always come forward to serve.”…READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency November 11, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech Honoring Veterans at Arlington National Cemetery

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Honors Veterans at Arlington National Cemetery

Source: WH, 11-11-12

President Obama at Arlington National CemeteryPresident Barack Obama delivers Veterans Day remarks at the Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Nov. 11, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Today is Veterans Day, and President Obama, Vice President Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden travelled to Arlington National Cemetery to honor our nation’s fallen warriors, veterans and military families. Before President Obama gave remarks, they laid a wreath to “remember every service member who has ever worn our nation’s uniform.”

The President discussed our sacred duty to care for our men and women in uniform and their families, even after their military service has concluded.

So long after the battles end, long after our heroes come home, we stay by their side.  That’s who we are.  And that’s who we’ll be for today’s returning service members and their families.  Because no one who fights for this country overseas should ever have to fight for a job, or a roof over their head, or the care that they have earned when they come home.

We know the most urgent task many of you face is finding a new way to serve.  That’s why we’ve made it a priority to help you find jobs worthy of your incredible skills and talents.  That’s why, thanks to the hard work of Michelle and Jill Biden, some of our most patriotic businesses have hired or trained 125,000 veterans and military spouses.  It’s why we’re transforming, for the first time in decades, how the military transitions service members from the battlefield to the workplace.  And because you deserve to share in the opportunities you defend, we are making sure that the Post-9/11 GI Bill stays strong so you can earn a college education and pursue your dreams.

Vice President Biden, Dr. Biden, and the First Lady at ArlingtonVice President Joe Biden, Dr. Jill Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama applaud as President Barack Obama delivers Veterans Day remarks at the Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Nov. 11, 2012. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

He also relayed the story of Petty Officer Taylor Morris who served in the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team in Afghanistan. Six months ago, Petty Officer Morris was on patrol and stepped on an IED. The explosion cost him both legs, his left arm and his right hand. He is one of only five Americans treated at Walter Reed to survive the amputation of all four limbs. Despite his staggering injuries, Petty Officer Morris has made a remarkable recovery and in July, he came to the White House where President Obama presented him with a Purple Heart.

His story of recovery has been an inspiration for Americans across the country. As President Obama said:

In Taylor we see the best of America — a spirit that says, when we get knocked down, we rise again.  When times are tough, we come together.  When one of us falters, we lift them up.  In this country we take care of our own –- especially our veterans who have served so bravely and sacrificed so selflessly in our name.  And we carry on, knowing that our best days always lie ahead.

President Obama and Petty Office Taylor MorrisVice President Joe Biden watches as President Barack Obama is photographed with Petty Officer Taylor Morris in the Green Room of the White House, July 26, 2012. The President presented a Purple Heart to Morris, who was participating in a tour of the White House with other wounded warriors and their families. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Remarks by the President on Veterans Day

Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia

11:36 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you so much.  Please, everybody, be seated.  Good morning, everyone.

Thank you, Secretary Shinseki, for a lifetime of service to our nation, and for being such a tireless advocate on behalf of America’s veterans, including your fellow Vietnam veterans.

To Rick Delaney; to Vice President Biden; to Admiral Winnefeld; Major General Linnington; our outstanding veteran service organizations; our men and women in uniform –- Active, Guard and Reserve — and most of all, to the proud veterans and family members joining us in this sacred place, it is truly a privilege and an honor to be with all of you here today.

Each year, on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, we pause –- as a nation, and as a people –- to pay tribute to you.  To thank you.  To honor you, the heroes, over the generations, who have served this country of ours with distinction.

And moments ago, I laid a wreath to remember every service member who has ever worn our nation’s uniform.  And this day, first and foremost, belongs to them and their loved ones:  to the father and mother, the husband and wife, the brother and sister, the comrade and the friend who, when we leave here today, will continue to walk these quiet hills and kneel before the final resting place of those they cherished most.

On behalf of the American people, I say to you that the memory of your loved one carries on not just in your hearts, but in ours as well.  And I assure you that their sacrifice will never be forgotten.

For it is in that sacrifice that we see the enduring spirit of America.  Since even before our founding, we have been blessed with an unbroken chain of patriots who have always come forward to serve.  Whenever America has come under attack, you’ve risen to her defense.  Whenever our freedoms have come under assault, you’ve responded with resolve.  Time and again, at home and abroad, you and your families have sacrificed to protect that powerful promise that all of us hold so dear –- life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Today, a proud nation expresses our gratitude.  But we do so mindful that no ceremony or parade, no hug or handshake is enough to truly honor that service.  For that, we must do more.  For that, we must commit –- this day and every day -– to serving you as well as you’ve served us.

When I spoke here three years ago, I spoke about today’s generation of service members.  This 9/11 Generation who stepped forward after the towers fell, and in the years since, have stepped into history, writing one of the greatest chapters of military service our country has ever known.

You toppled a dictator and battled an insurgency in Iraq.  You pushed back the Taliban and decimated al Qaeda in Afghanistan.  You delivered justice to Osama bin Laden.  Tour after tour, year after year, you and your families have done all that this country has asked –- you’ve done that and more.

Three years ago, I promised your generation that when your tour comes to an end, when you see our flag, when you touch our soil, you’ll be welcomed home to an America that will forever fight for you, just as hard as you’ve fought for us.  And so long as I have the honor of serving as your Commander-in-Chief, that is the promise that we will never stop working to keep.

This is the first Veterans Day in a decade in which there are no American troops fighting and dying in Iraq.  (Applause.)  Thirty-three thousand of our troops have now returned from Afghanistan, and the transition there is underway.  After a decade of war, our heroes are coming home.  And over the next few years, more than a million service members will transition back to civilian life.  They’ll take off their uniforms and take on a new and lasting role.  They will be veterans.

As they come home, it falls to us, their fellow citizens, to be there for them and their families — not just now but always; not just for the first few years, but for as long as they walk this Earth.

To this day, we still care for a child of a Civil War veteran.  To this day, we still care for over a hundred spouses and children of the men who fought in the Spanish-American War.  Just last year, I came here to pay tribute as Frank Buckles, the last remaining American veteran of World War I, was laid to rest.  Frank stepped up and served in World War I for two years.  But the United States of America kept its commitment to serve him for many decades that followed.

So long after the battles end, long after our heroes come home, we stay by their side.  That’s who we are.  And that’s who we’ll be for today’s returning service members and their families.  Because no one who fights for this country overseas should ever have to fight for a job, or a roof over their head, or the care that they have earned when they come home.  (Applause.)

We know the most urgent task many of you face is finding a new way to serve.  That’s why we’ve made it a priority to help you find jobs worthy of your incredible skills and talents.  That’s why, thanks to the hard work of Michelle and Jill Biden, some of our most patriotic businesses have hired or trained 125,000 veterans and military spouses.  It’s why we’re transforming, for the first time in decades, how the military transitions service members from the battlefield to the workplace.  And because you deserve to share in the opportunities you defend, we are making sure that the Post-9/11 GI Bill stays strong so you can earn a college education and pursue your dreams.  (Applause.)

If you find yourself struggling with the wounds of war –- such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or Traumatic Brain Injuries -– we’ll be there as well, with the care and treatment you need.  No veteran should have to wait months or years for the benefits that you’ve earned, so we will continue to attack the claims backlog.  We won’t let up.  We will not let up.  (Applause.)  And as we mark the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, we have secured new disability benefits for Vietnam-era veterans exposed to Agent Orange.  You needed it, you fought for it, and we got it done.  (Applause.)

That’s what we do in America.  We take care of our own.  We take care of our veterans.  We take care of your families.  Not just by saluting you on one day, once a year, but by fighting for you and your families every day of every year.  That’s our obligation –- a sacred obligation –- to all of you.

And it’s an obligation that we gladly accept for Americans like Petty Officer Taylor Morris.   Six months ago, Taylor was serving our nation in Afghanistan.  And as a member of an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team, his job was one of the most dangerous there is:  to lead the way through territory littered with hidden explosives; to clear the way for his brothers-in-arms.

On May 3rd, while out on patrol, Taylor stepped on an IED.  The blast threw him into the air.  And when he hit the ground, Taylor realized that both his legs were gone.  And his left arm.  And his right hand.

But as Taylor lay there, fully conscious, bleeding to death, he cautioned the medics to wait before rushing his way.  He feared another IED was nearby.  Taylor’s concern wasn’t for his own life; it was for theirs.

Eventually, they cleared the area.  They tended to Taylor’s wounds.  They carried him off the battlefield.  And days later, Taylor was carried into Walter Reed, where he became only the fifth American treated there to survive the amputation of all four limbs.

Now, Taylor’s recovery has been long.  And it has been arduous.  And it’s captivated the nation.  A few months after the attack, with the help of prosthetics, the love and support of his family, and above all his girlfriend Danielle, who never left his side, Taylor wasn’t just walking again.  In a video that went viral, the world watched he and Danielle dance again.

I’ve often said the most humbling part of my job is serving as Commander-in-Chief.  And one of the reasons is that, every day, I get to meet heroes. I met Taylor at Walter Reed.  And then in July, at the White House, I presented him with the Purple Heart.  And right now, hanging on a wall in the West Wing is a photo of that day, a photo of Taylor Morris smiling wide and standing tall.

I should point out that Taylor couldn’t make it here today because he and Danielle are out kayaking.  (Laughter and applause.)  In Taylor we see the best of America — a spirit that says, when we get knocked down, we rise again.  When times are tough, we come together.  When one of us falters, we lift them up.  In this country we take care of our own –- especially our veterans who have served so bravely and sacrificed so selflessly in our name.  And we carry on, knowing that our best days always lie ahead.

On this day, we thank all of our veterans from all of our wars – not just for your service to this country, but for reminding us why America is and always will be the greatest nation on Earth.

God bless you.  God bless our veterans.  God bless our men and women in uniform.  And God bless these United States of America.  Thank you very much.

END                   11:48 A.M. EST

White House Recap November 12-18, 2011: The Obama Presidency’s Weekly Recap — President Obama Embarks on 9 Day Asia Pacific Tour to Hawaii, Australia & Indonesia

WHITE HOUSE RECAP

WHITE HOUSE RECAP: NOVEMBER 12-18, 2011

Weekly Wrap Up: Strengthening Relationships Abroad

Source: WH, 11-18-11
President Barack Obama Delivers Remarks

President Barack Obama delivers remarks honoring 60 years of the U.S. and Australian Alliance to a crowd of some 2000 soldiers and guests at the Royal Army Air Force Base in Darwin, Australia, Nov.17, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The President in the Pacific: President Obama embarked on a nine day Asia Pacific tour  focused on strengthening economic ties and renewing strategic relationships in the region. From November 11th  through November 19th, the President visited Hawaii, Australia, and Indonesia. While on the road, he spoke at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperationmet with Australian Prime Minister, addressed Australian Parliament, spoke with Australian troops and U.S. Marines, and attended the East Asia Summit.

Cleaner Air: The Obama Administration announced a joint proposal to save American families money at the pump, reduce our country’s dependence on oil, and boost domestic manufacturing. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced the next steps toward setting stronger fuel economy and greenhouse gas pollution standards for model year 2017-2025 passenger cars and light-duty trucks.

Cancer Awareness: President Obama congratulated those who participated in American Cancer Society’s 36th annual  Great American Smokeout, a challenge to smokers to kick their tobacco habit.  An estimated 443,000 people in the United States die each year due to cigarettes and tobacco use is still considered one of the leading causes of death in the U.S.  President Obama–a former smoker himself–and his Administration continue to make progress in reducing the number of Americans who smoke.

Carrier Classic: Over Veterans Day weekend, President Obama and the First Lady attended the first-ever Carrier Classic aboard the USS Carl Vinson where they watched University of North Carolina men’s basketball team defeat Michigan State. The game had more than 8,000 people in the stands – most of whom were servicemembers.

Full Text November 12, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address Honors America’s Military Veterans on Veterans Day

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama speaks from the USS Carl Vinson in San Diego during Veterans Day and calls on all Americans to rededicate themselves to serving our brave men and women in uniform as well as they have served us.

President Obama tapes the Weekly Address
President Obama tapes the Weekly Address, White House Photo, Pete Souza, 11/11/11

Weekly Address: Honoring Our Veterans for Their Service and Sacrifice

Source: WH, 11-12-11

President Obama speaks from the USS Carl Vinson in San Diego during Veterans Day and calls on all Americans to rededicate themselves to serving our brave men and women in uniform as well as they have served us.

Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

WEEKLY ADDRESS: Honoring our Veterans for their Service and Sacrifice

In this week’s address, President Obama spoke from the USS Carl Vinson in San Diego during Veterans Day, and he called on all Americans to rededicate themselves to serving our brave men and women in uniform as well as they have served us.  Today, there are more than 850,000 veterans unemployed, which is why the President issued a challenge to private companies to hire or train more than 100,000 post-9/11 veterans or their spouses by 2013, and he was pleased to see the Senate pass proposals in his American Jobs Act on Thursday to give businesses tax credits for hiring veterans.  President Obama told veterans that just as they have fought for us, he will continue to fight for jobs and opportunities for them, and that the United States will always honor their service and sacrifice.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
As Prepared for Delivery
San Diego, California
Saturday, November 12, 2011

I’m speaking to you from the bridge of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in San Diego.  This is one of the biggest ships in the Navy, and on Friday it was home to one of the most unique college basketball games I’ve ever seen.  It also gave members of our military and our veterans a chance to unwind a little bit, and on this Veterans Day, I want to take this opportunity to thank all our men and women in uniform for their service and their sacrifice.

But this day isn’t just about thanking our veterans.  It’s about rededicating ourselves to serving our veterans as well as they’ve served us.  And right now, that’s more important than ever.

Last month, I announced that, as promised, we will end the war in Iraq by the end of the year.  Many of our military families will be welcoming loved ones home for the holidays.  At the same time, we’ve begun to wind down the war in Afghanistan.  And in the next five years, over a million servicemembers will transition back into civilian life – joining the 3 million who have already done so over the last decade.

These are men and women who have served with distinction in some of the most dangerous places on the planet.  But for many of them, the challenges don’t end when they take off the uniform.  Today, more than 850,000 veterans remain unemployed.  And too many are struggling to find a job worthy of their talents and experience.

That’s not right.  We ask these men and women to leave their families and their jobs and risk their lives to fight for our country.  The last thing they should have to do is fight for a job when they get home.

To give our veterans the opportunities they’ve earned, I’ve directed the federal government to lead by example – and already, we’ve hired 120,000 veterans.  We’ve also challenged private companies to hire or train 100,000 post-9/11 veterans or their spouses by the end of 2013.  So far, many patriotic companies have answered the call, hiring more than 16,000 Americans.  And yesterday, thanks to the hard work of Michelle and Dr. Jill Biden, companies announced their commitment to train or hire 125,000 more over the next two years.

But we need to do more.  That’s why, as part of the American Jobs Act, I called on Congress to pass a Returning Heroes Tax Credit, which would give businesses a tax break for each unemployed veteran they hire; and a Wounded Warriors Tax Credit, which would give businesses a tax break for hiring an unemployed veteran with a disability related to their service in uniform.

These proposals will go a long way towards putting our veterans back to work.  And on Thursday, I was pleased to see the Senate put partisanship aside and come together to pass these tax credits.  After all, standing up for our veterans isn’t a Democratic responsibility or a Republican responsibility – it’s an American responsibility.  It’s one that all of us have an obligation to meet.  And the House should pass this bill as soon as possible so I can sign it into law.

As Commander-in-Chief, I want every veteran to know that America will always honor your service and your sacrifice – not just today, but every day.  And just as you fought for us, we’re going to keep fighting for you – for more jobs, for more security, for the opportunity to keep your families strong and America competitive in the 21st century.

So to all our veterans – thank you for your service.  God bless you.  And may God bless the United States of America.

White House Recap November 5-11, 2011: The Obama Presidency’s Weekly Recap — President Obama Honors America’s Military Veterans on Veterans Day & Introduces Initiatives Creating Jobs for Veterans

WHITE HOUSE RECAP

WHITE HOUSE RECAP: NOVEMBER 5-11, 2011

Weekly Wrap Up: Fighting for Our Veterans

This week, the President attends the G-20 Summit in France, announces actions to put veterans back to work, orders reforms of Head Start Programs, and signs an executive order that continues cuts in government waste.

West Wing Week

Source: WH, 11-11-11

Jobs for Veterans: President Obama on Monday announced the launch of a suite of new tools designed to help our veterans transition more easily into the workforce. The Veterans Job Bank, which will help put veterans in contact with companies that appreciate their skills and are eager to hire them, has more than 550,000 job postings from military-friendly employers and is continuing to grow. On Thursday, the First Lady joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to announce new private sector commitments to hire 100,000 veterans and military spouses by 2014. Later that day the Senate approved the Wounded Warrior and Returning Heroes tax credits, provisions of the American Jobs Act which will offer businesses a $9,600 tax credit for hiring disabled veterans and create additional incentives for employers who hire veterans who have spent four weeks or more out of work.

Honoring our Veterans: Friday morning President Obama honored the millions of Americans who have served in our nation’s military by laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. In his speech, the President highlighted the end to the war in Iraq and called for all Americans to support our veterans. “So on this Veterans Day, let us commit ourselves to keep making sure that our veterans receive the care and benefits that they have earned; the opportunity they defend and deserve; and above all, let us welcome them home as what they are — an integral, essential part of our American family.”

Head Start: President Obama announced historic reforms to the Head Start program that will require all Head Start grantees that fail to meet a new set of rigorous quality benchmarks to compete for continued federal funding. These changes are designed to ensure that all children in Head Start are attending top-notch programs that will help them reach their full potential.

Saving You Money: President Obama signed an Executive Order telling Federal agencies to cut their spending on travel, printing, and IT by 20 percent, which will save billions of dollars. This initiative is only one part of the administration-wide Campaign to Cut Waste, headed by Vice President Joe Biden that promises to eliminate government waste, save taxpayer dollars and make government work more efficiently.

Full Text November 11, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Remarks at the Carrier Classic Basketball Game

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama and the First Lady ended Veterans Day aboard the USS Carl Vinson where they watched the first-ever Carrier Classic

President Obama and Michelle Obama Attend Carrier Classic on veterans day

White House Photo, Pete Souza

President Obama Attends the Carrier Classic

Source: WH, 11-12-11

[View full size slideshow here]
President Obama and the First Lady ended Veterans Day aboard the USS Carl Vinson where they watched the University of North Carolina men’s basketball team defeat Michigan State University in the first-ever Carrier Classic.

More than 8,000 people were in the stands on the flight deck of the 95,000-ton, Nimitz-class ship — most of them uniformed military personnel. As much as the President loves a good game of basketball, he made a point to say that the real reason for the event was to celebrate the members of the U.S. armed forces and their families and ensure that our nation does right by its heroes:

This week,  throughout the week, we’ve been celebrating our veterans, but we have to turn our words into action. And so what we’ve done is make sure that Congress passed legislation that makes it a little bit easier for businesses to hire our veterans. We’ve put in place a series of reforms to help veterans, make sure they get the counseling and the job placement that they need.

The First Lady along with Dr. Jill Biden have put together something called Joining Forces that has now gotten commitments — 100,000 jobs for veterans and military spouses all across the country. And we are grateful for them for that effort.

But every American citizen can make a solemn pledge today that they will find some opportunity to provide support to our troops, to those who are still active duty, to our National Guard, to our Reservists, and to our veterans.

Read the President’s full remarks from the game here.

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President Aboard the USS Carl Vinson

USS Carl Vinson
San Diego, California

4:10 P.M. PST

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody!  How you feeling tonight? (Applause.)  We are so fortunate to be able to witness two of the greatest basketball programs in history — (applause) — Michigan State Spartans, North Carolina Tar Heels.  (Applause.)  Two of the best coaches of all time — Coach Izzo, Coach Williams.  (Applause.)  So we are proud to be here and see a great sporting event.

But the main reason we’re here is, on Veterans Day, we have an opportunity to say thank you.  One of the greatest privileges of this job, and one of the greatest responsibilities of this job, is to serve as your Commander-in-Chief.  And I can tell you that every day when I interact with our military, every day when I interact with the men and women in uniform, I could not be prouder to be an American.  (Applause.)

And that gratitude that we have for our men and women of the Armed Forces does not stop when they take off the uniform.  When they come home, part of the long line of those who defended our freedom, we have a sacred trust to make sure that they understand how much we appreciate what they do.  And that’s not just on Veterans Day.  That is every day of every year where we salute them and we say thank you for making the sacrifices, and for their families’ sacrifices, on our behalf.  (Applause.)

This week, throughout the week, we’ve been celebrating our veterans, but we have to turn our words into action.  And so what we’ve done is make sure that Congress passed legislation that makes it a little bit easier for businesses to hire our veterans. (Applause.)  We’ve put in place a series of reforms to help veterans, make sure they get the counseling and the job placement that they need.

The First Lady along with Dr. Jill Biden have put together something called Joining Forces that has now gotten commitments  — 100,000 jobs for veterans and military spouses all across the country.  And we are grateful for them for that effort.  (Applause.)

But every American citizen can make a solemn pledge today that they will find some opportunity to provide support to our troops, to those who are still active duty, to our National Guard, to our Reservists, and to our veterans.

And it’s especially appropriate that we do it here, because the USS Carl Vinson has been a messenger of diplomacy and a protector of our security for a long time.  And the men and women who serve on this ship have done extraordinary service in the Pacific, in the Persian Gulf, in the Indian Ocean.  It was from this aircraft carrier that some of the first assaults on Iraq were launched.  This ship supports what’s happening in Afghanistan.

I think some of you may know because it’s been reported that the men and women on the Carl Vinson were part of that critical mission to bring Osama bin Laden to justice.  (Applause.)

So to all our veterans, to all our men and women in uniform, we say thank you.  And we want you to know that we are committed to making sure that we serve you as well as you have always served us.  Thank you.  God bless you.  And God bless the United States of America.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

END
4:15 P.M. PST

Full Text November 11, 2011: President Obama Honors Veterans at Arlington National Cemetery on Veteran’s Day

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Honors Veterans at Arlington National Cemetery

Source: WH, 11-11-11

Veterans Day 2011

President Barack Obama places a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, to mark Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Today, President Obama honored the millions of Americans who have served in our nation’s military by laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. After the ceremony, the President thanked veterans for their service, their sacrifice, and their extraordinary accomplishments:

To all our nation’s veterans:  Whether you fought in Salerno or Samarra, Khe Sanh or the Korengal, you are part of an unbroken chain of men and women who have served this country with honor and distinction.  On behalf of a proud and grateful nation, we thank you.

When I spoke here on this day two years ago, I said there would be a day before long when this generation of servicemen and women would begin to step out of uniform.  And I made them a promise.  I said that when your tour ends, when you see our flag, when you touch our soil -– you will be home in an America that is forever here for you, just as you’ve been there for us.

For many, that day has come.  Over the past decade, more than 5 million Americans have worn the uniform of the United States Armed Forces. Of these, 3 million stepped forward after the attacks of September 11th, knowing full well that they could be sent into harm’s way.  And in that time, they have served in some of the world’s most dangerous places. Their service has been selfless. Their accomplishments have been extraordinary.

In Iraq, they have battled a brutal insurgency, trained new security forces and given the Iraqi people the opportunity to forge a better future.  In Afghanistan, they have pushed back the Taliban, decimated al Qaeda, and delivered the ultimate justice to Osama bin Laden.  In concert with our allies, they have helped end Qaddafi’s brutal dictatorship and returned Libya to its people.

Because of their incredible efforts, we can stand here today and say with confidence -– the tide of war is receding. In just a few weeks, the long war in Iraq will finally come to an end. Our transition in Afghanistan is moving forward.  My fellow Americans, our troops are coming home.

President Obama also spoke about the importance of making sure our veterans, who chose to serve a call greater than themselves, are able to take full advantage of the opportunity they helped secure through their service:

So on this Veterans Day, let us commit ourselves to keep making sure that our veterans receive the care and benefits that they have earned; the opportunity they defend and deserve; and above all, let us welcome them home as what they are — an integral, essential part of our American family.

See, when our men and women sign up to become a soldier or a sailor, an airman, Marine, or Coast Guardsman, they don’t stop being a citizen. When they take off that uniform, their service to this nation doesn’t stop, either. Like so many of their predecessors, today’s veterans come home looking to continue serving America however they can. At a time when America needs all hands on deck, they have the skills and the strength to help lead the way.

Our government needs their patriotism and sense of duty. And that’s why I’ve ordered the hiring of more veterans by the federal government. Our economy needs their tremendous talents and specialized skills.  So I challenged our business leaders to hire 100,000 post-9/11 veterans and their spouses over the next few years and yesterday, many of these leaders joined Michelle to announce that they will meet that challenge.

The President said that veterans themselves are proof that there is no challenge too difficult to face:

We know it will be hard.  We have to overcome new threats to our security and prosperity, and we’ve got to overcome the cynical voices warning that America’s best days are behind us. But if there is anything our veterans teach us, it’s that there is no threat we cannot meet; there is no challenge we cannot overcome. America’s best days are still ahead. And the reason for that is because we are a people who defy those voices that insist otherwise.  We are a country that does what is necessary for future generations to succeed.

Click here to read the full remarks

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President on Veterans Day

Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia

11:40 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, Ric Shinseki, for your extraordinary service to our country and your tireless commitment to our veterans; to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta; to Chairman Dempsey and Mrs. Dempsey; to our wonderful veterans service organizations for the extraordinary work that you do for our nation’s heroes; to all who tend to and watch over this sacred cemetery; and above all, to every active duty member, Guardsman, Reservist, and veteran of the United States Armed Forces.

There are many honors and responsibilities that come with this job.  But none are more humbling than serving as your Commander-in-Chief.  And I’m proud to be with so many of you here today.

Here, where our heroes come to rest, we come to show our gratitude.  A few moments ago, I laid a wreath to pay tribute to all who have given their lives to our country.  For even though this is a day we rightly honor America’s veterans, we gather today in solemn respect -– mindful that we are guests here; mindful that we share this hallowed space with a family’s moment of quiet grief; mindful that many veterans not far from here are tracing their fingers over black granite for friends who never came home –- and expect us to do all we can to bring every missing American service member home to their families.

To all our nation’s veterans:  Whether you fought in Salerno or Samarra, Khe Sanh or the Korengal, you are part of an unbroken chain of men and women who have served this country with honor and distinction.  On behalf of a proud and grateful nation, we thank you.

When I spoke here on this day two years ago, I said there would be a day before long when this generation of servicemen and women would begin to step out of uniform.  And I made them a promise.  I said that when your tour ends, when you see our flag, when you touch our soil -– you will be home in an America that is forever here for you, just as you’ve been there for us.  (Applause.)

For many, that day has come.  Over the past decade, more than 5 million Americans have worn the uniform of the United States Armed Forces.  Of these, 3 million stepped forward after the attacks of September 11th, knowing full well that they could be sent into harm’s way.  And in that time, they have served in some of the world’s most dangerous places.  Their service has been selfless.  Their accomplishments have been extraordinary.

In Iraq, they have battled a brutal insurgency, trained new security forces and given the Iraqi people the opportunity to forge a better future.  In Afghanistan, they have pushed back the Taliban, decimated al Qaeda, and delivered the ultimate justice to Osama bin Laden.  In concert with our allies, they have helped end Qaddafi’s brutal dictatorship and returned Libya to its people.

Because of their incredible efforts, we can stand here today and say with confidence -– the tide of war is receding.  In just a few weeks, the long war in Iraq will finally come to an end.  (Applause.)  Our transition in Afghanistan is moving forward.  My fellow Americans, our troops are coming home.  (Applause.)

For many military families, this holiday season will be a season of homecomings.  And over the next five years, more than 1 million Americans in uniform will transition back to civilian life, joining the nearly 3 million who have done so over the past decade and embraced a proud new role, the role of veteran.

This generation of service members -– this 9/11 Generation -– has borne the burden of our security during a hard decade of sacrifice.  Our servicemen and women make up less than 1 percent of Americans, but also more than 1 million military spouses and 2 million children and millions more parents and relatives — all of whom have shared the strains of deployment and sacrificed on behalf of the country that we love.

Only 27 years old on average, these young men and women have shattered the false myth of their generation’s apathy, for they came of age in an era when so many institutions failed to live up to their responsibilities.  But they chose to serve a cause greater than their selves.  They saw their country threatened.  But they signed up to confront that threat.  They felt some tug, they answered some call, and they said, Let’s go.  And they’ve earned their place among the greatest of generations.  (Applause.)

That is something for America to be proud of.  That is the spirit America needs now — a stronger, newer spirit of service and of sacrifice.  That spirit that says, What can I do to help?  What can I do to serve?  That spirit that says, When my country is challenged, I will do my part to meet that challenge.

So on this Veterans Day, let us commit ourselves to keep making sure that our veterans receive the care and benefits that they have earned; the opportunity they defend and deserve; and above all, let us welcome them home as what they are — an integral, essential part of our American family.  (Applause.)

See, when our men and women sign up to become a soldier or a sailor, an airman, Marine, or Coast Guardsman, they don’t stop being a citizen.  When they take off that uniform, their service to this nation doesn’t stop, either.  Like so many of their predecessors, today’s veterans come home looking to continue serving America however they can.  At a time when America needs all hands on deck, they have the skills and the strength to help lead the way.

Our government needs their patriotism and sense of duty.  And that’s why I’ve ordered the hiring of more veterans by the federal government.  (Applause.)  Our economy needs their tremendous talents and specialized skills.  So I challenged our business leaders to hire 100,000 post-9/11 veterans and their spouses over the next few years and yesterday, many of these leaders joined Michelle to announce that they will meet that challenge.  (Applause.)

Our communities have always drawn strength from our veterans’ leadership.  Think of all who have come home and settled on in a quiet life of service — as a doctor or a police officer, an engineer or an entrepreneur, as a mom or a dad — and in the process, changed countless lives.  Other veterans seek new adventures from taking on a new business to building a team of globetrotting veterans who use skills learned in combat to help after a natural disaster.

There are also so many in this young generation who still feel that tug to serve, but just don’t quite know where to turn.  So on this Veterans Day, I ask every American, recruit our veterans.  If you’re a business owner, hire them.  If you’re a community leader — a mayor, a pastor or a preacher — call on them to join your efforts.  Organize your community to make a sustained difference in the life of a veteran because that veteran can make an incredible difference in the life of your community.

If you’re a veteran looking for new ways to serve, check out Serve.gov.  If you’re a civilian looking for new ways to support our veterans and our troops, join Michelle and Jill Biden at JoiningForces.gov.  Find out what you can do.  There is no such thing as too small a difference.  That effort you make may have the biggest impact.

I say this because recently, I received a letter from a Vietnam veteran.  She wasn’t writing to tell me about her own experience.  She just wanted to tell me about her son, Jeremy.  Now, Jeremy isn’t deployed, Jeremy’s not a veteran, or even in the military at all, as badly as he wants to follow in the footsteps of his family and enlist.  You see, Jeremy has Down Syndrome.

So Jeremy chooses to serve where he can best -– with his local Vietnam Veterans of America chapter in Beaver, Pennsylvania.  He calls them “the soldiers”.  And one day last spring, Jeremy spent the day with several of these veterans cleaning up a local highway.

“He worked tirelessly,” wrote his mother.  “He never asked to take a break.  He didn’t stop to talk about his beloved Steelers.  He didn’t even ask for anything to eat or drink.  He only asked for one thing, several times –- ‘Mom, will President Obama be proud of me for helping the soldiers?’”

Well, Jeremy, I want you to know, yes, I am proud of you.  I could not be prouder of you, and your country is proud of you.  Thank you for serving our veterans by helping them to continue their service to America.

And Jeremy’s example — one young man’s example — is one that we must all now follow.  Because after a decade of war, the nation we now need to build is our own.  And just as our Greatest Generation left a country recovering from Depression and returned home to build the largest middle class in history, so now will the 9/11 Generation play a pivotal role in rebuilding America’s opportunity and prosperity in the 21st century.

We know it will be hard.  We have to overcome new threats to our security and prosperity, and we’ve got to overcome the cynical voices warning that America’s best days are behind us.  But if there is anything our veterans teach us, it’s that there is no threat we cannot meet; there is no challenge we cannot overcome.  America’s best days are still ahead.  And the reason for that is because we are a people who defy those voices that insist otherwise.  We are a country that does what is necessary for future generations to succeed.  (Applause.)

You, our veterans, fight so our children won’t have to.  We build and we invent and we learn so that we will know greater opportunity.  America leads so that the next generation, here and around the world, will know a more hopeful life on this Earth.

So today, I thank you all for making that possible.  God bless you.  God bless our veterans and our troops, and God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)

END 11:51 A.M. EST

Political Highlights November 15, 2010: Obama’s Asia Trip, Possible Deal with Israel, Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago Run, and Nancy Pelosi Retains Democratic Leadership

By Bonnie K. Goodman

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & MIDTERM ELECTIONS 2010:

The President speaks at the University of Indonesia
White House Photo, Samantha Appleton, 11/10/10

STATS & POLLS

  • Better News For Palin: PPP’s newest batch of 2012 Republican primary polls conducted right before last week’s election finds Mitt Romney ahead in the critical early state of Florida, Tim Pawlenty surprisingly weak in his home state of Minnesota, and Sarah Palin posting leads in Texas, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Maine…. – NYT, 11-12-10
  • Republican election win fails to excite public: poll: The Republican Party may have excited conservatives when it recaptured the House of Representatives in last week’s midterm elections but a recession-jilted public is less than enthused, according to a poll released on Thursday by the Pew Research Center.
    The survey found that 48 percent of those polled were happy with the Republican victory.
    This compared to 60 percent who said they were happy in 2006 when the Democrats regained majorities in both branches of Congress and the 57 percent who applauded the historic 1994 midterm gains for the Republican Party that saw them take control of the legislature for the first time in 40 years.
    “The nature of the victory itself is a little different because the Republicans this time only captured one chamber as opposed to the whole Congress,” said Carroll Doherty, associate director of the Pew Research Center. “One of the things that you see here is that we have seen these transitions of power before and they are happening more frequently and so it is not so novel,” he told Reuters in a telephone interview…. – Reuters, 11-11-10
  • Poll: 77% say elections more negative than 2006 campaign: Americans believe the midterm elections were more negative than the 2006 campaign, a new Pew Research Center poll says. Nearly 8 in 10 voters, or 77%, say there was more mudslinging and negative campaigning than in previous elections. That compares with 69% after the elections four years ago.
    The 2010 elections may be remembered in history for these images: attacks on President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, voters clamoring for less government and taxes participating in Tea Party rallies, and people railing against “Obamacare” and the new health insurance law. Most important, this election was about the economy. So maybe it’s not surprising that the low grades for Campaign 2010 weren’t partisan: 70% of Republicans, 79% of Democrats and 81% of independents said this political season was more negative than in 2006… – USA Today, 11-11-10
  • Nine Congress and governor races not yet decided: Here are the congressional and gubernatorial races that remain uncalled after Tuesday’s election… – WaPo, 11-10-10
  • AP-GfK Poll: Palin most polarizing of 2012 crowd: Sarah Palin is the most polarizing of the potential 2012 Republican presidential candidates, while impressions of Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney lean more positive, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll. As for the rest — Pawlenty, Barbour, Thune, Daniels — most Americans say, “Who?”
    Palin, the former Alaska governor and 2008 vice presidential nominee, is the best-known and most divisive of the bunch. In the wake of her high-profile role in endorsing candidates all over the country, 46 percent of Americans view her favorably, 49 percent unfavorably, and 5 percent don’t know enough about her to form an opinion.
    Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor who won the 2008 GOP Iowa caucus, received the highest favorability rating, 49 percent. About one in four people has no opinion of him, and 27 percent view him unfavorably.
    Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who ran in 2008, had similar results. Nearly a quarter of all Americans have no opinion about him, while 46 percent view him favorably, and 31 percent unfavorably.
    In terms of winning the 2012 nomination, the question is how Republican-leaning Americans view the contenders. Palin comes out on top. Among adults who identify themselves as Republicans or GOP-leaning independents, 79 percent view her favorably, and 17 percent unfavorably.
    These findings worry many Republican officials. The poll suggests Palin might be able to win the nomination. But among independents_they could be the deciding factor in the general election — just 43 percent hold a favorable view of Palin, compared with 61 percent with a positive view of Obama…. – AP, 11-10-10
  • 2010: An Aligning Election: Elections with results as dramatic as those of Tuesday night are sometimes referred to as “realigning elections.” The term — although somewhat ambiguous and overused — usually refers to a case in which one or another party not only gains a significant amount of power, but also, in which coalitions are shifted, the signature of which is usually that the rising party performs particularly well in certain geographic regions or among certain demographic groups.
    The 1980 election, for instance, arguably marked the beginning of a long-term shift toward Republicans in America’s suburbs, with Jimmy Carter’s share of the suburban vote dropping from 53 percent in 1976 to 37 percent in 1980: the 16-point swing against Mr. Carter was about twice the one he suffered in cities or rural areas. Likewise, in 1994, the shift against Democrats was particularly sharp in the South: 19 of the 52 representatives which they lost having come from that part of the country.
    The 2010 elections, by contrast, were remarkable for their orderliness — and they tended to reinforce, to an almost uncanny degree, existing political coalitions.
    Below is a chart that arranges America’s 435 congressional districts from those (on the left) which gave the highest percentage of their vote to Barack Obama in 2008 to those (on the right) which gave the highest share to John McCain; the chart then compares which party each district had elected to the House before and after Tuesday night…. – NYT, 11-8-10

THE HEADLINES….

President Barack Obama at a Press Conference at the G20 Summit at    Coex Center in Seoul, South Korea

President Barack Obama answers questions during a press conference at the G20 Summit at Coex Center in Seoul, South Korea, November 12, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

  • Netanyahu Backs U.S. Proposal for Freeze: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will ask cabinet ministers to support a U.S. proposal to extend restrictions on building in Jewish settlements for 90 days in exchange for a package of incentives from Washington, according to Israeli officials. If approved by the Israeli government, the deal could help revive peace talks with the Palestinians, which collapsed at the end of September when a 10-month period of building restrictions expired and Israel refused to extend it. Also Sunday, one of Israel’s most senior intelligence officials issued a stark warning that without immediate and meaningful progress toward peace, the Palestinian security services, which have earned consistent Israeli praise in recent months, could rapidly start to unravel. In a rare briefing to a small group of journalists, the intelligence official said there was a window of between three months and a year to show progress toward peace. “If there will not be real progress, I believe we can find that sometime within three months, six months or one year from now, that the functioning of the Palestinian security system is in a very different place,” the intelligence official said. “In order to keep the legitimacy and functioning of the Palestinian security system we need real progress in the peace process.”… – WSJ, 11-14-10
  • Obama calls latest Israeli plan promising: President Barack Obama on Sunday hailed the prospect of a new settlement freeze in the disputed West Bank as a promising step toward peace, urging Israelis and Palestinians to get back into serious negotiations quickly. An upbeat president also pledged to return to the basic principles that drove his thinking when he first came to the White House, including sticking to a more bipartisan tone and better explaining his decisions to the American people. He spoke of moving from an “obsessive focus” on policy and making changes to his approach after a humbling midterm election.
    “The fact that we are out of crisis — although still obviously in a difficult time — I think will give me the capacity,” Obama told reporters aboard Air Force One at the end of long Asia trip.
    On the Mideast, Washington’s new proposal for reviving peace talks includes a 90-day ban on housing starts in West Bank settlements — but not in east Jerusalem, the Palestinians’ hoped-for capital. The goal is to give the two sides a three-month period to shape borders of side-by-side states, a daunting, elusive mission.
    Obama commended Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for making a “very constructive step” toward creating an environment for peace. “I think it’s a signal that he’s serious,” Obama said…. – AP, 11-14-10
  • White House, GOP look for middle ground on taxes: The White House and Republican lawmakers set the terms for a looming tax debate Sunday, coalescing around a possible temporary extension of existing income tax rates that would protect middle class and wealthy Americans from sharp tax increases next year. Top White House adviser David Axelrod stressed that President Barack Obama opposes a “permanent” extension of current tax rates for individuals making more than $200,000 a year and married couples making more than $250,000. But Axelrod, appearing on two Sunday television talk shows, was carefully silent on the possibility of extending current tax rates for the short term. He said he wants to leave negotiations to Obama and members of Congress. “The bottom line is he wants to sit down and talk about this,” Axelrod said. “There is no bend on the permanent extension of tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.”… – AP, 11-14-10
  • US asks Israel for 90-day settlement building moratorium: Netanyahu discusses possibility of halting building with septet; in exchange, US would support Israel in the UN and give 20 fighter jets; request does not include e. Jerusalem. The US asked Israel to freeze all new settlement construction begun after September 26th for a 90-day period in exchange for support in the United Nations and 20 additional advanced fighter planes worth $3 billion, The Jerusalem Post has learned. The principles of this agreement designed to restart peace talks with the Palestinians, were relayed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to his inner cabinet, a forum of seven ministers, on Saturday night and will be explained to the full cabinet on Sunday. The US said that if the deal was accepted it would not request an additional settlement freeze. The request does not include east Jerusalem…. – Jpost, 11-13-10
  • Obama and Republicans find common ground on ‘earmarks’: The president and GOP House leaders agree that curtailing or eliminating the provisions would be a step toward restoring fiscal responsibility.
    “I agree with those Republican and Democratic members of Congress who’ve recently said that, in these challenging days, we can’t afford what are called ‘earmarks,’” Obama said. “We can’t afford ‘Bridges to Nowhere,’ like the one that was planned a few years back in Alaska.”
    In his radio address Saturday, Obama said that curtailing or eliminating earmarks would be a first step toward restoring fiscal responsibility.
    “I agree with those Republican and Democratic members of Congress who’ve recently said that, in these challenging days, we can’t afford what are called ‘earmarks,’” Obama said. “We can’t afford ‘Bridges to Nowhere,’ like the one that was planned a few years back in Alaska.”
    “Earmarks have become a symbol of a dysfunctional Congress and serve as a fuel line for the culture of spending that has dominated Washington for too long,” said Rep. John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), the presumptive incoming House speaker, and Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), likely the next majority whip. “We welcome President Obama’s remarks on earmark reform, and we call upon him to urge congressional Democrats to vote on a similar measure next week,” they said…. – LAT, 11-13-10
  • Justices Leave Military Gay Ban in Place: The military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy restricting openly gay, lesbian and bisexual people from serving will remain in force while a legal challenge is considered by a federal appeals court, the United States Supreme Court declared Friday. In an unsigned, two-paragraph order, the justices denied a request by the Log Cabin Republicans, the group trying to overturn the law, to reinstate an order by a federal district judge in California, Virginia A. Phillips, that prohibited enforcement during the appeal. The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit had ruled, however, that the military could continue enforcement during the appeal, and on Friday the Supreme Court agreed. The decision did not address the merits of the case.
    The Supreme Court order noted that the newest justice, Elena Kagan, “took no part in the consideration or decision” of the application; she may have recused herself because she was involved in the case as solicitor general, the position she held before President Obama nominated her to the court…. – NYT, 11-12-10
  • Obama Tells Business Leaders That U.S. Is `Here to Stay’ in Asian Markets: President Barack Obama told Japanese business leaders that the U.S. is “here to stay” in Asia as he neared the end of a 10-day trip across the region. Speaking to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s CEO Business Summit in Yokohama, Japan, Obama said engagement with Asia is a “jobs strategy,” important to his goal of increasing U.S. exports and spurring economic growth around the world.
    “We don’t want to lose the opportunity to sell our goods and services in fast-growing markets. We don’t want to lose the opportunity to create new jobs back home,” he said according to the prepared text of the speech. “When it comes to this growing, sprawling region of the world, the United States is here to stay.”
    Obama is in Japan for the APEC leaders meeting on a trip that has taken him to India, Indonesia and South Korea. At each stop he’s highlighted the need to boost exports in Asia’s rapidly growing economies in order to create jobs at home, where the unemployment rate has been 9.5 percent or higher for the last 14 months.
    Obama told the hundreds of Japanese chief executives gathered at the conference that he makes “no apologies” for trying to bring jobs to the U.S. through trade, but that economic growth in any country is good for others.
    “There’s no need to view trade, commerce, or economic growth as zero sum games, where one country always has to prosper at the expense of another,” he said. “If we work together, and act together, strengthening our economic ties can be a win-win for all of our nations.”… – Bloomberg, 11-12-10
  • Obama seeking compromise on Bush tax cuts: With tax breaks for millions of Americans set to expire Dec. 31, President Obama has opened the door to a compromise with Republicans, signaling a new willingness to accept tax breaks for the wealthy to avoid immediate tax hikes across the board. But as lawmakers head back to town next week for their first battle since this month’s congressional elections, no one is sure just how far Obama is willing to go.
    In recent days, the White House has appeared to vacillate on the expiring tax cuts, swerving from a humble tone of capitulation back to one of defiance. On Wednesday, White House senior adviser David Axelrod seemed to suggest in an interview with the Huffington Post that Obama was poised to acquiesce to GOP demands to extend all the tax cuts in tandem, saying “we have to deal with the world as we find it.”
    On Friday, Obama pushed back, telling reporters with him on a trip to South Korea that “that is the wrong interpretation.” “Here’s the right interpretation: I want to make sure that taxes don’t go up for middle-class families starting on January 1,” Obama said. “That’s my number one priority for those families and for our economy.”…. – WaPo, 11-12-10
  • Obama, GOP could meet halfway on foreign policy: Voters gave no clear direction to U.S. foreign policy in this month’s congressional elections, leaving President Barack Obama and his strengthened Republican opponents plenty of room in which to find common ground — or duke it out over pressing international challenges. Senior GOP lawmakers say Republicans will challenge Obama over his approach to Iran’s nuclear program, and are balking at Senate approval of a new nuclear arms control accord with Moscow. They’ll help cushion Obama, however, against criticism of his Afghanistan war strategy from his own Democratic Party’s liberal wing. Afghanistan “is one area where Republicans feel comfortable standing with the president,” Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, told the Halifax International Security Forum, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Nov. 6… – Miami Herald, 11-12-10
  • After G20, Obama says his global influence is intact: President Obama asserted Friday that the punishment his party took in midterm elections has not damaged his ability to advance U.S. interests overseas, saying his Asia trip has shown that many countries still want to work with the United States. In a news conference following the Group of 20 summit, Obama said the United States, while still the world’s most powerful economy, can no longer dictate the terms of how the world does business, especially after a global economic turndown that many blame on American policies. But he said his relationships with fellow heads of state have evolved during his two years in office – relying less on the novelty of his election and the enthusiasm it generated than on a shared view of where the global economy should be heading…. – WaPo, 11-12-10
  • Deficit report favors ‘do-nothing Congress’ Debt-to-GDP ratio benefits from inaction: Buried inside the wide-ranging blueprint put out this week by the respected co-chairmen of President Obama’s bipartisan commission to slash the federal deficit is a powerful argument for doing nothing. The commission’s recipe of tax increases, spending cuts, elimination of popular tax breaks and reductions in Social Security and Medicare benefits continued to roil Washington on Thursday, as both liberals and conservatives condemned some of the painful steps contained in the draft proposal to reduce federal red ink over the coming decades. But the report, offered by Democrat Erskine Bowles and former Wyoming Republican Sen. Alan Simpson, also demonstrates that Congress and Mr. Obama can take a major chunk out of the deficit without passing a single bill or issuing a single veto…. – The Washington Times, 11-11-10
  • Action, not talk: Deficit panel pushes Dems, GOP: The leaders of the deficit commission are baldly calling out the budget myths of both political parties, challenging lawmakers to engage in the “adult conversation” they say they want. Their plan — mixing painful cuts to Social Security and Medicare with big tax increases — has no chance of enactment as written, certainly not as a whole. But the commission’s high profile will make it harder for Republicans and Democrats to simply keep reciting their tax and spending talking points without acknowledging the real sacrifices that progress against government deficits would demand. It’s time for both conservatives and liberals to “put up or shut up,” says Jon Cowan, head of the centrist-Democratic group Third Way, which praised the bold new proposals and urged politicians to show courage. Republicans failed to produce their often-promised deficit reductions when they controlled the government, Cowan said, and Democrats refuse to acknowledge that entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare must be trimmed…. – AP, 11-11-10
  • Clinton offers Netanyahu security pledge on peace talks: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton assured Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday that Israel’s security requirements would be fully taken into account in any peace deal with the Palestinians. In a move that could allow Netanyahu to persuade his governing coalition to back a new freeze on Israeli settlement construction, Clinton and the visiting Israeli leader ended a marathon round of talks in New York with a strong declaration of Washington’s “unshakable commitment to Israel’s security and to peace in the region.”
    “The prime minister and the secretary agreed on the importance of continuing direct negotiations to achieve our goals,” the two sides said in a joint statement, which did not mention the settlement issue directly. But Clinton repeated that the peace talks — which have hit an impasse over the settlement issue — could yet yield an independent Palestine living next to Israel “with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israeli security requirements.”
    “Those requirements will be fully taken into account in any future peace agreement,” the joint statement said…. – Reuters, 11-11-10
  • As G-20 begins, Obama gets few concessions from other leaders: Obama predicts that leaders will reach ‘a broad-based consensus’ on trade and currency issues, but the opening session of the summit offers little evidence that other nations are willing to help the U.S…. – LAT, 11-11-10
  • SKorea-US trade chiefs end talks as Obama arrives: South Korea and the United States ended a third day of talks aimed at jump-starting a long-stalled trade agreement, offering no clues on progress a day before their presidents meet. Washington and Seoul have been holding what are seen as make-or-break negotiations to infuse new life into the deal to slash tariffs and other barriers to trade that was signed in 2007 when previous administrations were in power. It remains unratified by lawmakers in both countries…. – Business Week, 11-10-10
  • Netanyahu defiantly answers Obama’s warning over construction in East Jerusalem: The Israeli leader’s sharp words come hours after Obama, in Indonesia, said new construction could harm a renewed Mideast peace effort. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu clashed publicly with President Obama on Tuesday over Israeli construction in disputed East Jerusalem, throwing a teetering Mideast peace effort deeper in doubt. Responding to criticism from Obama, Netanyahu struck a defiant tone in commenting on plans to build 1,300 more Jewish housing units in East Jerusalem, saying his government had never agreed to limit construction in the city. “Jerusalem is not a settlement. It is the capital of the state of Israel,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “Israel sees no connection between the diplomatic process and the planning and building policy in Jerusalem.”
    Netanyahu’s statement came hours after Obama warned that the new construction, announced by Israel on Monday, could harm a renewed Mideast peace effort began in early September. Obama made the remarks a few hours after arriving in Indonesia, his boyhood home for four years, where he was set to deliver the second major speech Wednesday in his outreach to the Muslim world.
    “This kind of activity is never helpful when it comes to peace negotiations, and I’m concerned that we’re not seeing each side make that extra effort involved to get a breakthrough,” Obama said. “Each of these incremental steps end up breaking trust.”
    Israel also is moving ahead with 800 units in the West Bank settlement of Ariel, Israeli news reports said Tuesday. Netanyahu’s pronouncement was consistent with Israeli policy, yet his sharp tone may embarrass Obama at a moment of vulnerability. Obama is visiting the world’s largest Muslim country, and the rebuke may again raise questions in the Muslim world about how much influence the American leader really has on a priority issue. The disagreement also comes a week after Obama suffered a setback in the midterm elections, which gave Republicans, who are likely to be sympathetic to Netanyahu’s point of view, majority control of the House of Representatives. Some Israeli officials and U.S. analysts had predicted before the election that Netanyahu might feel emboldened to push back on Obama if the Democrats fared poorly…. – LAT, 11-9-10
  • No Charges in Destruction of C.I.A. Interrogation Tapes: Central Intelligence Agency officials will not face criminal charges for the destruction of dozens of videotapes depicting the brutal interrogation of terrorism suspects, the Justice Department said Tuesday. After a closely watched investigation of nearly three years, the decision by a special federal prosecutor is the latest example of Justice Department officials’ declining to seek criminal penalties for some of the controversial episodes in the C.I.A.’s now defunct detention and interrogation program. The destruction of the tapes, in particular, was seen as so striking that the Bush administration itself launched the special investigation after the action was publicly disclosed…. – NYT, 11-9-10
  • Obama trip welcomes India to high table of global influence: President Obama left India with reassurances of his strong support for a ‘strategic partnership’ – as well as strong words about his commitment to free trade…. – CS Monitor, 11-9-10
  • Fed Global Backlash Grows China and Russia Join Germany in Scolding; Obama Defends Move as Pro-Growth: Global controversy mounted over the Federal Reserve’s decision to pump billions of dollars into the U.S. economy, with President Barack Obama defending the move as China, Russia and the euro zone added to a chorus of criticism. Mr. Obama returned fire in the growing confrontation over trade and currencies Monday in a joint news conference with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, taking the unusual step of publicly backing the Fed’s decision to buy $600 billion in U.S. Treasury bonds—a move that has come under withering international criticism for weakening the U.S. dollar…. – WSJ, 11-8-10
  • Obama heads to Indonesia, finally: President Barack Obama finally heads to Jakarta on Tuesday for a visit during which he will seek to boost U.S. security and trade ties with Indonesia, and also reach out to the larger Islamic world. His visit to a country where he spent four years of his childhood comes after two previously scheduled trips were put off because of problems at home — in March as he fought to pass his healthcare overhaul law and in June as he faced the cleanup of the massive BP oil spill. The delays disappointed and angered some Indonesians, and even this visit had been in some doubt because of concerns about volcanic ash from repeated eruptions of Mount Merapi volcano. Indonesia is important destination for Obama for a variety of strategic and personal reasons, aides said. Its importance as a U.S. ally is on the rise, even if the joy over Obama’s election has faded since he became president almost two years ago. Indonesia is an emerging economy, a democracy, a member of the G20 and the world’s most populous Muslim country…. – Reuters, 11-8-10
  • Obama boosts India for ‘rightful place in world’: Deepening America’s stake in Asian power politics, President Barack Obama on Monday endorsed India’s bid to become a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, hoping to elevate the nation of a billion people to “its rightful place in the world” alongside an assertive China.
    Obama’s declaration, delivered to the pounding applause of India’s parliament members, spoke to a mission broader than the makeup of one global institution. By spending three packed days in India, announcing trade deals, dismissing job-outsourcing gripes and admonishing India’s rival Pakistan, Obama went all in for an ally whose support he hopes to bank on for years.
    “I want every Indian citizen to know: The United States of America will not simply be cheering you on from the sidelines,” Obama said inside the soaring legislative chamber of the capital city. “We will be right there with you, shoulder to shoulder, because we believe in the promise of India.”… – AP, 11-8-10
  • Diplomacy, Diwali, dinner on Obama’s agenda in India: A female tribal leader working to get more girls into classrooms, in a rural society that places boys first. A former civil servant running a website to battle corruption. Schoolchildren who got the first couple dancing for the Hindu festival Diwali.
    These were some of the Indians whom President Obama met Sunday on the second day of his four-nation Asia tour. The issues raised highlight the massive challenges facing this poor but fast-growing nation of 1.1 billion people, to whom Obama promised he would elevate the U.S.-India partnership “to an entirely new level.”
    He also faced the sensitive question of Pakistan-based terrorism, when asked, at a town-hall-style meeting with students, the question on many Indians’ minds: Why hasn’t the USA declared Pakistan a terrorist state? Obama stressed the need to work with Islamabad “to eradicate this extremism that we consider a cancer within the country that can potentially engulf the country.”… – 11-7-10
  • Fresh Slate at the Pentagon Lies Ahead for Obama: With critical decisions ahead on the war in Afghanistan, President Obama is about to receive an unusual opportunity to reshape the Pentagon’s leadership, naming a new defense secretary as well as several top generals and admirals in the next several months…. – NYT, 11-7-10
  • Obama calls India creator, not poacher, of US jobs: Searching for help half a world away, President Barack Obama on Saturday embraced India as the next jobs-creating giant for hurting Americans, not a cheap-labor rival that outsources opportunity from the United States. “For America, this is a jobs strategy,” Obama said of his emphasis on trade, although it could stand as a motto for his 10-day trip. He is spending Sunday with young people in Mumbai and then heading onto meetings in New Delhi, the capital, before shifting later in the week ahead to Indonesia and economic talks in South Korea and Japan…. – AP, 11-6-10
  • Obama Invokes Gandhi, Whose Ideal Eludes Modern India: President Obama and his wife, Michelle, with Usha Thakkar, director of Mani Bhavan, the Gandhi Museum in Mumbai, “He is a hero not just to India, but to the world,” the president wrote in a guest book on Saturday in Gandhi’s modest former home in Mumbai, now the Mani Bhavan museum. Yet if paying homage to Gandhi is expected of visiting dignitaries, Mr. Obama’s more personal identification with the Gandhian legacy — the president once named him the person he would most like to dine with — places him on complicated terrain…. – NYT, 11-7-10

112TH CONGRESS

  • Democrats avoid House leadership battle Nancy Pelosi helps craft an accord with potential rivals that will make her the minority leader: House Democrats, already hurting from their election shellacking, averted a potentially ugly leadership fight Saturday. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco helped broker an agreement that paves the way for her to remain Democratic leader, Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland to remain in the party’s second-ranking position of minority whip, and James E. Clyburn of South Carolina to take the new title of assistant leader. Democrats who will serve in the new Congress will vote on their leaders Wednesday. The arrangement, which Pelosi announced in a letter to her party’s rank and file, averts a clash between Hoyer, whose appeal to more conservative Democrats is seen as crucial to helping the Democrats win back control of the House in 2012, and Clyburn, a black member who is popular with the liberal base…. – LAT, 11-13-10
  • House Democrats Avoid Fight on No. 2 Position: Updated: Shuler Considers Run Top House Democrats said late Friday night that they had settled on an arrangement that avoided a divisive fight for the No. 2 position in the party when it reverts to the minority in January. In a statement, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would nominate Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina to be the No. 3 Democrat when the party holds an internal party election on Wednesday. “Over the past four years, Congressman Clyburn’s effective leadership in the whip’s office was crucial to our passage of historic legislation on jobs, health care, veterans and Wall Street reform on behalf of the American people,” Ms. Pelosi said…. – NYT, 11-13-10
  • Ambition is curbed, but Democrats still have a lame-duck agenda: With a few weeks left in control of both houses of Congress, Democrats are pressing a scaled-back agenda that would extend middle-class tax cuts, fund the government and possibly repeal ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ Lawmakers return to the Capitol on Monday to begin a complicated lame-duck session that will mark the last time Democrats will be in control of Congress for the foreseeable future….
    Despite electoral losses that handed control of the House to Republicans and diminished Democrats’ majority in the Senate, Democratic leaders are pressing an agenda that would extend middle-class tax cuts, fund the government and perhaps repeal the ban on openly gay men and women serving inthe military.
    Yet nothing is certain in the new political climate. As many as 80 incoming House Republicans elected two weeks ago will arrive in town for freshman orientation in advance of their January swearing-in ceremony, and some plan to join a rally Monday to protest the Democrats’ plans.
    In addition, lawmakers who will be members of the 112th Congress will vote for their leaders next week. Rep. John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) is expected to become the next House speaker, while Democrats will decide whether to retain the outgoing speaker, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), as their leader. In the Senate, Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is expected to remain majority leader, with Mitch McConnell of Kentucky to continue leading the GOP…. – LAT, 11-13-10
  • Rahm: It’s on Presumptive front-runner makes official entry into race for mayor: As Rahm Emanuel made his entry into Chicago’s mayoral race official Saturday, a major theme of his campaign echoed off the school gymnasium walls: He is the tenacious leader Chicago needs during tough times. The former North Side congressman and White House chief of staff laid out a broad agenda, declaring he’d work to help generate jobs, improve education and decrease crime at a juncture in the city’s history when all three need to be addressed.
    “The choices we make in the next few years will define Chicago for future generations. They will determine whether we remain a world-class city — or fall back,” he told 250 supporters jammed in the gym at Coonley Elementary School. “The question in this election is who has the experience, imagination and strength to see a better future for Chicago? And who has the determination to see that vision through the end?” While providing few specifics in an 18-minute speech, Emanuel did say increasing taxes to address the city’s continued budget woes isn’t on the table. Still, Emanuel hinted at service cuts by promising that “necessary changes” and “tough choices” will be made and residents will “share in the sacrifices.”… – Chicago Tribune, 11-13-10
  • Recount Could Trap Pawlenty in Governor’s Mansion: Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota has been gearing up for a bid for the Republican presidential nomination for months. He chose not to run for re-election as governor. He has hit the early-state circuit. Everything is ready once he leaves office on Jan. 3. Except for this: He may not be able to leave. Under Minnesota law, the governor’s term extends as long as it takes to swear in a successor, even if a recount takes months. And that could just happen.
    The race to replace Mr. Pawlenty between the Democrat Mark Dayton and the Republican Tom Emmer ended last Tuesday in what is becoming a regular outcome in the North Star state — a virtual tie. Out of about 2.1 million votes cast, Mr. Dayton leads Mr. Emmer by about 8,500 votes, less than the half-percentage point margin that mandates an automatic recount.
    That recount will start on Nov. 27 and is scheduled to last until early December, at which point the trailing candidate could choose to challenge the recount by filing a lawsuit. Mr. Emmer’s advisers and state Republicans have made it clear they will do so if they feel they have a legitimate case.
    “If we are behind and we think that there are issues with the recount, we could file a contest,” said Tony Sutton, the chairman of the Republican Party of Minnesota. “We’re not looking to kick this past the first of the year. We are not going to do things to throw stuff against the law and see what sticks.”… – NYT, 11-13-10
  • No. 2 House Democrat Will Try to Retain Post: Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, said Monday that he would try to hold on to that position when his party slips into the minority next year as the leadership of House Democrats remained in turmoil one week after devastating election losses…. – NYT, 11-8-10
  • Hoyer collecting liberal support in whip bid: Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) continued Tuesday to collect high-profile endorsements from his party’s liberal wing in his bid to become House minority whip, trying to counter the impression that his candidacy is built around support from moderate-to-conservative Democrats. Seven Democratic committee chairmen issued a letter Tuesday endorsing Hoyer’s candidacy for the No. 2 post in the House leadership, including a trio of the leading legislative liberals: Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard L. Berman (D-Calif.), Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.).
    Hoyer, currently the majority leader, has publicly touted his momentum in his campaign against Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.), unveiling a string of key endorsements. With Tuesday’s rollout – first reported by Politico – Hoyer now has nearly 50 public endorsements, almost halfway to the roughly 95 or so supporters he will need to win the secret ballot later next week.
    Clyburn, currently the majority whip, the No. 3 post in the majority, has about 10 public endorsements but is also expected to collect the lion’s share of the roughly 40 members of the Congressional Black Caucus. He has won some key backing, including Monday’s endorsement by Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), who is the highest-ranking Latino member of congressional leadership…. – WaPo, 11-9-10

ELECTIONS 2010, 2012….

  • Congressman Danny Davis announces bid for Chicago mayor: U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, a veteran Chicago politician, struck populist tones as he declared his candidacy for mayor today, saying he will bridge the gap between wealthy and struggling communities.
    “Notwithstanding the economic climate, we the people, we the grassroots, everyday people, we the policeman, we the postman, we the clerks. . . can exercise our God-given rights to participate, be involved and make decisions about ourselves and our city,” Davis said at a rally held in a ballroom of the Hotel Allegro downtown.
    The announcement felt a little like a church service. Davis started with an invocation, and some of his 200 supporters gathered in the ballroom engaged in a call and response as Davis and others spoke.
    While Davis offered few policy details, he said he would create jobs and economic development opportunities and attempt to “save our children from lifetimes of drug use, abuse, (and) incarceration.”
    “I know that everyone in our city is concerned about balancing the budget and finding ways to keep our city solvent,” he said. “I don’t pretend at the moment to have the answers to all of our financial problems. . . but I can assure you that we have a team of researchers and experts looking at the issues and preparing recommendations.” … – Chicago Tribune, 11-14-10
  • Miller: Ballot fight unlikely if math doesn’t work: Republican Senate nominee Joe Miller is watching absentee ballots from military voters as he takes his next steps in Alaska’s still-undecided Senate race….
    The state has so far recorded more than 98,500 write-in ballots cast. Saturday marked the fourth day of a write-in ballot hand count that could stretch well into next week, with thousands of absentee and questioned ballots yet to be combed through.
    The count Saturday showed Murkowski with 74,449 votes, or 89.6 percent of the write-in vote undisputedly — a trend that has largely held throughout the process. Another 7.9 percent was credited to her tally over challenges by Miller observers, generally for things like misspellings of her name or penmanship. Murkowski’s campaign believes it needs to win at least 90 percent of the unchallenged vote to declare victory. Miller’s vote total, as of Friday night, was 87,517…. – AP, 11-14-10
  • Paging Jeb Bush — for 2012: In fact, some folks in the GOP are so convinced that there is a Bush renaissance in the offing that they’re hoping to turn that wave into another White House victory for the Bush family. That’s right. If the era of Bush fatigue is really over, then here comes baby brother. Jeb Bush, the popular former two-term governor of Florida, is being mentioned as a viable Republican candidate for the presidency in 2012, although he has denied having an interest in running.
    (Both Bush brothers will be guests on a special edition of State of the Union with Candy Crowley, Sunday at 8 and 11 p.m. ET.)
    While Jeb has his share of detractors, he also seems to have the same knack for bringing people together that his big brother had for driving them apart. And, with the Tea Party ready to go to war with the GOP establishment in the political equivalent of a cage match for control of the Republican Party, that skill set could come in handy…. – CNN, 11-12-10
  • Murkowski confident in re-election chances: If wrestling with a variety of spellings for write-in candidate Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s name isn’t enough, officials counting ballots in Alaska’s U.S. Senate race are also dealing with such oddball entries as “Donald Duck,” ”Elmo” and “Revolt.”
    Those ballots were quickly tossed Friday even as a count showed the Republican incumbent maintaining a healthy 90 percent of the write-in vote.
    Saying she feels “pretty good about the direction” the tally is headed, Murkowski expressed confidence that she’ll pull off an improbable write-in victory over Republican nominee Joe Miller.
    So far, the state has recorded 98,565 write-in votes and 87,517 votes for Miller. Murkowski has been getting about 90 percent of write-in votes. Another 7.6 percent have been apparent votes for Murkowski that have been challenged, generally by observers for Miller for things like penmanship issues and misspellings.
    The hand count is scheduled to go through the weekend and run well into next week to determine if Murkowski got enough write-in votes to win…. – AP, 11-13-10
  • Michigan Republican Anuzis to challenge RNC’s Michael Steele: Former Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis announced Friday that he will run for chairman of the Republican National Committee, making him the first official challenge to current leader Michael Steele. Anuzis said in a statement that the decision for him was not easy, since he regards Steele as a “friend and colleague.” “As someone who believes in loyalty, my natural instinct would be to sit this out,” Anuzis wrote. “But the simple fact is that the overriding challenge we face is winning back the Presidency in 2012 and we will not accomplish that objective unless there is dramatic change in the way the RNC does business.”… – Yahoo News, 11-12-10
  • Reagan Library to Host First Republican Debate for 2012 Primary: What took so long? It’s been over a week since the 2010 vote and debate plans are finally being made for the presidential election in two years. The first Republican primary debate is set for spring 2011 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Southern California, The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.
    “Ronnie would be thrilled that the road to the White House will begin at his Presidential Library,” former first lady Nancy Reagan said in a press release. “I look forward to welcoming and watching the top candidates debate the issues next spring.” NBC News and Politico will be the event’s media partners. No Republicans have announced their intentions to challenge President Obama. Among names being floated are Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum.
    “The fact that we are already talking about the 2012 presidential race only foreshadows how invested and deeply rooted America will be in the political discussion come next spring,” NBC News President Steve Capus…. – Politics Daily, 11-11-10
  • Nancy Reagan to host debate for 2012 GOP hopefuls: Republicans hoping to take back the White House in 2012 will have an audition of sorts at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Former first lady Nancy Reagan announced today she will invite the leading 2012 GOP presidential hopefuls to a debate at the library in spring 2011. The debate will be co-hosted by NBC News and Politico. “Ronnie would be thrilled that the road to the White House will begin at his presidential library,” Mrs. Reagan said in a statement. A second Republican debate will be held at the library before the Super Tuesday primaries….. – USA Today, 11-11-10
  • Murkowski returning to Alaska amid ballot count: U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski is returning to Alaska as election workers continue tabulating write-in ballots that will help determine whether she wins re-election. Anchorge Daily News, 11-11-10
  • Nurkowski? Makowski? Murckoski? Counting the Write-In Votes in Alaska: “Liza Makowski?” “Challenge.” So said Terry Campo, an observer working on behalf of Joe Miller, the Republican Senate candidate, as he hovered over a table where two election workers on Wednesday helped sift through more than 230,000 ballots cast in the Alaska Senate race. The question looming over the warehouse in this remote state capital: will Senator Lisa Murkowski become the first write-in candidate elected to the Senate since 1954? Write-in votes have a clear lead over Mr. Miller, but the process of actually seeing whose name is on them did not begin until Wednesday. The count is expected to last until at least Friday – but a court fight could last much longer…. – NYT, 11-10-10
  • 2012 Senate races pose challenge to President Obama: The votes are still being counted in some states for this year’s congressional elections, but already some political types are sweating the 2012 contests in the Senate. An analysis by The National Journal discusses a “civil war” brewing for Republicans in 2012, since the anti-tax, small-government Tea Party movement roiled the GOP this year.
    There’s also been some sniping between Rep. Spencer Bachus and former GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin about the Tea Party’s role in the 2010 elections. Palin has pushed back on the Alabama Republican’s comment that “Palin cost us control of the Senate” with her support of candidates such as Christine O’Donnell, who was defeated in her bid for a Delaware Senate seat. But some 2012 Senate races aren’t just interesting for Republicans. The contests also pose a challenge to Democrats and President Obama, especially in some of the states he won in 2008. In all, Democrats will have to defend 23 Senate seats including the two held by independents who vote with them. Republicans hold 10 Senate seats up for grabs in two years…. – USA Today, 11-10-10
  • Republicans Maneuver to Oust Their Leader: Turning their attention to the 2012 presidential election, Republican leaders are digging in for a battle over control of the Republican National Committee, judging that its role in fund-raising, get-out-the-vote operations and other tasks will be critical to the effort to topple President Obama. Some senior party officials are maneuvering to put pressure on Michael Steele, the controversial party chairman, not to seek re-election when his term ends in January or, failing that, to encourage a challenger to step forward to take him on…. – NYT, 11-9-10
  • GOP lawmaker: Palin cost party control of Senate: Questioned about those comments on Tuesday, a spokesman for Rep. Spencer Bachus of Alabama said the remarks had been taken out of context but didn’t retract them. Bachus, in line to become chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, initially blamed Palin last week at a local Chamber of Commerce luncheon. According to the Shelby County Reporter, he said the Senate would be in Republican hands if not for losses by tea party candidates endorsed by the former Alaska governor and 2008 vice presidential nominee.
    “Sarah Palin cost us control of the Senate,” the newspaper quoted him as saying. He added that while tea party candidates did well in House races, “they didn’t do well at all” in Senate contests.
    In a statement Tuesday, Bachus spokesman Tim Johnson said the congressman was expressing a widely held belief that stronger Republican candidates could have won in states such as Delaware and Nevada, where Republicans Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle lost. “That’s a lesson going forward,” Johnson said. “As the article noted, (Bachus) was extremely complimentary of the tea party movement and Governor Palin in crediting them with the great turnout of conservatives that led to many of the successes on Tuesday.” “He said that the tea party, rather than being criticized, is on the same page as many in the country, including independents, in cutting spending, lowering taxes and limiting the size of government,” Johnson added…. – WaPo, 11-9-10
  • Joe Miller: Cautiously optimistic on prospects: Alaska Senate hopeful Joe Miller says he’s cautiously optimistic about his prospects for winning on the eve of the absentee ballot count. Election workers plan to begin tallying more than 30,000 absentee ballots Tuesday; the counting of write-in ballots will begin Wednesday. Initial returns from last week’s election showed Miller trailing write-ins by more than 13,000 votes. Sen. Lisa Murkowski ran as a write-in following her loss in the GOP primary to Miller. It’s not clear how many of those votes are for her or how many for her were properly cast. Murkowski has sounded confident, telling supporters they’d “made history.” But Miller tells The Associated Press this is premature, and says her hiring of a “high-power” legal team suggests she’s nervous. – WaPo, 11-9-10
  • 12 in 2012: Jim DeMint Earns His Stripes as Tea Party Power Broker: Senator Tea Party, as Jim DeMint is sometimes known, is a moniker the first-term senator began wearing before the Tea Party became a household name. It’s also a description that has pushed the South Carolina Republican out of the shadows and into the forefront of electoral politics.
    “I’m proud to be called Senator Tea Party. I feel like I’m giving a voice to people who are very frustrated that Washington’s not listening,” DeMint told Fox News.
    This fall, DeMint, who was just re-elected to his second term in the Senate, took his commitment to making Washington listen out on the campaign trail – and not merely in his own race. He endorsed high-profile conservatives and donated millions from his political action committee to failed Senate candidates Ken Buck of Colorado, Sharron Angle of Nevada and Christine O’Donnell of Delaware as well as successful contestants Marco Rubio of Florida and Rand Paul of Kentucky…. – Fox News, 11-9-10
  • Clyburn: Pelosi has a role in House leadership: Congressman Jim Clyburn of South Carolina says House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has a place in the Democratic leadership after Republicans take control next year. The South Carolina Democrat is downplaying the emerging contest between himself and Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer for the No. 2 spot when Democrats become the minority party. Clyburn says he plans to keep his current job as whip…. – AP, 11-7-10
  • Pence, Pawlenty Still Weigh 2012 Bids: Rep. Mike Pence (R., Ind.) and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said they were still weighing whether to run for president in 2012, but decisions could be coming shortly. Mr. Pence, in an interview on ABC’s “This Week,” said he was “intent on taking the coming weeks to really prayerfully consider that, to wait on the Lord, to seek counsel. And after the first of the year, we’ll make a decision.”
    “Well, I don’t know for sure what I’m going to do after I’m done being governor,” Mr. Pawlenty told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. “I’ll decide that early next year.”
    Sen. Jim DeMint (R. S.C.) had some advice for whoever wants to win the Republican nomination. “I think the next Republican running for president needs to run on complete repeal” of the new health care law, he in an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, said he “absolutely” was not running for president in 2012. Or vice president, for that matter.
    “Can you see me as somebody who’s a vice president?” he said on “Meet the Press.” “After that question about ‘Governor Wrecking Ball?’ I would feel bad for that poor man or woman.” – WSJ, 11-7-10

QUOTES

The President Records the Weekly Address

For this edition of West Wing Week, walk step by step with the President as he travels through Asia.

  • President Obama at the G-20 in Seoul: “Focusing on Growth”WH, 11-12-10
  • Weekly Address: President Obama Calls for Earmark Reform Remarks of President Barack Obama Weekly Address November 13, 2010: This weekend, I’m concluding a trip to Asia whose purpose was to open new markets for American products in this fast-growing part of the world. The economic battle for these markets is fierce, and we’re up against strong competitors. But as I’ve said many times, America doesn’t play for second place. The future we’re fighting for isn’t as the world’s largest importer, consuming products made elsewhere, but as the world’s largest manufacturer of ideas and goods sold around the world.
    Opening new markets will not only help America’s businesses create new jobs for American workers. It will also help us reduce our deficits – because the single greatest tool for getting our fiscal house in order is robust economic growth. That kind of growth will require ensuring that our students are getting the best education possible; that we’re on the cutting edge of research and development; and that we’re rebuilding our roads and railways, runways and ports – so our infrastructure is up to the challenges of the 21st century.
    Given the deficits that have mounted up over the past decade, we can’t afford to make these investments unless we’re also willing to cut what we don’t need. That’s why I’ve submitted to Congress a plan for a three-year budget freeze, and I’m prepared to offer additional savings. But as we work to reform our budget, Congress should also put some skin in the game. I agree with those Republican and Democratic members of Congress who’ve recently said that in these challenging days, we can’t afford what are called earmarks. These are items inserted into spending bills by members of Congress without adequate review….
    As a Senator, I helped eliminate anonymous earmarks and created new measures of transparency so Americans can better follow how their tax dollars are being spent. As President, time and again, I’ve called for new limitations on earmarks. We’ve reduced the cost of earmarks by over $3 billion. And we’ve put in place higher standards of transparency by putting as much information as possible on earmarks.gov. In fact, this week, we updated the site with more information about where last year’s earmarks were actually spent, and made it easier to look up Members of Congress and the earmarks they fought for.
    Today, we have a chance to go further. We have a chance to not only shine a light on a bad Washington habit that wastes billions of taxpayer dollars, but take a step towards restoring public trust. We have a chance to advance the interests not of Republicans or Democrats, but of the American people; to put our country on the path of fiscal discipline and responsibility that will lead to a brighter economic future for all. And that’s a future I hope we can reach across party lines to build together. – WH, 11-13-10
  • President Obama in Jakarta: “Indonesia’s Example To the World”: I first came to this country when my mother married an Indonesian named Lolo Soetoro. And as a young boy I was — as a young boy I was coming to a different world. But the people of Indonesia quickly made me feel at home.
    And we lived in a small house. We had a mango tree out front. And I learned to love Indonesia while flying kites and running along the paddy fields and catching dragonflies, buying satay and baso from the street vendors. (Applause.) I still remember the call of the vendors. Satay! (Laughter.) I remember that. Baso! (Laughter.) But most of all, I remember the people — the old men and women who welcomed us with smiles; the children who made a foreign child feel like a neighbor and a friend; and the teachers who helped me learn about this country.
    In the years since then, Indonesia has charted its own course through an extraordinary democratic transformation — from the rule of an iron fist to the rule of the people. In recent years, the world has watched with hope and admiration as Indonesians embraced the peaceful transfer of power and the direct election of leaders. And just as your democracy is symbolized by your elected President and legislature, your democracy is sustained and fortified by its checks and balances: a dynamic civil society; political parties and unions; a vibrant media and engaged citizens who have ensured that — in Indonesia — there will be no turning back from democracy.
    But even as this land of my youth has changed in so many ways, those things that I learned to love about Indonesia — that spirit of tolerance that is written into your Constitution; symbolized in mosques and churches and temples standing alongside each other; that spirit that’s embodied in your people — that still lives on. (Applause.) Bhinneka Tunggal Ika — unity in diversity. (Applause.) This is the foundation of Indonesia’s example to the world, and this is why Indonesia will play such an important part in the 21st century.
    When I moved to Indonesia, it would have been hard to imagine a future in which the prosperity of families in Chicago and Jakarta would be connected. But our economies are now global, and Indonesians have experienced both the promise and the perils of globalization: from the shock of the Asian financial crisis in the ‘90s, to the millions lifted out of poverty because of increased trade and commerce. What that means — and what we learned in the recent economic crisis — is that we have a stake in each other’s success.
    America has a stake in Indonesia growing and developing, with prosperity that is broadly shared among the Indonesian people — because a rising middle class here in Indonesia means new markets for our goods, just as America is a market for goods coming from Indonesia. So we are investing more in Indonesia, and our exports have grown by nearly 50 percent, and we are opening doors for Americans and Indonesians to do business with one another.
    These are the issues that really matter in our daily lives. Development, after all, is not simply about growth rates and numbers on a balance sheet. It’s about whether a child can learn the skills they need to make it in a changing world. It’s about whether a good idea is allowed to grow into a business, and not suffocated by corruption. It’s about whether those forces that have transformed the Jakarta I once knew — technology and trade and the flow of people and goods — can translate into a better life for all Indonesians, for all human beings, a life marked by dignity and opportunity.
    Now, this kind of development is inseparable from the role of democracy.
    Today, we sometimes hear that democracy stands in the way of economic progress. This is not a new argument. Particularly in times of change and economic uncertainty, some will say that it is easier to take a shortcut to development by trading away the right of human beings for the power of the state. But that’s not what I saw on my trip to India, and that is not what I see here in Indonesia. Your achievements demonstrate that democracy and development reinforce one another.
    I said then, and I will repeat now, that no single speech can eradicate years of mistrust. But I believed then, and I believe today, that we do have a choice. We can choose to be defined by our differences, and give in to a future of suspicion and mistrust. Or we can choose to do the hard work of forging common ground, and commit ourselves to the steady pursuit of progress. And I can promise you — no matter what setbacks may come, the United States is committed to human progress. That is who we are. That is what we’ve done. And that is what we will do. (Applause.)
    Now, we know well the issues that have caused tensions for many years — and these are issues that I addressed in Cairo. In the 17 months that have passed since that speech, we have made some progress, but we have much more work to do.
    Innocent civilians in America, in Indonesia and across the world are still targeted by violent extremism. I made clear that America is not, and never will be, at war with Islam. Instead, all of us must work together to defeat al Qaeda and its affiliates, who have no claim to be leaders of any religion –– certainly not a great, world religion like Islam. But those who want to build must not cede ground to terrorists who seek to destroy. And this is not a task for America alone. Indeed, here in Indonesia, you’ve made progress in rooting out extremists and combating such violence.
    That spark of the divine lives within each of us. We cannot give in to doubt or cynicism or despair. The stories of Indonesia and America should make us optimistic, because it tells us that history is on the side of human progress; that unity is more powerful than division; and that the people of this world can live together in peace. May our two nations, working together, with faith and determination, share these truths with all mankind. WH, 11-10-10
  • Palin calls Obama ‘most pro-abortion president’: Sarah Palin attacked President Barack Obama on Wednesday for his support of abortion rights and for the federal health care overhaul as the former Alaska governor appeared in Texas with another tea party favorte, Gov. Rick Perry. Palin described Obama as “the most pro-abortion president to occupy the White House” at the Dallas event, which was sponsored by a nonprofit organization that promotes an anti-abortion message. The 2008 Republican vice-presidential nominee also said the federal health care law is the “mother of all unfunded mandates” and means federal funding will go toward abortions…. – AP, 11-11-10
  • Obama says Indonesia, U.S. ‘on right path’: President Obama on Tuesday said his efforts to find ways to cooperate with Indonesia were “direct results of my call … for a new beginning between the United States and Muslim communities.” “Our efforts have been earnest, sustained,” Obama said. “We don’t expect that we are going to completely eliminate some of the misunderstandings and mistrust that have developed … but we do think that we’re on the right path.” “I have made it clear that America is not, and never will be, at war with Islam,” he said in remarks prepared prior to the speech and distributed to the news media. “Instead, all of us must defeat al-Qaeda and its affiliates, who have no claim to be leaders of any religion — certainly not a great, world religion like Islam.”
    Most of Indonesia’s 240 million people follow a moderate form of Islam…. – USA Today, 11-9-10
  • Peggy Noonan: Sarah Palin A ‘Nincompoop’ For Reagan Reduction: Excuse me, but this was ignorant even for Mrs. Palin. Reagan people quietly flipped their lids, but I’ll voice their consternation to make a larger point. Ronald Reagan was an artist who willed himself into leadership as president of a major American labor union (Screen Actors Guild, seven terms, 1947-59.) He led that union successfully through major upheavals (the Hollywood communist wars, labor-management struggles); discovered and honed his ability to speak persuasively by talking to workers on the line at General Electric for eight years; was elected to and completed two full terms as governor of California; challenged and almost unseated an incumbent president of his own party; and went on to popularize modern conservative political philosophy without the help of a conservative infrastructure. Then he was elected president…. – WSJ, 11-6-10
  • Obama: US elections force ‘midcourse corrections’: Hampered by heavy election losses at home, President Barack Obama promised on Sunday from Indian to make “midcourse corrections” to reinvigorate his embattled domestic agenda in the face of a testier American public and more combative Congress….
    The president agreed that people vented their frustration about the economy by sacking many incumbents. A “healthy thing,” he said, even though his Democratic Party suffered, losing control of one of the chambers in Congress. He said he would not retreat on spending money for energy and education, and offered no specific policy changes.
    But then he added that the election “requires me to make some midcourse corrections and adjustments. And how those play themselves out over the next several months will be a matter of me being in discussions with the Republican Party.”… – AP, 11-7-10
  • Obama Says Vote Turned on Economy: President Obama said in an interview broadcast Sunday night that he views last week’s mid-term Congressional elections as “a referendum on the economy” rather than a referendum on him, his policies or the Democratic Party.
    While he said he should be held accountable for the economy as the nation’s leader, he did not accept the suggestion that he pursued the wrong agenda over the last two years, and he focused blame on his failure to build public support for what he was doing or to change the way Washington works.
    In a session taped for CBS’s “60 Minutes” before Mr. Obama left for Asia, the correspondent Steve Kroft pointed out to the president that Republicans view the election as a referendum on him and the Democrats, and asked if he agreed. “I think first and foremost it was a referendum on the economy,” Mr. Obama said. “And the party in power was held responsible for an economy that is still underperforming.”… – NYT, 11-10-10
  • Weekly Address: President Obama Calls for Compromise and Explains his Priorities on Taxes Remarks of President Barack Obama Weekly Address The White House November 6, 2010: This week, Americans across the country cast their votes and made their voices heard. And your message was clear.
    You’re rightly frustrated with the pace of our economic recovery. So am I.
    You’re fed up with partisan politics and want results. I do too.
    So I congratulate all of this week’s winners – Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. But now, the campaign season is over. And it’s time to focus on our shared responsibilities to work together and deliver those results: speeding up our economic recovery, creating jobs, and strengthening the middle class so that the American Dream feels like it’s back within reach….
    Here’s why this lame duck session is so important. Early in the last decade, President Bush and Congress enacted a series of tax cuts that were designed to expire at the end of this year.
    What that means is, if Congress doesn’t act by New Year’s Eve, middle-class families will see their taxes go up starting on New Year’s Day.
    But the last thing we should do is raise taxes on middle-class families. For the past decade, they saw their costs rise, their incomes fall, and too many jobs go overseas. They’re the ones bearing the brunt of the recession. They’re the ones having trouble making ends meet. They are the ones who need relief right now.
    So something’s got to be done. And I believe there’s room for us to compromise and get it done together.
    But at a time when we are going to ask folks across the board to make such difficult sacrifices, I don’t see how we can afford to borrow an additional $700 billion from other countries to make all the Bush tax cuts permanent, even for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans. We’d be digging ourselves into an even deeper fiscal hole and passing the burden on to our children.
    I recognize that both parties are going to have to work together and compromise to get something done here. But I want to make my priorities clear from the start. One: middle class families need permanent tax relief. And two: I believe we can’t afford to borrow and spend another $700 billion on permanent tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.
    There are new public servants in Washington, but we still face the same challenges. And you made it clear that it’s time for results. This a great opportunity to show everyone that we got the message and that we’re willing, in this post-election season, to come together and do what’s best for the country we all love. – WH, 11-6-10

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

President Barack Obama places a wreath at the base of the Yongsan    War Memorial
The President places a wreath at the base of the Yongsan War Memorial, White House Photo, Samantha Appleton, 11/11/10
  • Lawrence Goodwyn: The Great Predicament Facing Obama: What happened to the dream of Barack Obama’s transformational politics? There’s been very little deviation from the disastrous Bush years on the key issues of war, empire and the distribution of wealth in the country. I turned to Lawrence Goodwyn, historian of social movements whose books and methods of explaining history have had a profound influence on many of the best known authors, activists and social theorists of our time. Goodwyn’s account of the Populist movement, Democratic Promise, is quoted extensively by Howard Zinn in People’s History of the United States, and also in William Greider’s masterpiece on the Federal Reserve, Secrets of the Temple. You can find Goodwyn quoted in the first paragraph of Bill Moyers’ recent book, On Democracy, and cited in just the same way in countless other books and essays.
    I interviewed Goodwyn from his home in Durham, North Carolina about the pitfalls of recording American history, Obama’s presidency in light of previous presidents, and portents of change in our political culture…. – Alternet (10-30-10)
  • Can the Tea Party endure? CNN asks Michael Kazin: The midterm elections dealt a powerful blow to President Obama and the Democratic Party as the country appeared to shift decisively to the right, moved by mass anger, “due to a combination of two kinds of fear,” historian Michael Kazin told CNN…. Kazin, a professor of history at Georgetown University, editor of The Princeton Encyclopedia of American Political History and author of “A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan” and other books, spoke to CNN last week.
    CNN: Would Republicans have captured the House without the Tea Party?
    Michael Kazin: We historians hate counterfactual questions! But clearly, the aura of a grass-roots rebellion helped to obscure the fact that most of corporate America was rooting for the GOP and helping finance Republican campaigns. The specific policy ideas of the Tea Partiers mattered less than did their anger at the perceived sins of “big government” and of President Obama. As [political writer] Kevin Phillips once wrote, much of political conflict comes down to the question of “who hates whom.”… – CNN.com (11-7-10)
  • Julian Zelizer: GOP leaders, beware the newcomers John Boehner has a huge problem on his hands. Now that the elections are over, and Republicans were victorious, he will need to tame the passions of the GOP freshmen who are coming to town determined to change everything about the way that Washington works.
    If he does not, the Republicans could divide among themselves, thereby undercutting their ability to push forward legislation and giving President Obama an opportunity to challenge their competence….
    Just as Democrats would do well to remember that life wasn’t so great for Clinton after 1994, even with his high approval rates, Republicans would do the same to recall how a massive opportunity was wasted and ultimately consumed some of its own leaders. – CNN, 11-8-1
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