“I was so impressed, so emotional, tears come down my eyes”

Whenever I see one of those clips, it’s like entering a parallel universe. And a good one. 

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Interesting NYT story about the early days of PBO’s campaign:

Obama Retools 2008 Machine for Tough Run

Under the cover of an intensifying Republican nominating contest, the Obama campaign’s top fund-raisers gathered for their first meeting here last week. To galvanize them, they were shown a presentation of potential rivals, including Sarah Palin, and given access to senior advisers to the president, including the White House chief of staff, William M. Daley.

They pledged to reach a fund-raising goal of $60 million before June 30 as a first installment to create a state-by-state organization. Their goals include reactivating the network of supporters, registering young and Latino voters and fighting restrictive new election laws in battleground states now led by Republicans.

// snip

Advisers said the president was just beginning to plug into the campaign, and even then, sporadically. While the campaign manager here, Jim Messina, briefs him on the organizational effort, aides said Mr. Obama was not focused or very interested in the nitty-gritty details, for now.

“He’s doing his day job,” Mr. Messina said in an interview at his new office overlooking Millennium Park. “When he and I are talking about these things he wants to know, ‘What are we hearing on the ground?’ ”

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“How Obama is shoring up federal authority over Medicaid”

Hi guys,

Some stuff from the last few days. Have a great weekend.

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A quick look at the week of May 30th on WhiteHouse.gov:

Joplin: President Obama visits Joplin, MO to meet with those in the community who lost so much in the tornados last week and participate in a Memorial Service at Missouri Southern University.

Small School, Big Dreams: Labor Secretary Hilda Solis delivers the Commencement address at Bridgeport High School in Washington, one of the top three finalists in the Race to the Top Commencement Challenge.

West Wing Week: “One Step at a Time” takes you to Joplin, Poland, Arlington and inside the Situation Room with President Obama.

LGBT Pride Month: Kicking off Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month, the Office of Public Engagement has launches a new webpage. And here’s the Presidential Proclamation.

#UrbanSummit: Russell Simmons gives his thoughts on entrepreneurship and small business in America, in anticipation of Urban Entrepreneurship Summit. Join the conversation on twitter #UrbanSummit.

What’s on Your Plate?: First Lady Michelle Obama and Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin unveil the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s new food icon, MyPlate.

Cutting Red Tape: The U.S. Department of Energy encourages cities to cut the red tape that can push up the price tags on solar energy projects.

Youth Round Tables: The Office of Public Engagement wraps up  the “100 Youth Round Tables” Initiative, ensuring that young people’s voice is heard in government.

Memorial Day: The President honors our nations fallen, speaking at a Memorial Day Service at Arlington National Cemetery: “Honor the Sacrifice of Those We’ve Lost”.

Get Prepared: The Federal Emergency Management Agency announces June 1st as the start of hurricane season, and gives tips on how to keep you and your family safe.

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Ezra Klein:

At the heart of Paul Ryan’s plan for Medicaid is a tectonic shift in the federal government’s authority over the entitlement. In the Wisconsin Republican’s proposal to “block grant” the program, states would receive a fixed amount of federal money for Medicaid — and much greater leeway to change the program’s structure — rather than an uncapped, formula-based contribution with many strings attached. The Ryan plan, along with other more incremental GOP proposals, would fundamentally alter the federal government’s role in structuring, overseeing, and administering Medicaid, abdicating much of this authority to the states.

In the face of such challenges, the Obama administration is quietly taking steps to reassert and strengthen the federal government’s authority over Medicaid. A few weeks ago, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services rolled out a proposal that could make it more difficult for states to cut rates for doctors, hospitals, and other providers in Medicaid—one of the many ways that cash-strapped statehouses are trying to save money.

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Ron Klain: Give Obama a Victory Lap for Auto Rescue

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Of all the policy challenges I saw Obama tackle in my two years in the White House, none was more complex than turning around the U.S. auto industry. When the president took office, the industry was in free fall. Sales of cars and trucks, which had topped 17 million in 2006, fell to 10.6 million in 2009. Two of America’s three major automakers were insolvent, kept alive by weekly inflows of federal cash. U.S. automakers had an unsustainable cost structure, were badly trailing their foreign competitors in the production of fuel-efficient and electric vehicles, and seemed unable to make the hard choices needed to arrest their downward spiral.

// more and recommended

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Booman: Who Saved Michigan, Who Wanted it to Fail?

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If Mitt Romney goes on to win the Republican nomination and face the president in the fall of 2012, I hope the voters of Michigan see an unending loop of that New York Times headline. “Who saved Michigan? Who wanted it to fail?”

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Administration to Indiana: Fund Planned Parenthood

Efforts to defund Planned Parenthood on the state level took a big hit yesterday when the administration finally weighed in and deemed Indiana’s effort to prohibit Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicaid funding illegal. A letter from Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) head Donald Berwick made clear that “Medicaid programs may not exclude qualified health care providers from providing services that are funded under the program because of a provider’s scope of practice. Such a restriction would have a particular effect on beneficiaries ‘ ability to access family planning providers.”

Indiana was the first to sign a funding ban into law, but it’s not the only state considering it. To those states HHS also issued a memo re-iterating the point that denying Medicaid funding because of the services a clinic provides violates the Social Security Act.

// more

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For us, polls-obsessed:

PPP: For Obama, Iowa 2012 looks like Iowa 2008

Raleigh, N.C. – When PPP polled Iowa last month, President Obama was tied with 2008

caucus winner Mike Huckabee and four points ahead of second-place finisher Mitt

Romney in a state he ended up winning over John McCain by almost ten points. But in

the intervening weeks, with Huckabee bowing out of consideration, the president has

moved into a much more comfortable position.

His current 49-40 lead over Romney (up from 45-41) is exactly the margin by which poll

respondents report having voted for Obama over McCain, meaning these voters are just

as ready to re-up the president as they were to give him his first term. Against everyone

else, the president leads by larger margins than his victory over McCain, topping Sarah

Palin, 55-35 (53-36 in April), and two candidates not tested previously: Tim Pawlenty,

49-37, and Herman Cain, 50-32. Obama leads by 19 to 38 points with independents, and

takes 7-13% of the GOP vote while losing only 5-10% of his own party.

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That’s more like it:

Democrats Break Down Impact Of GOP Medicare Plan District By District

House Democrats have broken down the massive changes to Medicare and Medicaid proposed by the House GOP into a convenient take home size.

Democratic Reps. Henry Waxman (CA) and Frank Pallone (NJ), voters can now see what Democrats say is the direct impact of the Republican plan to turn Medicare into a voucher system on every congressional district in the country.

The map is here.

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