Ass, meet your kicker!

Okay, that press conference was sweet. And the professional left freak out over us not willing to accept their nonsense anymore is sweet. And ex-Scalia-clerk ruling health care reform constitutional is sweet.

Greg Sargent: Obama picks fight with GOP over tax cuts for the rich

The primary goal of President Obama’s presser, which just wrapped up, was obvious: He was clearly out to pick a major public fight with Republicans over tax cuts for the rich. Obama mounted a surprisingly aggressive moral case for ending high end tax cuts, casting it as a test of our society’s priorities, and argued — crucially — that anyone who fails to support ending them is fundamentally unserious about the deficit.

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Chris Cillizza: Obama the confrontational

President Obama had a simple message for congressional Republicans in a press conference Wednesday: Stand up and lead.

Obama, often in harsh and stark terms, condemned the approach that House and Senate Republicans have adopted in the final stretch of the negotiations surrounding the increase in the nation’s debt limit.

“They’re in one week, they’re out one week,” said Obama of Congress. “And then they’re saying Obama needs to step in. I’ve been here.”

He repeatedly challenged Republicans to make compromises in order to adopt a truly “balanced approach” to the debt deal; “Call me naive, but my expectation is leaders are going to lead,” he said.

Obama’s confrontational approach toward Congress extended beyond the debt negotiations — seeping into answers he gave on job creation, the broader economy and Libya.

On each issue, Obama cast himself as the adult in the room and Congress as an irresponsible child — unwilling to sacrifice their desire to score political points for the good of the country.

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politicususa: Obama Seizes The Bully Pulpit And Tells Congress To Do Their Job

Obama described the debt ceiling deadline as, “The yellow light is flashing but it hasn’t been a red light yet. . . . By August 2, we run out of tools to make sure that all our bills are paid.” If the U.S. defaults, “the consequences for the U.S. economy will be significant and unpredictable.”

The president hinted that his two daughters have a better work ethic than Congress, “Malia and Sasha generally finish their homework a day ahead of time. . . . They’re not pulling all nighters. They’re 13 and 10. You know, Congress can do the same thing. If you know you’ve got to do something, just do it.” Obama then contrasted his schedule with that of Congress, “I’m here. I’ve been dealing with Afghanistan, the debt crisis, Greece. I’m here. Congress is in one week, out the next.”

Obama then delivered the money quote of the press conference, “We have meetings and discussions and … [then] they decide they’re not happy with the fact that at some point you have to make a choice. They all step back and say — ‘The president needs to get this done.’ At a certain point they need to do their job.” Obama then hinted that Congress might be kept in session until they actually do their jobs.

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And, if you didn’t read Andrew Sullivan’s excellent defense of PBO’s gay rights record and work, you should.

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Heads-Up: President Obama Speaks In Iowa

at 2:05 PM ET here.

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OFA money-bomb continues here.

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PBO gave an interview to Joe Madison this morning. You can listen here.

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Seem like Americans mostly agree with PBO’s decision about Afghanistan.

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“It’s almost like they just want to cheer and feel good about themselves rather than have good legislation pass”

John Cole:

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Cuomo and the NY politicians were very carefully advancing the issue in a delicate manner, allowing this to be a vote of conscience for the Senators, free from the usual heightened levels of partisan rancor. Things were proceeding nicely, everything pointed to a win for gay rights the next night, and Obama didn’t need to do anything to “lead.” In fact, if Obama had gone up there and delivered what these clowns wanted, and gave a rousing speech claiming he had changed his mind, it would have done nothing but blown up the current negotiations. How many Republicans who were supporting the vote would have backed away, simply because Republicans could not give Obama a “win.” The vote of conscience would be gone, and it would become a partisan battle and the vote would probably have failed.

I swear, it is almost like these idiots don’t understand politics, don’t understand risk and reward, and do not understand strategic thinking. The vote was going to pass- why would Obama do anything to insert himself into the issue and possibly blow things up? Hell, I was worried that just him appearing at the fundraiser would blow things up.

It’s almost like they just want to cheer and feel good about themselves rather than have good legislation pass.

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“President Obama Wants to Scrap $72 Billion Corporate Tax Break as Republicans Balk” (Updated with new Souza stuff)

Hi guys,

First, our money-bomb week is in full force: here and here.

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Today’s schedule:

9:50 AM PBO receives the presidential daily briefing.

10:30 AM PBO and VPB meet with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

12:30 PM Carney briefs the press.

1:35 PM PBO welcomes the MLS champion Colorado Rapids to the White House.
5:00 PM PBO and VPB meet with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

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You think we’ll hear anything about from the PL?

Obama Wants to Scrap $72 Billion Corporate Tax Break as Republicans Balk

Barack Obama’s proposal to end a business tax break worth $72 billion is among the tensions the president may confront as he meets today with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in an effort to revive bipartisan talks over reducing the debt, three persons familiar with the issue say.

Ending the so-called last-in-first-out, or LIFO, provision, a method of accounting for inventory costs, was among options offered by White House officials for raising $400 billion in revenue over 10 years during seven weeks of negotiations led by Vice President Joe Biden, the people said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to comment publicly.

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Few excellent things to read and SPREAD:

Obama DREAMs On

The DREAM Act is dead in Congress, but the White House is quietly moving to limit deportations of undocumented immigrants with strong ties to the US.

Hamstrung by a politically deadlocked Congress, the Obama administration is using executive authority to shape immigration policy instead. Obama’s immigration chief has advised officials to take pause before moving to deport certain undocumented immigrants who are particularly vulnerable or have strong community ties to the country—some of whom may have qualified for the DREAM Act, the bill that provides a pathway to citizenship for certain students, military veterans, and other undocumented youth that’s currently stalled in Congress.

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According to the memo, there is a range of factors that federal agents, attorneys, and other officials should consider in deciding whether or not to pursue an individual undocumented immigrant for deportation. The list of “factors to consider” includes whether they are military veterans and their families, have family ties and “contributions to the community,” act as caretakers of the infirm and disabled, are very young or very old, or are pregnant or nursing.

In addition, the Obama administration instructs federal officials to weigh the circumstances of immigrants’ arrival to the US—especially if they came as young children—and whether they’ve graduated from high school, college, or are currently pursuing higher education. The memo explicitly states that no groups of immigrants are categorically excluded from deportation if they fit these criteria. But it emphasizes the need to “warrant particular care” when it comes to particular individuals, while advising officials to target serious felons, repeat offenders, known gang members and immigration fraudsters, and those “who pose a clear risk to national security.”

Pro-immigration advocates have cheered the memo for its potential to blunt the most punitive parts of the existing immigration law through the executive branch, in the face of Congressional inaction on the issue.

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Obama shifts from consensus to instincts on key calls

The Obama administration’s top national security officials were gathered around the polished wooden table of the White House Situation Room to hear Gen. David H. Petraeus argue for a slow drawdown of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

The military needed time, he said, to secure the eastern part of the country as it had done in the south.

President Obama quickly made clear his disagreement. More important, he said, was the administration’s goal of shifting responsibility for the country’s security to the Afghan government, which would let him bring home troops.

As a senior administration official put it, “He asked everyone, if we’re serious about transition, then when? When are we going to do it?”

“Everybody came out of that meeting knowing the president wanted to go this direction,” said the official who described the scene, “even though it wasn’t the pace that Gen. Petraeus was recommending.” A week later, last Wednesday, Obama announced plans to withdraw the 33,000 “surge” troops he sent to Afghanistan.
To some who had attended the meeting, the encounter — and the president’s willingness to overrule key advisors — brought to mind another meeting four and a half months earlier.

On that occasion, Obama and his top advisors were discussing the rapidly unfolding events in Egypt. Most top administration officials had been advising the president against calling for President Hosni Mubarak to step down.

But as the discussion went along, the television monitors in the Situation Room showed an angry crowd in Cairo’s Tahrir Square yelling, “Leave! Leave! Leave!” in response to Mubarak’s televised speech refusing to resign.

Obama watched, and then told his aides, “Look, guys, this is not going to go back into the box.” The president said he would call Mubarak and tell him to step down, and he would deliver a public statement calling for a transition to begin immediately.

The decision took aides by surprise. In retrospect, it seemed a sign of things to come.

In the first two years of Obama’s presidency, his top aides had grown accustomed to a process in which Obama drew out and explored the views of his full team and searched for a consensus — decision by ballot, some called it.

Increasingly, however, that process has changed, according to a wide group of Obama’s personal friends, informal advisors and top aides interviewed during the spring. In recent months, they say, the president has been relying more heavily on his own instincts and feeling less impelled to seek accord among advisors.

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Hope still part of Obama campaign message for 2012

CHICAGO — Immediately inside President Barack Obama’s campaign headquarters is a sign counting down days to the election (507 as of Saturday ) and a poster that reads, “Respect. Empower. Include. Win.”

The words are set against familiar Obama blue but carry the feel of something from a motivational bin at Staples, a subtle reminder of the challenge facing the re-election effort taking shape on an entire floor of the Prudential building in downtown Chicago.

Voters in 2008 gravitated in waves to Obama’s promise of “hope” and “change,” transforming slogans into the powerful ethos of a movement. But Obama is an insider now — the target of Republican calls for change — and hope has been buffeted by a poor economy, spiraling national debt and relentless partisan rancor in Washington.

To persuade Americans to stick with him in 2012, an array of strategists say, Obama will have to find the right balance of past and future, emphasizing accomplishments while promising to guide the country out of a still dark time.

“At the end of the day, he’s got to talk about hope again,” said Garry South, a Democratic strategist based in California. “Not in the theoretical way he did in 2008; rather that if ‘we all pull together, there will be a better tomorrow.’ ”

Obama’s team indicates the emphasis will be along those lines, though only hints are given of an overarching theme.

“Elections are always about the future. This president has taken on some difficult issues and fights with the future in mind. We’re pressing forward here,” said David Axelrod, Obama’s chief strategist.

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And how sweet is this?

Obama fulfils promise as 9/11 victim’s teen daughter meets Justin Bieber

New York, June 27: US President Barack Obama has made a 9/11 victim’s teenage daughter’s dream of meeting her heartthrob Justin Bieber come true.
For Payton Wall from New Jersey, meeting the teen music sensation was really an uplifting moment after suffering the tragic death of her father in the attacks on the Twin Towers.

Obama brightened her life by making good on his promise to set up a meeting with his ‘buddy’ Bieber, after a request from the teen at last month’s Ground Zero wreath laying ceremony.

“It was so cool. I couldn’t even believe it,” the New York Post quoted her as saying.

Wall got a private sit-down with the Canadian crooner at Macy’s in Herald Square, along with her sister Avery and best friend Madison Roberson.

They met Bieber just moments after a near-riot among fans outside the store where the singer was promoting his fragrance ‘Someday.’

“He just said ‘Hi’,” said Payton, admitting that she was more nervous being around Bieber than the president.

:)

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New Souza wonder:

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Dear Rachel Maddow, Goodbye.

We are so done. Whatever respect I still had for you has gone when you lied last night, saying that the president is against what happened in NY. Sheer lie. You’ve got a brilliant potential, but until you’ll grow up and stop undermining the most progressive president we had in decades and one of the most progressives presidents ever – I have no interest in what you have to say. Good luck appointing a Republican president and Republican congress. We’ll see how long all the things that PBO did for gay rights will stay in place.
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BTW, Remember when PBO asked David Paterson to quit so Cuomo can run and win the election? Remember the scandal-of-the-day back then? Stupid unprofessional left have no idea how politics works, and that a real civil rights change ALWAYS comes from the people in the streets, or as PBO said again and again: “Change never starts in Washington, change comes to Washington”.

Congrats, New York, congrats civil rights movement, congrats America. This is a great day.

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“Barack Obama, the national security president”

Hi guys,

If you didn’t see PBO’s speech at the LGBT fundraiser in NY last night - You should.

Obama: I Oppose Discrimination, “I Was Born That Way”

President Barack Obama traveled to New York on Thursday for several fund-raisers with LGBT donors where he celebrated his accomplishments to date but stopped short of an endorsement for marriage equality before asking for more support.

During his speech at the $1,250-a-plate Democratic National Committee LGBT Leadership gala in Midtown Manhattan, Obama said that he believes “that gay couples deserve the same legal rights as every other couple in this country,” but he did not explicitly say that marriage is one of those fundamental rights.

In the appearance before LGBT donors, Obama spoke to some 600 people, where he received a warm reception for work toward repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, issuing the directive not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, hospital visitation rights, a comprehensive AIDS strategy, and appointing the first openly transgender person to federal office, which received the loudest applause.

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West Wing Week:

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A bit of good economic news:

Data points to underlying factory strength

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – New orders for U.S. manufactured goods and a gauge of business spending plans rose in May, easing fears of a sharp slowdown in factory activity.

Durable goods orders increased 1.9 percent after dropping 2.7 percent in April, the Commerce Department said on Friday.

An improvement across the board in May and revisions to April’s figures that showed smaller declines than previously reported, pointed to underlying strength in a sector that has powered the economic recovery.

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Well, of course, whenever he doesn’t need to work with congress, his awesomeness is limitless:

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) sought to paint then-Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) as too inexperienced to lead the country in a dangerous world.

“Obama and congressional liberals…too risky for America,” said the narrator of a McCain ad that aired in the final month of the campaign.

Three years later, Obama finds himself in a vulnerable political position heading into his 2012 re-election race — thanks in large part to the continued struggles of the American economy.

His saving grace? Ironically, it might just be his leadership on national security and terrorism.

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“Beyond his competence, voters are going to have to believe in his leadership — that America will be secure and safe under him,” said Democratic pollster Fred Yang. “And ironically, given the heavy focus by the Obama campaign in 2008 on domestic issues, his handling of foreign policy since he became president will likely be an important asset.”

Remember that presidential elections tend to turn less on the candidates’ position on any single issue than the overall feeling that he (or she) engenders in the public.

Put more simply: Intangibles matter. And Obama’s polling strength on national security could well help the incumbent win over voters who are on the fence about his overall performance during his first four years in office.

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“George Bush and his Neocon allies got America into two costly wars. Barack Obama is getting America out of those two wars” (Updated with chart)

Gaaaa, I hate to link to Huff-Crap, but how can I not link to this…

Robert Creamer:

Like many Progressives I would have preferred a faster time table for withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan. But that does not diminish the fact that President Obama’s announcement of his plan to end the Afghan War provides a good opportunity to consider that massive qualitative differences between his foreign policy and that of the previous administration.

First and foremost, George Bush and his Neocon allies got America into two costly wars. Barack Obama is getting America out of those two wars.

When Obama took office the United States had 180,000 troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. We now have 150,000 troops in those countries. By the end of the year that number will drop to 100,000 and to 70,000 by next summer.

The combat mission in Iraq ended last year. All troops will leave Iraq by the end of next year.

Obama has indicated that all American troops will depart Afghanistan by 2014, with the prospect that their combat mission will end before that date.

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Obama promised to focus like a laser on Al Qaeda, and he did it.

Instead of concentrating on America’s true terrorist enemies, Bush and company focused on Iraq and downplayed the importance of Bin Laden — who it now turns out was still very much in charge of the Al Qaeda network up to the time of his death.

And let’s remember that the swaggering but hapless Bush Neocon crowd presided over the worst attack on the American homeland since Pearl Harbor — ignoring intelligence warnings of a pending assault.

Finally, Bush’s unilateralist, bull-in-a-china -shop approach, sunk America’s reputation in the world to record lows. Obama has restored America’s standing in the world.

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Some have argued that U.S. support of military intervention in Libya stands in contradiction to the view that his foreign policy is qualitatively different from the policies of the past administration. I could not disagree more.

In fact, the approach we have taken to Libya is an example of that difference. In Libya, the United States is a part of a true multi-national effort to protect the Libyan population from a leader that had vowed to kill thousands. That action was called for by the international community through UN resolutions — and by the Arab League.

We have no troops on the ground and now provide only logistical support for airplanes flown by our allies.

It is hard to imagine that anyone who demands — quite correctly — that the world should never again stand by and allow another Darfur or Rwanda or Srebrenica should oppose Obama’s policy in Libya. U.S. policy in Libya does not stand in the tradition of Iraq. It stands in the tradition of the successful multi-national policy in the Balkans that ultimately (though belatedly) saved thousands of lives and ended a bloody ethnic war.

I, for one, am proud that Benghazi did not become Barack Obama’s Rwanda.

When he ran for President, Obama promised to end the War in Iraq, refocus America’s resources on Al Qaeda, bring the conflict in Afghanistan to a close, and restore America’s role in the world. He is keeping those promises.

In summary, whatever you believe about the pace of withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, it is critical that Americans recognize the sharp, qualitative difference between the Neocon policies that cost America so dearly and President Obama’s policies that have restored America’s leadership in the world.

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A-MEN.

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