“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.

*************************************************************************

*
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.

*************************************************************************

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.

// more

******************************************************************************
*

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.

//

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.

// more

******************************************************************************

*

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.

// more

*****************************************************************************

*

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.

/// more, and very interesting.

*****************************************************************************
*
*
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.

:)

****************************************************************************

*

New Souza wonder:

*

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.
*
*
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.

*

*

“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.

// more

******************************************************************************
*

West Wing Week:

*************************************************************************
*
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.

*******************************************************************************

*

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.

//

“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.

**************************************************************************




“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.

//

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.

//

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.

*
*
A-MEN.

*
*
*******************************************************************

“For the first time in ten years, the light at the end of the tunnel of the U.S. war in Afghanistan is suddenly visible”

Michael Cohen:

To understand the implications of President Obama’s speech on Afghanistan this evening, perhaps the best place to start is not with what he said tonight in public, but what he allegedly said in private 18 months ago. Then, as he was making the decision to take the advice of his military and surge 30,000 troops to fight a war he had inherited, the President posed a leading question to his top general:

Inside the Oval Office, Obama asked Petraeus, “David, tell me now. I want you to be honest with me. You can do this in 18 months?”

“Sir, I’m confident we can train and hand over to the ANA [Afghan National Army] in that time frame,” Petraeus replied.

“Good. No problem,” the president said. “If you can’t do the things you say you can in 18 months, then no one is going to suggest we stay, right?”

“Yes, sir, in agreement,” Petraeus said.

Tonight the bill on that promise came due. Reporter Bob Woodward’s 2010 book-length account of the Obama administration’s decision to escalate in Afghanistan shows Obama siding with Petraeus in 2009, but only ambivalently and conditionally, and in a way that suggested he was willing to give the counterinsurgency strategy a chance but was not convinced of its success. If there is one overriding takeaway from Obama’s speech tonight, it is that the same President who 18 months ago was led by his generals into an escalation that he didn’t appear to fully support has now taken back control of his policy in Afghanistan. Right now, that means leading U.S. strategy down the path of de-escalation. As Obama said, this not the end of the war in Afghanistan, but it’s certainly the beginning of America’s effort to “wind down the war.”

// more serious non-hair-on-fire read

“Obama makes good on his promise…growing from a cautious new President into a commander in chief asserting control over the military”

Hi guys,

Today’s busy schedule:
10:00 AM
PBO and VPB meet with House Democratic Leadership.

12:45 PM
PBO departs the South Lawn en route Joint Base Andrews.

1:00 PM
PBO departs Joint Base Andrews en route Fort Drum, New York.

2:15 PM
PBO arrives Fort Drum, New York.

2:30 PM
PBO meets with soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division.

3:10 PM
PBO meets with Gold Star Families.

4:15 PM
PBO departs Fort Drum en route New York City, New York.

5:10 PM
PBO arrives New York City, New York.

7:05 PM
PBO delivers remarks at a DNC event.
Sheraton Hotel and Towers

8:00 PM
PBO delivers remarks at a DNC event.
Daniel

9:50 PM
PBObama delivers remarks at a DNC event.
Broadway Theatre

11:05 PM Obama departs New York City, New York en route Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

**************************************************************************

***********************************************************************

Ryan Lizza:

Tonight, President Obama will announce a timetable for withdrawing the “surge” troops sent to Afghanistan that is bolder than many expected. Though the news is slightly surprising, it’s worth noting that Obama’s aides have been arguing for a very long time that the President was serious about the Afghan withdrawal. This past spring, when I was reporting on Obama’s foreign policy, here’s what Ben Rhodes, a deputy national-security adviser, told me about drawing down troops:

We’ve done that in Iraq. And in Afghanistan, we’re going to begin to implement that approach in July. But there shouldn’t be any doubt about that. And anybody who does doubt that should just look at how the President kept his commitment in Iraq. When he says he’s going to steadily draw down U.S. forces, he means what he says.

One of the themes of my piece about Obama’s foreign policy was that the President seemed to be growing in office as he dealt with a series of complicated foreign-policy crises. Two case studies of that growth and confidence are the evolution in his policy on democracy in the Middle East and the evolution of his policy on Afghanistan. On the former, Obama moved from a crabbed realist pose to a more risky but principled embrace of democracy, even at the expense of stability. On Afghanistan, it is a story of Obama growing from a cautious new President, overly deferential to his military advisers, into a commander in chief asserting control over them.

*****************************************************************************

Sullivan:

There is, as with the Iraq withdrawal, no triumphalism. But destroying half of al Qaeda’s leadership, including Osama bin Laden, as Americans struggle in a stubbornly sluggish economy, is good enough. The longest war in the history of America will come to an end … in three years’ time. It will have lasted thirteen years. And Obama’s pragmatism – his refusal to embrace either the Full McCain Jacket or the impulse to just get the hell out of there ASAP – has helped him.

//

For more than 200 years, the United States would not have dreamed of occupying Afghanistan, the graveyard of empires. We intervened in a just cause, and, thanks to Obama’s callibrated resilience and new focus on al Qaeda, and the brilliance and bravery of the armed forces, we have done our job. We can never care more about a country’s future security than the people of that country care about it themselves. That much we have learned. And the core goals of that original impulse have been achieved. The perpetrator of 9/11 is dead, and, more to the point, discredited. And the neoconservative dream of a democratizing Arab world as the only ultimate solution to the threat of Islamism has come true.

Because the United States did not impose it.

************************************************************************

Chris Good:

// snip

The president’s delivery was good — crisp, decisive-sounding, not much hesitation or deliberation in his voice. The speech was well rehearsed, which was how Obama probably needed to sound.
But we saw, on Wednesday night, a president clearly pulled in different directions. Obama’s speech was aimed at a domestic audience mostly opposed to the war. We heard promises that the war, really, is going to end. “Afghans are fighting and dying for their country,” Obama told us, speaking to those who may think Americans shouldn’t be fighting and dying for Afghanistan. Most of the explanations for why we’re there, given by Obama tonight, involved the attacks of 9/11. It was, in many ways, an anti-war speech, not justifying a continued, nation-building presence, but justifying Obama’s own foreign policy — advertising a minor drawdown, sometimes echoing the buzzwords of opposition to president George W. Bush’s wars. At the same time, the president advertised progress.

// more

***********************************************************************

Michael Tomasky:

The president of the United States, whether it’s Barack Obama or George W. Bush or Charlie Sheen, has one chief job here: to make sure that Afghanistan does not fall back under Taliban control. That’s a president’s bottom line, period. Imagine that you are the president and one day—let us say a day during the year when you’re seeking reelection—the headlines blare that the Taliban are back in Kabul, just as they were in 1996. You are in all likelihood finished politically. More importantly, you have arguably exposed your country to further harm. That would be any president’s bottom line, more than a “war-weary” public, more than your electoral base, more than anything. And let’s face it, it’s especially true for a Democrat.

//
So I cut Obama more slack on this question than a lot of people do. There will be complaints that drawing down 33,000 troops by the end of 2012 means that 66,000—more than when he took office—will remain. Those people complaining aren’t the president.

// more

**********************************************************************

NYT: “Troop reductions are both deeper and faster than the recommendations made by the Pentagon. The speed and scope of this plan is striking”

Obama Opts for Faster Afghan Pullout

WASHINGTON — President Obama plans to announce Wednesday evening that he will order the withdrawal of 10,000 American troops from Afghanistan this year, and another 20,000 troops, the remainder of the 2009 “surge,” by the end of next summer, according to administration officials and diplomats briefed on the decision.
hese troop reductions are both deeper and faster than the recommendations made by Mr. Obama’s military commanders, and they reflect mounting political and economic pressures at home, as the president faces relentless budget pressures and an increasingly restive Congress and American public.

//

Mr. Obama’s decision is a victory for Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who has long argued for curtailing the American military engagement in Afghanistan. But it is a setback for his top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David H. Petraeus, who helped write the Army’s field book on counterinsurgency policy, and who is returning to Washington to head the Central Intelligence Agency.

Two administration officials said General Petraeus did not endorse the decision, though both Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who is retiring, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton reluctantly accepted it. General Petraeus had recommended limiting initial withdrawals and leaving in place as many combat forces for as long as possible, to hold on to fragile gains made in recent combat.

In announcing the withdrawals, Mr. Obama will fulfill a pledge he made in December 2009, when he coupled the deployment of 30,000 additional troops with a promise to begin winding down America’s engagement by the middle of this year. But the speed and scope of this plan is striking.

// more

****************************************************************************

Guys, just ahead of the speech tonight, I want to remind everyone that this place supports President Obama. We don’t have to agree with everything he does, but the one and only line that I have deep in the sand here – Is treating this man with complete respect. I suspect there will be all kinds of opinions here tonight, and I hope we’ll keep it civil. There’s more than enough hate and disrespect towards this president out there, let’s stick together.

Thanks.

CNN: President Obama to announce plan to pull 30,000 troops out of Afghanistan

If true, that’s a nice number, even if I hoped for a more rapid pace.

Washington (CNN) — President Barack Obama is expected to announce this week that 30,000 U.S. “surge” forces will be fully withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of 2012, an administration official has told CNN.
Obama will deliver his highly anticipated speech on the troop drawdown on Wednesday.

//

The president is expected, in his remarks Wednesday, to stress the importance of preserving flexibility in force levels on the ground so commanders can adjust as conditions warrant, the official said.
The drawdown will be accomplished by troops returning home and not being replaced as well as canceling some proposed deployments.

// more

*
*

President Obama Extends Protections To Gay Couples Under Medicaid

Hi Guys, 

More change you can believe in, but not hear about:

The Obama administration is set on Friday to issue policy guidance to states expanding their ability to offer same-sex couples the same protections afforded to straight couples when they receive long-term care under Medicaid, the Washington Blade has learned exclusively.

Under the new guidance, dated June 10, states have the option to allow healthy partners in a same-sex relationship to keep their homes while their partners are receiving support for long-term care under Medicaid, such as care in a nursing home.

Medicaid kicks in for a beneficiary to receive care after an individual depletes virtually all of their money. To pay for the beneficiary’s expenses under Medicaid, a state could impose a lein, or take possession, of a beneficiary’s home to pay for Medicaid expenses.

// more

********************************************************************************

*

Grrrrr, it’s Politico, but this story warmed my heart to no end:

Barack Obama still sells sandwiches

Nearly a week after President Barack Obama’s unannounced visit to a Rudy’s Hot Dog joint in Toledo, Ohio, the residents of Five Points are still abuzz about the unexpected presidential visit to their neighborhood.

“The locals have been driving me nuts and going crazy,” said Harry Dionyssiou, whose family operates six Rudy’s diners. “Everybody wants to sit at the same table, on the same chair that the president sat in; they want to eat the same thing that he ate.”
// snip

Even after the initial hype over the president’s visit has quieted, the financial benefits for business owners are long lasting. The media spotlight can help raise a restaurant’s profile, putting a little-known local spot on the national dining landscape and turning it into a destination eatery for tourists.

“We make over 1,000 po’ boys a day, and that number has really gone up since the president’s visit,” said Eileen Nix, co-owner of Parkway Bakery & Tavern in New Orleans, which the Obama family visited in August. (The first couple had shrimp po’ boys; daughters Sasha and Malia ordered hamburgers.)

David Thornton, who co-owns the Tastee Sub Shop in Edison, N.J., said business is still up 10 percent since the president stopped by his shop almost a year ago.

“We can tell that there is still sort of a buzz about it,” said Thornton, who framed a picture of Obama with a sub in his hand. “One person came in shortly after the visit and sat in every chair to make sure he sat in the same chair as the president.”

//

Garrett Graff, editor of Washingtonian magazine, said the Obamas eat out “more than any other first family in recent memory. George W. Bush only rarely ventured out. Bill Clinton ate out some, but I don’t think he was as regular or at as diverse a list of places as Obama.”

Public relations experts say there is no better publicity than the “celebrity halo effect” that follows a restaurant visit from the president of the United States.

It’s huge,” said Dean Small, founder and managing partner of Synergy Restaurant Consultants. “It’s like getting an official seal from the president that says, ‘This is where I choose to eat.’”

Obama’s impromptu visits also help raise morale in communities that have struggled during the economic downturn, said Dick Eppstein, president of Toledo’s Better Business Bureau.

“Toledo is a proud city, but we’ve had a very tough time, so a presidential visit really boosts everyone’s spirits,” he said.

Nix, who was raised in New Orleans and will turn 59 next week, said Parkway Bakery & Tavern is a family business that bears the scars of her city. In 2005, two years after the restaurant opened, Nix and her brother Jay shut down the store when it was submerged in more than 6 feet of water after Hurricane Katrina swept across Louisiana. Parkway reopened in December of that year.

Just five years later, the restaurant was hit again — this time by the BP oil spill that devastated the fishing industry along the Gulf Coast. For Nix, the sight of Obama and the first lady eating New Orleans shrimp po’ boys and gumbo spoke louder than any political speech.

“The president was just one man doing his best and trying to correct problems from the past,” Nix said. “He ate the shrimp to let people know that everything will be OK.”

*************************************************************************************

*

OMG. One more pretty good story from Politico. Somebody over there is going to get fired soon…

Obama shows charm on campaign trail

// snip

“If anything, loosening up on the campaign trail is even more necessary for this president than most, because he is by nature far more formal than at least his most recent predecessors, and to say that 21st-century American culture is ‘loose and informal’ is to understate the case considerably,” said Clark Ervin, who served on Obama’s transition.

“Nowadays, regrettably in my view, the last thing the average voter wants in the White House is an intellectual, and since this president is the quintessential intellectual, it’s a wonder — another wonder, his race, heritage, short stint on the public stage being others — that he was elected in the first place”.

// more

************************************************************************************

*

Fingers crossed:

Second Half 2011 U.S. Growth Rebound Intact

Slowdowns in consumer spending and employment will prove temporary, giving way to a U.S. growth rebound in the second half of 2011, economists surveyed by Bloomberg News said.

After growing at a 2.3 percent annual pace this quarter, the world’s largest economy will expand at a 3.2 percent rate from July through December, according to the median forecast of 67 economists polled from June 1 to June 8.

Rising exports, stable fuel prices, record levels of cash in company coffers and easier lending rules will be enough to overcome the damage done by one-time events like poor weather and the disaster inJapan, economists said. Nonetheless, the current slackening means Federal Reserve policy makers will wait even longer to raise interest rates next year, the survey shows.

“The economic headwinds are well known, but if you look at the tailwinds, they are still pretty strong,” said Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Inc. in Lexington, Massachusetts. “There are a lot of reasons to be fairly upbeat about the recovery. Growth will pick up in the second half.”

// more optimism

**********************************************************************************

*

Could this be true?

Qaddafi’s son has approached rebels to negotiate an exit from power for his father

************************************************************************************

*

West Wing Week:

*

********************************************************************************

*

Yea, a picture worth and all that…:)

Well, Matt Damon isn’t gonna like that…(Updated)

Richard Gere gives PBO glowing review. Thanks snoopy4eva2

****************************************************************************

One of those great little things that president does every day and no one knows:

President Obama Drops by Youth Initiative De-Brief

Yesterday afternoon, I had the privilege of leading a meeting with 10 incredible young Americans who had participated in the “100 Youth Roundtables” Initiative and came to Washington, DC for a de-brief with President Obama, his Senior Staff, and DC-based youth advocates.

The young leaders were joined by Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, Nancy-Ann DeParle (Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy), Zakiya Smith (Senior Policy Advisor for Education), Macon Phillips (Director of Digital Strategy), and myself in the Roosevelt Room of the White House for a listening session on the topics that young leaders discussed in their respective roundtable sessions all over the country. The leaders briefed the White House on their conversations and solutions around jobs for young people, youth entrepreneurship, workforce development, energy & the environment, global poverty, racial & ethnic profiling, human rights, and LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) policy.

Halfway through the meeting, President Obama dropped by (with Bo in tow), and after meeting everyone, took a seat and talked about a range of topics: from the economic situation to climate change, education, incarcerated youth, Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell, the Social Work and Reinvestment Act, and civic engagement.

// more

*************************************************************************

Good one from Booman:

As I have said, and will continue to say, Michigan should be so grateful to the president for saving the automotive industry that they ought to name all their schools after him, name roads for him, and put statues of him up in all their county courthouses. I’m not kidding. John McCain would have let the whole industry go broke, including all the suppliers. In fact, that’s what all the Republican candidates for president would have done. Mitt Romney made this abundantly clear at the time by penning and editorial entitled “Let Detroit Go Broke” for the New York Times. As Romney travels through Michigan today and tomorrow, former governor Jennifer Granholm is asking potential donors to Let Mitt Romney Go Broke. That seems about right. Yet, the Upper Midwest just went through a political cycle where they chose to elect Republicans for nearly everything. This was probably the dumbest reaction I’ve ever seen, and the regret people are feeling is completely predictable.

In truth, any state that makes Chryslers, Fords, or General Motors cars should never consider voting for a Republican again. We have to convince them of this, however, as the other side continues to make their case based on revisionist history and outright lies.

************************************************************************************

PBO’s visit to the Northern Virginia Community College in Alexandria, Va. to highlight the need to prepare the workforce to compete for manufacturing jobs across the country.