Heads-Up: Facebook Townhall at 4:45 EST. (Updated with photos)

41,000 people confirmed their participation, You can watch it almost everywhere, but as always, the best place is here. Streaming starts at 4:30.


Couple of small, but sweet stories:

S.F. teens get opportunity to attend Obama event

Getting into a presidential fundraiser usually is a matter of how many big checks you can write. But thanks to a Good Samaritan with political connections, a group of teenagers from some of San Francisco’s toughest neighborhoods will be among the movers and shakers on hand to see President Obama’s major campaign event tonight at the Masonic Auditorium.

The kids are “thrilled” by the opportunity to be with the president tonight, said Rob Connolly, president of the San Francisco Boys and Girls Club, which serves 16,000 youths in nine clubs throughout the city.

Connolly said the teenagers chosen for tonight’s program are living in situations where “poverty is prevalent and violence is prevalent – and they’re going to schools that are struggling the most.”

Still, they are “turning to the club almost every day,” he said. “They’re kids who are hungry for a bright future and they’re taking responsibility for it, even though they recognize the hurdles.”

The unusual opportunity comes as a result of Boys and Girls Club board member Lorna Randlett of San Francisco, an executive at the McKinsey & Co. consulting firm, who lead the drive to get the club’s most outstanding teen leaders – those who have been who have been involved in jobs and community service programs – into the event.


“I’ve seen some of these kids, and their struggles are heroic,” she said. “But they get themselves past the gunfire and they want to go to college. … Seeing President Obama will be an inspiration to them.”


President Obama to attend the April 29 launch of space shuttle Endeavour


The president will bring his wife, Michelle, and two daughters, Sasha and Malia, to the launch, now scheduled at 3:47 p.m. a week from Friday

Sources close to the discussion said several factors played into his decision to attend.

For one, Obama already plans to be in Florida that day for a commencement address at Miami Dade College. Secondly, the Endeavour launch carries major significance — beyond the emotion expected to accompany the sunset of the 30-year shuttle program.

U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., severely wounded during an assassination attempt in January, also is planning to attend and watch her husband, Endeavour commander Mark Kelly, lead a crew of six into orbit. Supporters see the trip as a sign she is recovering from her gunshot wounds.

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83 thoughts on “Heads-Up: Facebook Townhall at 4:45 EST. (Updated with photos)

  1. Just bringing this over from the last thread (h/t Jovie and gn) –

    (Newser) – The Obama administration has drafted an executive order that would force all companies seeking government contracts to disclose their donations to groups airing political ads, as part of a multi-pronged attack on the kind of anonymous campaign spending Republicans walloped Democrats with last year. The FEC is also moving to restrict the money that subsidiaries of foreign corporations can spend on elections, and the SEC last month issued a decree that could give shareholders more say in such expenditures, Politico reports.

    Taken together, the moves would accomplish something similar to the campaign finance reform legislation Congress punted on last year. The US Chamber of Commerce blasted Obama’s order as “an affront to the separation of powers … (and) to free speech,” arguing that it would lead to “a political litmus test” for would-be government contractors. But Democrats and transparency advocates love it, with the president of one pro-campaign finance reform group calling disclosure “essential public policy.”


    This is another winning issue for Dems, to the point I wish this wasn’t so under-the-radar. I want the GOP to have to defend donor secrecy, IIRC over 70% polls during the midterms didn’t like the idea of mysterious secret donors to third party groups.

    Maybe Sen. Reid could put something on the Senate floor for a vote to bring it to the forefront.

  2. (h/t rikyrah@weeseeyou):

    Paul Ryan Gets Booed By Constituents For Opposing Tax Hikes On Rich (VIDEO)

    Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), architect of the House GOP’s budget, drew a resounding chorus of boos at a town hall appearance in his district after touting the benefits of tax cuts for the wealthy.

    In a video posted by ThinkProgress, an attendee at the event this week told Ryan that he believes the rich should pay higher taxes to help close the deficit and strengthen Social Security.

    “The middle class is disappearing right now,” he said. “During this time of prosperity, the top 1 percent was taking about 10 percent of the total annual income, but yet today we are fighting to not let the tax breaks for the wealthy expire?”

    Ryan protested that “We do tax the top,” before being drowned out by the audience’s jeers.



  3. Bringing this over from the other thread just for you, BWD. Hope this cheers you up a bit.

    Another blogger calls Greenwald out for his dingbat attacks on PBO. WP points out that GG is not helping the progressive cause and explains why:

    “None of this is to say that we should not criticize President Obama and push him to do more. But the danger of the Greenwald approach is that by focusing so much on disappointments from Obama, we threaten to reduce turnout among Democratic partisans and to leave average voters with the perception that the person they most associate with progressive politics has no base of support. The result of such impacts is to throw elections to Republicans, just as occurred in November 2010. What purist progressives like Greenwald seem to miss is that criticism should be done constructively, that progressives need to do their jobs of building political support for progressive policies, and that we also need to praise the President when he does the right thing. The Winning Progressive blog is all about getting progressives involved in taking those steps. It would be great if Greenwald and his followers would join us in this critical endeavor.”


  4. That’s our President and First Family. I think this is so important and very appropriate for this awesome event. We give thanks for Rep.Giffords’ recovery. This will be such a moment for their family, and we know that it will be moving for our First Family. We give thanks.

  5. It couldn’t have happened to a more deserving fellow. I noticed that the people in the video came prepared with the facts. I loved the elderly lady who was waving her papers at him! Thanks, gn! I immediately posted this to my Facebook page. If he knows that most jobs are created by small business owners, why hasn’t he and the republicans in the House done anything to spur small business growth? It would seem that they are the ones most deserving of tax breaks and subsidies than Big Oil and Big Business.

  6. Bump the CoC and the horse it rode in on! The president is performing his duty to protect and defend the U.S., and the U.S. is We, The People. I back the president on this EO. These companies shouldn’t be getting government contracts and working against our form of government at the same time by trying to change it from a democracy into an oligarchy that serves only the rich and powerful. Let the republicans, the CoC, Big Business, and Big Oil scream to their hearts’ desire. They weren’t screaming foul when they bought the 2010 elections by running all of those lying, misleading ads.

  7. The President and family with Rep Gifford’d recovery it’s going to be very, very big a very smart move by the WH.
    We are ready to watch PBO on Facebook tawmhall meeting here in the wine country, we have invited 10 of our neighbors over to watch the President we will have some fine wine and food. redy yes we are. he, he, he,.

  8. Paul Ryan has bitten off more than he can chew. He is no match for President Obama. The President let him put his plan out there because he knew that it would hang the Republicans. They walked right into a trap. No shock that as soon as the gentlemen mentioned the wealthy should have their taxes “raised,” Ryan tried to pivot and throw the word “small businesses” out there. I guess they have told that lie so long that they think that they can continue to use “small businesses” as a substitute for admitting that they don’t want to raise taxes on their corporate masters like Koch.

  9. I was saying on wsy, what we’re witnessing is an actual shift of the center over to the left. And it wasn’t done with stridency, bashing, or duplicity (such as labeling POTUS Republican). It was done by patiently explaining progressive ideas in a disciplined, non-hysterical, non-judgmental fashion. Thus those ideas sound like simple common sense. Pro-American common sense.

    This is a master strategist on display and his detractors would do better observing and emulating him rather than trying to control him.

  10. POTUS is literally a master strategist. This result right here is why having him in the WH is beyond worth the small things we have to do to keep him there.

  11. And this was in a district that he won with 68% of the vote. I bet a lot of those who were angry voted for him. I know he already has a declared opponent. I hope the Dem is a good campaigner because you know Ryan will have tons of money.

  12. @japa21, I think that Gov. Walker has awakened many people. They are paying closer attention now. They may be finally starting to actually listen to what the Republicans are saying, and clearly they don’t like it.

    @GN master strategist he is. I think that it is one of the main reasons that so many people from the right and left continue to throw stones. They are envious, and can only imagine having the creds that the President has.

  13. mel, your comments are always so uplifting. Keep them coming, and let those of us who can’t watch the townhall know what’s happening.

  14. The arguement that the CoC is going to be using is that this rule allows the adminstration to only dole out contracts to people who give to Dems and not Republican causes. Unfortunately, that can have resonance. The rule would have been better written if it was to have disclosyure upon receipt of the contract or the contract could be considered null and void.

  15. Music playing before townhall sounds sorta like “The West Wing” opening credits music.

  16. Well the markets had a great day. Unfortunately so did oil, going up over $4 per barrel and is now over $111. Now maybe somebody here can explain this too me. Gas prices are just a little below their all time high of a few years ago. But oil was $140 per barrel teh. So since it is still way below that high level, gas prices are up to where they were then. Why is that?

  17. I understand where the price per barrel is coming from, but either gas should have been higher when it was $140/barrel or lower now.

  18. Hi Everyone

    As I listen to the Facebook speech I am struck but the fact that he is just so good, a wonderful easy to understand series of answers. I love this man.

  19. True, but based on what we have seen, the republicans and corporatists will holler real loud anyway if it has anything to do with PBO, so we’re darned if we do, and we’re darned if we don’t. And besides, there was no more partisan administration than that of GWB. I’m sick of them not being given at least a little taste of what they’ve been dishing out all of these years, and I’m tired of democrats cowering every time the republicans get a little “upset” about something. I’m ready to face them without shame and without feeling I have to apologize to them to soothe their “hurt” feelings when they don’t care what they do and to whom they do it. As for me, they’ll get no more free passes. I’ve never known them to be as outrageous in the past as they are today, and it’s time to stand up to them.

  20. Thanks, Majii, for highlighting my post on Greenwald. I am glad you liked it.

    As we enter a major battle over the future of our country, it is critical that we make sure everyone realizes how truly destructive the Greenwaldian approach is.

  21. Darn I missed the townhall. I signed up, then got stuck at work. Hope it went great.

  22. Right when he goes to shake hands, I see that great photographer that I’m ashamed to say I have such trouble remembering his name. But there he is, snapping away. *S*

  23. He was amazing. I can hardlywait for the video to be put on the white house website so I can slice it up.

    My latest bright idea is to embed videos of the presidents remarks that relate to every blog post I make. So for example, today I have a post about solar panels at Santa Clara University, (thanks Jovie). So at the end of the article I will embed a clip of the President’s comments on energy.

    When we can do this on facebook in comments we make on blogs or in email. He is just so easy to understand and engaging. Folks who hear him will support him.

    Go Obama

  24. I totally agree WiW. And I think President Obama just put another dent in the media firewall. Talk about circumventing the jackals of the White House Press Corps. They are basically becoming irrelevant. They can’t be counted on to present the facts to the American people. Hence the local media interviews, the policy speeches and the town halls.

    This Facebook town hall was fantastic. President Obama got to give long detailed answers to some pretty good questions without being interrupted. How many times do you think someone in the audience said – gee, I didn’t know that? This was a brilliant move. People forget he taught constitutional law. He knows how to get his points across. And he does it with such ease. He never ceases to amaze me.

  25. The President was his usual relaxed, perceptive, intelligent, and funny self in the Facebook townhall. The live audience was warm and enthusiastic. Sadly, there were a large number of haters making nasty comments online. I suspect Karl Rove, Dick Armey, and the usual suspects fomented that.

  26. Agree. This was great. President Obama, so smart and able to explain everything in such a clear, understandable and sensible manner. Anyone who watched has to be impressed. There’s no one better.

  27. Well said.

    President Obama is not screaming at conservatives. He’s gently but firmly trying to stir them in another direction. He’s guiding them, with compassion, letting them saving face a bit in accepting some of their ideas ( not many but some). In short, he’s “holding their hand”.

    Granted, he’s opposed by very very powerful interests. And the battle is not won yet. It will take lots of efforts to help him succeed. And I pray that his confidence in the goodness and common sense of the american people will pay off.

  28. Once again, as anticipated, the President hit it out of the park. His ability to cover complex problems with grace and humor is a wonderful thing toe behold.

  29. Someone once explained that the gas stations buy their oil in advance, so the price of a barrel shouldn’t impact the gas station prices so immediately, because if you are paying higher at the station when oil goes up, then you’re actually paying more for gas that cost the station less. That’s why the price gouging is so infuriating, because they change their price per the current cost per barrel, and then benefit even though the oil they’re selling was cheaper when they bought it. They’re not supposed to do that.

    I don’t know how accurate this explanation was – so I stand to be corrected. 🙂

  30. Remember last December when President Obama explained that he had VERY RELUCTANTLY accepted to let the tax breaks for the wealthy continue, but that this question would come back and he would WELCOME the debate ?

    THAT’S what he was thinking about.

    President Obama, unlike his most harsh critics on the left, understands that you can’t fight all battles at once. You have to phase them.

    Another example: have you noticed that he has brought back the subject of negociating drug prices ? Just a little mention in a speech, but make no mistake this discussion will come. Back in 2009-2010 during the health care battle, he understood very quickly that he couldn’t go against EVERY big lobby. He negociated a truce with Big Pharma and concentrated his efforts against Insurance Companies. The PL went nuts and screamed of treason. What they didn’t understand is that he was keeping the battle against Big Pharma for later. You wanna bet that he hopes to win this battle sometimes in his second term ??

  31. That was a great townhall!!! Our President is so smart. All the diverse questions and he can answer them so people understand. Why can’t the msm learn to ask questions people really want to know?

  32. You are amazing WIW!!! I feel so so fortunate to be able to benefit from your expertise. Thank you for using this to benefit this great president.

  33. Because they are not interested in answers or solutions. Their goal is to gin up nontroversy, poutrage, and yes, violence at times. All in the name of “ratings” for the almighty dollar.

  34. Extremely well said. And the insights that we gained via the nyt piece, particularly the story about President Obama as a child, cheerily dodging rocks and racial epithets thrown his way by other children in Indonesia while his mother insisted that adults not intervene to help him—that should provide some pause to those who think that they can “hammer” “force” “hold feet to the fire” or otherwise bash President Obama into doing as they’d like. He admitted at some point that he doesn’t love the trash talk and lack of appreciation, but there’s no way in h e double hockey sticks that this man is going to be “pounded” into doing anything with a namecall or hysterical person ranting on television.

    Insights for activists looking to actually work with the WH, rather than futilely trying to control President Obama.

  35. I agree , hopefruit2,but I keep hoping someone with integrity might actually show up.

  36. I’m still not finished with this story; reposting my comment from tpv:

    Dear Professional Left,

    You will never ever ever ever succeed with namecalling this President into submission or forcing him to do a *single* thing with your stridency. Never. Know why?


    Over lunch, Barry [President Obama in his childhood in Indonesia], who was 9 at the time, sat at the dining table and listened intently but did not speak. When he asked to be excused, Ann directed him to ask the hostess for permission. Permission granted, he got down on the floor and played with Bryant’s son, who was 13 months old. After lunch, the group took a walk, with Barry running ahead. A flock of Indonesian children began lobbing rocks in his direction. They ducked behind a wall and shouted racial epithets. He seemed unfazed, dancing around as though playing dodge ball “with unseen players,” Bryant said. Ann did not react. Assuming she must not have understood the words, Bryant offered to intervene. “No, he’s O.K.,” Ann said. “He’s used to it.”



    All of the S&M fantasies of smashing, slapping, kicking, and forcing President Obama to submit to whatever the PL is pushing of the day—those fantasies are just that, fantasies, some of them designed to appeal to a certain emotion for fundraising purposes.

    President Obama has been clearly (and IMO very deliberately) strictly trained from childhood to not care what hysterical and irrational people think about him, while simultaneously caring deeply about the people themselves. This is a very unusual person; schoolyard bullying is a humongous waste of time on him.

    xoxoxo, gn


    I’m sure that the PL will continue to bash and claim “victory” as the wheels of progress churn and POTUS continues to deliver key reforms, but anyone who is truly a serious advocate/activist (who is simply mistaken about the bashing and open to more effective advocacy) needs to take heed and think about how to develop a better working relationship with the WH.

  37. Excellent piece from JM Ashby over at Bob Cesca about Republicans. Here’s an excerpt:

    One area where Democrats consistently lose to Republicans is in the PR department, and the cause of that is multi-faceted but can be boiled down to one thing — Democrats don’t like to lie. 

    It’s a heck of a lot easier to out-message your opponent if you’re willing to make up total bullshit to do so and Republicans are more than happy to do that. Republicans lose on policy, and they know it, which why they stick to buzz-words and catchy phrases like “government-takeover” and “job killing.” That’s where they win. They win on messaging.

    That’s changing now, and not because Democrats have suddenly decided they are going to follow the Republicans playbook, but because Republican policy has gone so far to the right, and become so heinous, that the negative effects of their policies have become self-evident, self-incriminating, and self-deprecating.

    Read the whole thing. It’s really good.

  38. I heard a portion of Randi Rhodes show today and she was talking about this very thing. I haven’t had time to check it out, but trot over to her site at therandirhodesshow.com and see if she has something up about this.I will as soon as I get a chance.

  39. “They don’t like to lie”.

    Wow. This is not said often and I admit that I often forget this simple and obvious fact myself.

  40. Great to know – my sister virtually “attended” and said it was excellent, but I missed it.

  41. Good afternoon everyone..!! 😀

    Amazing town hall by Pres.Obama…I created a shortlink to the fb town hall…I tweeted that link to my 12,300+ followers and THAT LINK HAD 51,419 CLICKS..!!

    Fired Up..!!

    Ready To Go..!!!

  42. The way Paul Ryan handled his constituents in such a cavalier manner in this short clip proves to me more and more that he’s a snake in the grass.

    Looks like he holds these “dialogues” just so he can put a check in that box.

    Excuse the name calling, but how somebody who looks and acts like Eddie Munster could be so self-possessed and inordinately confident is beyond me.

  43. So true. Wanting fairness in the tax laws where everyone – poor, middle, rich, small business to Big/International businesses – must pay their fair share of taxes. This not right nor left, this is “C” Common sense. These people do not believe the lies that the Rethugs are selling.

  44. I will check it out, thanks. I missed RR’s today because my kittie was sick and I took her to the vet this afternoon (I am on Pacific time). I love RR’s and Stephanie Miller.

  45. I was so taken from the fact that at 9 yrs old he was “used” to be calling racial epithets. I remember at 11 yrs old when a white child called me the “n” word. I refused to give him the power to make me react. I ignored him until he physically hit me when I retalliated ( yeah, I hit him back and he ran away, calling me names). My mother did not say a word because I was defending myself. I knew that not everyone felt that way and attribited those actions to only that one person and not the entire race. I had white and hispanic kids who treated me better than some black kids when I attended a new school. I learned from that moment, it was not the group but the individual. I was very much like PBO growing up only here in America with almost the same situation and dealt with them the same way. Kudos to his mother and grandparents. They raised an exceptional man. I hope one day he writes a book honoring these very exceptional people who raised him.

  46. Wow, thanks for that link. It’s time that people realize that Greenwald is a libertarian, pure and simple. Pretty authoritarian in character too.

    His stance on immigration should be spread far and wide. It’s much worse than his ambivalence about Citizens United. At least in that case it could be attributed to a very short-sided legal mind. ( Sorry I’m not impressed even by his supposedly legal expertise; I’ve realized in the last year how short-sided he is and how he’s incapable of nuance.)

  47. That’s an excellent development, SR.

    And no, putting it under vote will not work. We now know the ‘track record’ of dems under this presidency.

    EO is the route to do it for now.

  48. Way to go tiger. Glad to see people hear building support for the PBO in smart ways.

  49. Theo,the explanation you give is really quite accurate. Gas prices are raised on the basis of the current price for a barrel of oil. Yet, most of the refined oil was bought by the Oil companies at a much cheaper price. A barrel of crude oil bought at today’s prices will take some time before its refined into gasoline. The price we are paying for gas at the pump today is primarily based on speculation and not on the actual cost of refined gas.

  50. Thank you so much WIW. You are really doing wonderful work! I hope OFA is aware of your work. They really could use your creativity and your positivity.

  51. Just a reminder to everyone looking at the GOP field and wondering about a dark horse: Rubio voted no on the budget alongside a small number of the GOP’s senatorial purist caucus.

    Senator Marco Rubio issued the following video statement regarding today’s vote on the FY 2011 budget: “I just couldn’t vote for this budget deal, which is a typical Washington deal. Our debt here is going to double in the next ten years. We have to start solving it now. We can’t wait any longer. We’re running out of time. And this deal just doesn’t do it.”


    Um hmm.

    He’s painted into a corner, because he came out strong for the Ryan extremist Medicare ending proposal.

  52. I wonder how the people of FL will reward him? Most likely put him back in office and once their Medicare and SS is gone, they’ll get buyers remose just life WI (sorry WI).

  53. The arguement that the CoC is going to be using is that this rule allows the adminstration to only dole out contracts to people who give to Dems and not Republican causes.

    And the argument against that is:

    Transparent government.

    It is not too hard to publish all of this, and let everyone come to his/her own conclusions …

  54. I agree gn. But we still have to work hard to bring in that magical second term. I live in Virginia and I believe that if we can again win here he will have that second term. That is why I will be working hard for this continuing the dream.

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