DADT is dead. One more campaign promise kept.

Hi guys,

I don’t know if you remember, but last month, when PBO had that big LGBT fundraiser in NYC, he said that “in a matter of weeks” the Pentagon will certify that the military is ready to end ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ once and for all. Well, “in a matter of weeks” means “in a matter of weeks”, and today, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will make the official recommendation , and in 60 days this awful, awful law will be dead and buried, never to be seen again (Unless characters like Dan Choi and the rest of the fake-progressives will convince people, yet again, not to vote next year, and then they’ll just deserve whatever comes). 



Today’s schedule: 

9:30 AM
The President and The Vice President receive the Presidential Daily Briefing
Oval Office
11:00 AM
The President participates in a Town Hall on the on-going efforts to find a balanced approach to deficit reduction
College Park—Ritchie Coliseum, University of Maryland
1:35 PM
The President meets with Prime Minister Key of New Zealand
Oval Office
2:20 PM
The President and Prime Minister Key deliver statements to the press
Oval Office
2:45 PM
The President meets with Secretary of Defense Panetta and Admiral Mullen
Oval Office
Closed Press
3:30 PM
The President meets with Ambassador Karl Eikenberry and Mrs. Eikenberry
Oval Office


I have to say that with all due respect to the proven political skills and the enormous experience of a guy like Lawrence O’Donnell – I don’t think he gets this president the way he think. IMO, anyone who really know this man, understand that he’s not engaging in the usual Kabuki in this deficit circus – He is dead serious about doing a big deal, as he shows again in this column he wrote for USA Today:

/// snip

….That’s why people in both parties have suggested that the best way to take on our deficit is with a more balanced approach. Yes, we should make serious spending cuts. But we should also ask the wealthiest individuals and biggest corporations to pay their fair share through fundamental tax reform. Before we stop funding clean energy research, we should ask oil companies and corporate jet owners to give up the tax breaks that other companies don’t get. Before we ask college students to pay more, we should ask hedge fund managers to stop paying taxes at a lower rate than their secretaries. Before we ask seniors to pay more for Medicare, we should ask people like me to give up tax breaks they don’t need and never asked for.

The middle class hasn’t just borne the brunt of this recession; they’ve been dealing with higher costs and stagnant wages for more than a decade now. It’s just not right to ask them to pay the whole tab — especially when they’re not the ones who caused this mess in the first place.

Raising revenues: a bipartisan position

A balanced deficit deal that includes some new revenues isn’t just a Democratic position. It’s a position that has been taken by everyone from Warren Buffett to Bill O’Reilly. It’s a position that was taken this week by Democrats and Republicans in the Senate, who worked together on a promising plan of their own. And it’s been the position of every Democratic and Republican leader who has worked to reduce the deficit in their time, from Ronald Reagan to Bill Clinton.

There will be plenty of haggling over the details of all these plans in the days ahead. But right now, we have the opportunity to do something big and meaningful. This debate shouldn’t just be about avoiding the catastrophe of not paying our bills and defaulting on our debt. That’s the least we should do. This debate offers the chance to put our economy on stronger footing, restore a sense of fairness in our country, and secure a better future for our children. I want to seize that opportunity, and ask Americans of both parties and no party to join me in that effort.


West Wing Week:


Wall Street Reform first anniversary:

This must be one of my fave Michelle Obama photos. It moved me to tears. Just look at the variety of faces and colors. Sometimes a picture is worth even more than 1000 words. Well done, Samantha Appleton.


And, thank youChristine for this hilarious shopping bag:

“As long as economic recovery would work to the political benefit of Barack Obama, the Republicans have been, are, and will be in favor of sabotaging the economy”

Not a big revelation, but still a terrific and really upsetting piece from Michael Tomasky:

It’s about time the Democrats started saying openly what has been clear for months or even years now—that as long as economic recovery would work to the political benefit of Barack Obama, the Republicans have been, are, and will be in favor of sabotaging the economy. Senators Chuck Schumer and Dick Durbin made the point in a press conference in the Capitol Thursday. Noting that his GOP colleagues are coming out against business tax cuts (read that again: Republicans against tax cuts for businesses) that Democrats happen to support, Schumer said, “It almost makes you wonder if they aren’t trying to slow down the economic recovery for political gain.” Well, not almost. Certainly. And I don’t “wonder.” I think it’s obvious. But this is a start.

Washington is a city of conspiracies, but far and away the most pernicious one is the fiction, in which one must participate if one wants to be regarded as a “serious” person, that both parties are more or less equally to blame for the present malfunctioning of our democracy. One hears this all the time at the sort of panels, dinners, and seminars I attend. The topic is our energy future, our fiscal prospects, whatever. Discussion turns to obvious remedies, which inevitably involve the government taking some minimal amount of action, or the investment of a few modest public shekels. The symposiast will then note, sighing forlornly, that we appear to be light years away from consummating even these modest actions. He will then bemoan a vague “lack of political will” or “absence of leadership” as the reason for the inertia.
Nonsense. There’s nothing vague about it. It’s crystal clear. We can’t do these things because of the extreme nature of the Republican Party and the right-wing noise machine that enforces such rigid ideological purity. Period and end of story. I think most people at these panels and dinners know this deep down. But it’s thought impolite to say it. Often it’s a technical violation of law to say it,

/// More, and a must read


Mitt Romeny, crook and liar:

Mitt Romney released a much-discussed new video today that hammers away at the “Obama Misery Index” and features one Ryan King of Midland, Michigan, who has fallen on hard times. King, a recent college grad, talks in somber, apolitical tones about his economic situation, claiming he has $3 to his name and that he eats bologna sandwiches because they’re cheap.

“Frustration is the big word,” King says, claiming that prospective employers want experience, even for jobs he’s qualified for. “My hands are tied…how am I gonna get experience if no one will hire me in?”

“Is it my fault that I can’t get a job?” he says. “To a certain point, you just start losing faith in yourself.”

It turns out there’s a bit more to King’s story than that, though.

In 2009, King was identified in the local press as the vice treasurer for the Midland County Young Republicans. He seems to have been a local Republican operative since; his Facebook page shows him partying away at the 2011 state GOP convention.

King’s employment history is also unclear. As late as May, he boasted on his Facebook page of getting a job at Quality Marketing Enterprise in Midland, as a marketing accounts rep. “Got the job, booya!!!” he exclaimed.

// more



You can’t touch the swagger, you just can’t.




This is simply awesome:

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


“You know, Mich, you won’t believe what these folks are going through. It’s not right. We’ve got to fix this” (Updated)

Hi guys,

It’s Puerto Rico day:

9:30 AM
The President departs Miami, Florida en route San Juan, Puerto Rico
Miami International Airport

9:40 AM
First Lady Michelle Obama will deliver remarks at a Democratic National Committee breakfast in Oakland and luncheon in San Francisco.

11:45 AM
The President arrives in San Juan, Puerto Rico

11:55 AM
The President delivers brief remarks at a welcome event
Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport

12:55 PM
The President visits La Fortaleza

2:00 PM
Vice President Biden hosts a meeting at with a bipartisan group of Congressional lawmakers to work on a legislative framework for comprehensive deficit reduction.

2:55 PM
The President is interviewed by El Nuevo Día and Univision of Puerto Rico

3:50 PM
The President attends a DNC event
Caribe Hilton
Closed Press

4:00 PM
The President departs San Juan, Puerto Rico

8:05 PM
The President arrives at Joint Base Andrews


PBO’s interview with the quite obnoxious Ann Curry is here.


Here’s an extraordinary part from Michelle Obama’s speech at the DNC fundraiser in Pasadena yesterday. You should read the entire remarks, but this just moved me so much, I read it breathless.

// snip

Now, let me tell you something about your President. That’s what I see when he returns home after a long day traveling around the country, I mean, doing things you wouldn’t imagine that a single person could do in the span of 24 hours. And he always tells me not about how hard the day was but about the people he’s met along the way.

And I see in those quiet moments late at night, after we’ve put the girls to bed, and he’s hunched over his desk, and he’s reading everything — letters people have sent him. That’s what keeps him motivated. He reads those letters. A letter from the woman dying of cancer whose health insurance wouldn’t cover her care. Those are the letters he’s reading. The letter from the young person with so much promise, but so few opportunities.

And I see the sadness and the worry that’s creasing his face. And I hear the passion and the determination in his voice. He says, “You know, Mich, you won’t believe what these folks are going through.” He says, “It’s not right. Still not right. And we’ve got to fix this. We have to do more.”

And what some of you know, who has spent any time with Barack, is that when it comes to the people he meets and the stories he hears, he has a memory like a steel trap. I mean, it’s a gift. He remembers everything. He can retain so much information, substantively — stories, background, and children. He might not remember your name, but if he’s had a few minutes and a decent conversation, he will never forget your story. It becomes imprinted on his heart. And that is what he carries with him every day –- that collection of hopes, and dreams, and struggles.

That is what your President does. That’s where he gets his passion. And that’s why he works so hard every day. I mean, this man doesn’t take a day off. The President of the United States works every day. There isn’t a problem that faces this world that doesn’t come across his desk, with an expectation of completion.

Starting first thing in the morning and going late into the night, hunched over every briefing, he reads every word of every memo so that he is more prepared than the people briefing him, writing notes, asking questions. That is who your President is. That’s who you elected, because all those wins and losses, trust me, are not wins and losses for him. They’re wins and losses for the folks whose stories he carries with him, the folks he worries about and prays about before he goes to bed at night.

And in the end, for Barack Obama, and for me, and for so many of us here, that is what politics is about. It’s not about one person. (Applause.) It is not about one President. We talked about this. This election was not about Barack Obama. It’s about how we work together to make real changes that make a real difference in people’s lives on the ground. The young person attending college today because she can finally afford it. The mom or dad who can take their child to a doctor today because of health care reform. Those are real changes for people. You may not hear them on the news all the time, but that’s helping folks. The folks who are working on the line today at places like GM, and bringing home a good paycheck to their families.

Now, more than ever, we need your help to finish what we’ve started. We need all of you to be with us on the next phase of our journey. And I’m not going to kid you, it is not going to be easy. And it is going to be long. It was never supposed to be easy for Barack Obama. Did anybody think that? (Laughter.) Was anybody under the impression that this was going to be smooth and easy? Well, I wasn’t. (Laughter.) It’s going to be hard. And there will be plenty of twists and turns along the way.

And I know you all have been riding that roller coaster, rolling — oh, my god, what’s he doing now — and why isn’t he — oh, why did he — why isn’t he saying — boy, it’s — we hear you. (Laughter.)

But here’s the thing about Barack –- and this is something I’d appreciate even if he hadn’t shown the good judgment to marry me. (Laughter and applause.) But even in the toughest moments — and I have seen him every step of the way for every fight, for every decision — when it seems like all is lost, and we’re all wringing our hands, and I’ve done it to him, too — what’s going to happen, are we going to be okay — (laughter) — Barack Obama never loses sight of the end goal. He is always an end-goal game player. He’s not looking right here. He’s looking way down the road. (Applause.) And he never lets himself get distracted by the chatter and the noise. It doesn’t faze him. He just keeps moving forward, step by step. That’s how change happens. (Applause.)

And in those moments when we’re all sweating it, when we’re worried that that bill won’t pass, or the negotiations might fall through, Barack always reminds me that we’re playing a long game here. That’s how he reassures me. It’s not about today. It’s about our future. It’s about these kids. It’s not about us.

He reminds me that change is slow. Nothing worth having happens in an instant. He reminds me that change does not happen all at once. It never does. Never has. But he tells me that if we keep showing up, right, if we keep fighting the good fight, and doing what we know is right, then eventually we will get there, because we always have. When you think about it, we always have gotten to the right place in this country.

And that’s what he needs from you. All of you. That’s why I’m back out here on the campaign trail. He needs you to be in this with him for the long haul, the end game. He needs you to hold fast to our vision and our values and our dreams for our kids and for our country. He needs you to work like you’ve never worked before. Every day.

And that’s what I plan on doing, because I am not doing this just as his wife. I never have. I’m not doing it because I’m the First Lady. I’ll be doing it because I’m a mother. (Applause.) I want to leave a legacy for our girls that I can be proud of. And more than that, I will be doing it as a citizen who knows that we can do great things together to change this country for the better, because the truth is, no matter what happens, my girls will be okay. My girls will have plenty of advantages and opportunities in their lives. And that’s probably true for a lot of families here, for a lot of your kids, as well.

But I think the last four years have shown us the truth of what Barack has always said: That if any child in this country is left behind, then that matters to all of us — (applause) — even if she’s not our son or our daughter. If any family in this country struggles, then we can’t be fully content with our own family’s good fortune. We can’t just sit back and let our neighbors struggle, because that’s not what we do in this country. That’s not who we are.

In the end, we cannot separate our own story from the broader American story. And that, I know. I’ve seen it. Like it or not, we are all in this together. And that’s not so bad. (Applause.)

So I know that if we all put our hearts and our souls into this, if we do what we need to do during the next couple of years, then we can continue to make the change that we believe in. We can. And I know that if we do that, we can build the country that our children deserve.

So I have one last question to ask you. Are you in? (Applause.) I mean, are you ready for this? (Applause.) Because I am in. (Applause.) And I hope that you all are fired up. (Applause.) And I hope that you all are ready to go — (applause) — because it is going to take all of our energy to keep moving towards the future.

I look forward to working with you all hard in the years ahead. Thank you all, God bless, keep praying, keep working. (Applause.) We are so grateful to all of you. Thank you so much.


“I see the sadness and worry that’s creasing his face”

This, from Michelle, made me tear up a little bit. 

….Michelle Obama, in a sleeveless blue dress, stood at a podium beneath a tree bursting with lavender flowers.

She began by recounting her husband’s journey to the White House, beginning with the moment he told her he wanted to run for President.

“I wasn’t exactly thrilled at the idea,” she said. “I still had some cynicism about politics, that was my hesitation.”

But she said she was transformed on the campaign trail after hearing the stories of everyday Americas. She recalled a campaign stop in Iowa before the Democratic primary there, where she grew so comfortable with the people she was chatting with, she kicked off her heels.

“I was just standing barefoot in the grass, just talking to people,” Obama said.

She said the moment made her realize that campaigning is “about meeting people one-on-one and learning about what was going on in their lives.”

And it led to a revelation about Americans: “Whether you grew up on the South Side of Chicago or Iowa, our stories are shared.”

Obama then listed some of the things her husband has done in office during his first two years. “We’ve gone from an economy that was on the brink of collapse to an economy that is starting to grow again,” she said.

She also mentioned healthcare reform, the passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Act and the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. She praised “justice” in the killing of Osama bin Laden, and the withdrawal of troops from overseas.

“We are responsibly ending the war in Iraq and have brought home 100,000 servicemen and women,” she said.

The First Lady talked about the toll that his work had taken on her husband.

“I see the sadness and worry that’s creasing his face,” she said.

She described his work ethic as tireless.

“He reads every word, every memo, so he is better prepared than the people briefing him,” she said. “This man doesn’t take a day off.”

Obama said the next few years of campaigning would be difficult at times for the Obamas and their supporters. “It is not going to be easy, and it is going to be long,” she said. “Now more than ever we need you help to finish what we started.”

Chancellor Merkel at the White House (Photostream)

Hi guys,

It’s Germany day at the WH. A joint press conference is scheduled to 11:35 ET. The State Dinner is 7:35 PM ET. All day is life here. I’ll try to update throughout the day, and I’m guessing that with the media in its Obama-Is-Done agenda at full force, we can train our not-very-strong no-drama muscles, and to use the link on the right to harass the media. Have a good day.