Category Archives: Barack Obama

6-Year-Old Asks Putin: Would Obama Save You From Drowning?


Russian President and 2005 Super Bowl championVladimir Putin’s annual televised Q&A is just getting more bizarre. Shortly after a celebrity call-in from NSA leaker Edward Snowden, Putin got a question from a six-year-old: did Putin think Obama would save the Russian president from drowning?

“I don’t want to be drowning, but…” Putin said. “I don’t think I have a close personal relationship with Obama. I think Obama is a courageous and good person. For sure he would save me.”

The question came three hours and forty-nine minutes into the Q&A. If that seems long, consider that Putin’s Q&A last year lasted a record four hours and forty-eight minutes.

Watch the clip below, via RT:   ALSO note that the video looks like it’s the entire session but when you click “play” it will go to the last 5 minutes of the session.


Filed under Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin

(Throwback Thursday) – Barack Obama’s 2004 DemConvention Speech

I ran across this video while exploring You Tube on my Roku device.   Looking back at the following speech I was so floored with his keynote speech then and now…so I wanted to share it with my TFC friends…

When Barack Obama launched into his keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, he was still an obscure state senator from Illinois. By the time he finished 17 minutes later, he had captured the nation’s attention and opened the way for a run at the presidency. A behind-the-scenes look at the politicking, plotting, and preparation that went into Obama’s breakthrough moment ~ David Bernstein



Filed under Barack Obama

Obama: ‘If Men Were Having Babies, We’d Have Different Policies’


On Thursday, President Barack Obama appeared at a college in Orlando, Fla., to pressure Congress into passing legislation aimed at easing the burden on women in the workforce. Flanked by a female audience members, the president said that women deserve paid sick days and equal pay with men. “If men were having babies, we’d have different policies,” he observed.

“Women are still earning just 77 cents on every dollar that a man does,” Obama said. “Women with college degrees may earn hundreds of thousands of dollars less over the course of her career than a man at the same educational level, and that’s wrong.”

“This isn’t 1958,” he added. “It’s 2014.” He said that he was pressuring Republicans to support The Paycheck Fairness Act, which he said they continue to block. “We’ve got to get them to change their minds and join us in this century because a woman deserves equal pay for equal work,” Obama said to applause.

“A woman deserves to take a day off to care for a sick child or a parent without running into hardship,” the president continued. “A woman deserves work place policies that protect her right to have a baby without losing her job.”

“It’s pretty clear that, you know, if men were having babies, we’d have different policies,” Obama said. “Right?”

Watch the clip:



Filed under Barack Obama, War On Women

The President’s Pivot

I like the author’s analogy.  I tend to speak about President Obama’s strategic moves in terms of playing chess, but having read Sun Tzu’s The Art Of War, I think Mr. Blow’s comparison is spot on…

The New York TimesCharles M. Blow

That quote, from Sun Tzu’s ancient Chinese treatise “The Art of War,” perfectly captures President Obama’s strategic victory over Tea Party members of Congress on the government shutdown and the debt ceiling debate. It also explains his immediate pivot to another topic that Tea Partyers hate and over which their obstinacy is likely to get the party hammered again: comprehensive immigration reform.

This is a brilliant tactical move on the president’s part. And Republicans know it.

As the G.O.P. was nearing its moment of collapse on the shutdown and debt ceiling, Representative Raúl Labrador, Republican of Idaho, said, “I think it’d be crazy for the House Republican leadership to enter into negotiations with him on immigration.” He continued: “And I’m a proponent of immigration reform. So I think what he’s done over the last two and a half weeks — he’s trying to destroy the Republican Party. And I think that anything we do right now with this president on immigration will be with that same goal in mind: which is to try to destroy the Republican Party and not to get good policies.”

The conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer laid out the president’s calculus more bluntly on Fox News: “With immigration, he wins either way. I’m not sure he thinks he can get it passed, seeing the resistance among the Republicans to the deal over the budget. I think he knows he’s not going to have a good chance of getting immigration through, but he thinks — and he’s probably right — that he can exploit this for the midterm election as a way to gin up support, for the Democrats to portray the Republicans as anti-immigrant, anti-Hispanic, etc.”

Republicans have a tough choice.

They can ride shotgun once again with the politically suicidal Tea Party faction, a group that the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found this week to be “less popular than ever.” They can allow the most strident voices on the far right that oppose comprehensive immigration reform — Rush Limbaugh has likened it to the Republican Party’s “authoring its demise” — to direct their path and further alienate Hispanic voters, who are increasingly coming to see the party as an unwelcoming place. Mitt Romney lost the Hispanic vote by 44 points last year, and the Republican National Committee’s own autopsy on that loss surmised:

“If Hispanic Americans perceive that a G.O.P. nominee or candidate does not want them in the United States (i.e., self-deportation), they will not pay attention to our next sentence. It does not matter what we say about education, jobs or the economy; if Hispanics think we do not want them here, they will close their ears to our policies.”

Or Republicans can take the less likely path and demonstrate that they’ve been cowed enough to move ahead on a major piece of legislation that is supported by the majority of the American people — a July Gallup poll found that 71 percent of Americans believe that passing immigration reform is important. And that would be good not just for the president’s legacy but for the health of the country as a whole.

In a 2012 paper published by the Cato Institute, Raúl Hinojosa Ojeda, director of the North American Integration and Development Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, used computing models to estimate the following:

“Comprehensive immigration reform generates an annual increase in U.S. G.D.P. of at least 0.84 percent. This amounts to $1.5 trillion in additional G.D.P. over 10 years. It also boosts wages for both native-born and newly legalized immigrant workers.”

Comprehensive immigration reform is the right thing and the thing that Americans want. But the far right is hardly concerned with what’s right and has little appetite for agreeing with the will of the majority of the American people (despite talking ad nauseam about standing up for the American people).

The far right is angry at the government and the man at the top of it. According to a Pew Research report released Friday: “Anger at the federal government is most pronounced among Tea Party Republicans. Fully 55 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who agree with the Tea Party say they are angry with the federal government — about double the percentage among non-Tea Party Republicans (27 percent) and Democrats and Democratic leaners (25 percent).”

They have been blinded by that anger. The president knows that. And he knows that blind soldiers don’t often win battles. In choosing to pivot to immigration reform, he has created a win-win scenario for himself and the Democrats. Clever, clever.


Filed under Barack Obama

Remember the pundits who urged Obama to cave?

MSNBCSteve Benen

Even as the American mainstream turned against congressional Republicans during the recent crises, there were quite a few Beltway pundits who urged President Obama to give in to GOP demands. We talked earlier about what lessons Republicans may have learned from this fiasco, but I can’t help but feel curious about what, if anything, commentators learned, too.

Let’s take National Journal’s Ron Fournier, for example, who argued just last week that Obama “must negotiate” with GOP leaders. He said it was necessary as a “matter of optics,” adding that Republican “obstinacy” is “no excuse.” (Remember, in context, “negotiating” with Republicans meant exploring what concessions the president was prepared to offer – in exchange for nothing – because GOP lawmakers said it was a precondition to their willingness to complete their basic responsibilities.)
Obama ignored the advice, showed some real leadership, and prevailed. A week later, with the benefit of hindsight, Fournier’s advice appears rather misguided.
Which is what made the National Journal writer’s new column that much more interesting.
Just as he did to John McCain in 2008 and to Mitt Romney in 2012, President Obama defeated a lame Republican political team. The GOP’s right wing foolishly shuttered the government and threatened default in exchange for an unreasonable and unattainable concession: Scrap Obamacare. He refused. The GOP caved.
It was all so predictable.
Hmm. If it was all so predictable that the president would stick to his guns and Republicans would cave, why did Fouriner argue – literally just last week – that Obama should stop sticking to his guns and start making concessions to Republicans?
The rest of Fournier’s argument is somewhat confusing. He wants to know, for example, if Obama can “lead.” Didn’t Obama just prove that he could “lead” quite well by winning this fight? In this case, Fournier suggests “lead” means “making Republicans do what they refuse to do,” which doesn’t seem like an altogether fair definition of the word.
The column goes on to ask if Obama “has the guts to anger liberal backers with a budget deal on Social Security and Medicare,” failing to mention that Obama has already angered liberal backers by offering a budget deal on Social Security and Medicare. Fournier also asks, “Is he willing to engage sincerely with Republicans?” overlooking all of the efforts the president has already made to do exactly that.
The columnist also wants to know if Obama wants “a legacy beyond winning two elections and enacting a health care law,” overlooking the Recovery Act, ending the war in Iraq, decimating al Qaeda and killing Osama bin Laden, rescuing the American automotive industry, reforming Wall Street safeguards, advancing civil rights, and scoring several major foreign policy victories.
Fournier says there are “any number of conservative Republicans with a pragmatic streak,” overlooking the fact that each of them have already rejected the notion of a balanced compromise on the budget. Fournier says facts about the shrinking deficit are “both technically wrong and selectively misleading” when they are in fact both technically correct and objectively true.
Fournier also uses words like “governing” and “success” as synonyms for “a center-right debt-reduction deal that most credible economists consider wholly unnecessary.”
The piece goes on to argue, “There is already a lack of seriousness in the air.” On this, I heartily agree.
Update: Fournier believes the item above takes his post from last week out of context. I disagree, but I’m eager for fair-minded readers to consider the relevant pieces and reach their own conclusions. Here’s his piece from last week, in which Fournier argues that Obama “can’t cave,” while also arguing that Obama “must negotiate” with Republicans who were demanding he cave. Here’s his piece from this morning, in which Fournier argues that the president’s posture against negotiation led to a “predictable” victory.
I continue to believe a fair and informed reading supports the observations published above, but I would encourage interested parties to read further and evaluate the arguments on the merits.


Filed under 10/2013 Shutdown, Barack Obama

Obama: You Don’t Get To Extract A Ransom For Doing Your Job

President Barack Obama speaks to the media at the White House as a government shutdown deadline looms over Washington.

Watch Video Here

NBC News

President Barack Obama on Monday again urged House Republicans to pass an eleventh-hour measure to avert a government shutdown, saying that conservatives are holding the government “ransom” over their objections to Obamacare.

“One faction of one party in one house of Congress in one branch of government doesn’t get to shut down the entire government just to re-fight the results of an election,” he said during a statement at the White House.

Obama said that a shutdown “does not have to happen” and can be prevented if House Republicans agree to pass the Senate’s version of a funding bill before midnight tonight.

“You don’t get to extract a ransom for doing your job, for doing what you’re supposed to be doing anyway” he said. “Or just because there’s a law there that you don’t like.”

The president’s statement comes as Congress remains deadlocked over a measure to keep the government funded after midnight tonight.

With the clock ticking towards the deadline, House Republicans announced earlier Monday afternoon that they intend to vote on a funding measure that includes a one-year delay of the individual mandate provision of Obamacare, a proposal that Senate Democrats are certain to reject.

In an interview with NPR News, Obama also reiterated that he will not accept such a delay.

“The notion that we would even delay [Obamacare] – simply because the Republicans have decided ideologically that they’re opposed to the Affordable Care Act – is not something that we’re going to be discussing.”

Obama made a similarly late-scheduled address last Friday, reiterating bluntly that he will not roll back his signature domestic policy achievement.

“The House Republicans are so concerned with appeasing the Tea Party that they’ve threatened a government shutdown or worse unless I gut or repeal the Affordable Care Act,” Obama said Friday. “Let me repeat it. That’s not going to happen. More than 100 million Americans currently already have new benefits and protections under the law.”


Filed under Barack Obama, Government Shutdown

Obama’s time away from the office

The Obamas’ vacation home in Hawaii. (

The more I interact via social networking, with people on “the right”, I hear them say that President Obama has taken more vacations than G.W. Bush and spent more money on those vacations than Bush.   I’m certainly going to pass this article on, but I also know that they won’t read it.  They’d rather remain in their little bubble and get their facts from the right-wing media…who seem to have a huge problem with facts.

The Maddow Blog

As August approaches, and President Obama schedules a little r-and-r at Martha’s Vineyard, there are apparently some predictable gripes on the right about his time off. The AP provides some context: “Obama has taken far less time away from the White House than his predecessor, George W. Bush, who spent weeks at a time at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. Obama has taken 87 days off, compared with 399 days for Bush at a similar period in his presidency, according to CBS News’s Mark Knoller, who keeps detailed records of presidential travel.”

Let’s put that in chart form to help drive the point home.

A lot of folks forget this, but Ronald Reagan set the record for most vacation days for a sitting president — a record that stood until George W. Bush passed Reagan’s seemingly unbreakable benchmark.

As for the current president, conservative gripes not withstanding, it’s just not realistic to think Obama has a credible chance of even coming close to GWB’s record. At comparable points in their presidencies, for every day Obama has taken off, Bush had already taken 4.5 days off. Obama could stay on vacation for the rest of 2013 and still not be within striking distance of Bush’s hyper-lazy pace. The former two-term Republican just didn’t care for working particularly hard.

I don’t imagine this will curtail criticisms of the president from the right, but unless these same folks complained about his predecessor, their objections are better left ignored.


Filed under Barack Obama

Why conservatives can’t whitewater Obama

President Obama has so far been able to emerge from "scandals" relatively unscathed.

President Obama has so far been able to emerge from “scandals” relatively unscathed.

The Week

The Republican Noise Machine is falling on deaf ears

Twenty years ago, conservative media mavens seemed able to turn any minor flap into scandal gold, be it a decade-old land deal that lost money or a mundane replacement of White House travel office staff. They even pressured Bill Clinton, early in his first term, to accept an investigation led by an independent special prosecutor, which years later led to his own impeachment. Liberals, in disturbed awe of the Right’s ability to control the media narrative, dubbed the conservative media the “Republican Noise Machine.”

Yet today, no matter how loud conservatives scream “Benghazi,” “Solyndra,” “Fast and Furious” and even “Intim-O-Gate” (Glenn Beck’s failed attempt to brand the IRS and leak investigation controversies), President Obama glides past. His poll numbers remain relatively stable.

There is not really a “what did the president know” drumbeat, and no suggestion he warrants independent investigation. Calls for Attorney General Eric Holder’s resignation died downfollowing his meeting with Washington media bureau chiefs. Benghazi lightning rod Susan Rice just got a promotion, and her Republican antagonists are pledging cooperation.

What happened to the Republican Noise Machine? Here are three reasons it’s sputtering:

1. Liberals finally learned how to fight back
When the 1988 George H. W. Bush presidential campaign derided Gov. Michael Dukakis with smear after smear, the Democrat fatally believed he could simply ignore it because “nobody’s going to believe it.” In the 1990s, Bill Clinton naively believed naming a special prosecutor wouldput to rest any doubts about his real estate dealings. In 2004, Sen. John Kerry thought he could wait a few weeks before responding to the “Swift Boat” attacks on his war record and avoid inadvertently spreading false smears.

But in 2008, the Obama campaign aggressively fought off smears, sometimes with high-profile speeches, sometimes by quietly getting factual responses in the hands of the media. And newly established outside groups like Media Matters provided big assists.

Today, the forward-leaning approach continues. Democrats are quick to challenge the credibility of chief Obama antagonist Rep. Darrell Issa. The work of left-leaning reporters thatdebunk hysterical conservative charges is rapidly shared, minimizing the echo chamber effect of smears being repeated by traditional media outlets for days and accepted as fact before any belated corrections materialize.

2. Conservatives have cried wolf too many times
Conservative firebrand Michelle Malkin futilely tried to tag Obama as fostering a “culture of corruption” in a book published merely six months into his presidency. Breathless charges of cronyism in the Solyndra matter proved to be baseless. You will not be surprised to learn that “Fast and Furious” was not a deliberate plot by Obama to ship guns to Mexican drug cartels, maximize cross-border gun violence, and con the public into accepting draconian gun control.These are a mere few examples of smears gone bust in the Obama era.

In turn, conservative muckrakers don’t get the benefit of the doubt anymore. Granted, the traditional media still lets conservatives stir the pot, happily broadcasting initial charges. But the media has been less inclined to let conservatives dump the pot all over the front pages with wild speculation, day after day after day.

3. When something does go wrong, Obama is quick to take care of business
Martha Johnson, resigned. Robert Peck, fired. David Chaney, resigned. Greg Stokes, indefinitely suspended without pay. Louis Caldera, resigned.

Don’t know who those people are? That’s because President Obama got rid of them fast enough to prevent their minor scandals from being exploited by Republicans and becoming extended media soap operas.

The itchy trigger finger has its downside: Agricultural Department state-level director Shirley Sherrod was infamously and prematurely whacked before it could be proven she was the victim of a dishonestly edited video charging her with anti-white racism. Liberal Obama detractors accused Obama of cowering in the face of right-wing bullying.

However, Obama’s overall record shows he is quite willing to fight back when he is standing on firm ground, yet also willing to jettison problem staffers when he sees their actions as indefensible. Sherrod’s ouster was just one mistake out of haste. But Obama’s basic approach of speedy decision-making has served his purposes of preventing low-level scandals from metastasizing.

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Filed under Barack Obama, GOP Conspiracies

TIME Exclusive: President Obama’s 1979 Prom Photos

From left: Greg Orme, Kelli Allman, Barack Obama and Megan Hughes at Allman’s parents’ house in Honolulu.

Wait for it…wait for it, I gauarantee you Obama haters and conspiracy nuts will have a field day deciphering this evidence of Obama’s youth activities.


This article appears in this week’s magazine underneath the title, “Obama’s Grand Old Party.” 

Tucked away in someone else’s shoe box of adolescent artifacts, there might be a picture of you in garish clothes and with an outdated ‘do, your arm around a high school squeeze. The President of the United States is no different. These previously unpublished photos, obtained exclusively by TIME from Obama’s schoolmate Kelli Allman (née McCormack), show a 17-year-old Barack Obama on the night of his senior prom.

Barry spent his days at the Punahou School in Hawaii studying, shooting hoops and goofing off with his friends. Greg Orme, a fellow varsity basketball player, was Obama’s constant companion. “They were like brothers,” says Allman. On prom night, the pair double-dated. Obama and his date Megan Hughes, a student at the Hawaii School for Girls at La Pietra, joined Orme at Allman’s house, where the two couples sipped champagne before going to the dance and then an after-party. “It was a really fun, happy time. We were all cracking up, and everyone was smiling,” says Allman. “It was pretty typical from there out as far as what happens at prom: the dinner and the dancing and the photos.”

Millions of American teenagers will go to proms this year. Their photos are more likely to be stored on Facebook than in a shoe box. But it’s fun to imagine that in one of those pictures, there’s a girl in a pastel dress or a lanky guy in a white sport coat who will end up becoming the leader of the free world.

Barack Obama in an exclusive prom photo.

Left: Kelli Allman‘s OAHUAN 1979 Yearbook.
Right: Obama wrote the above note in Allman’s yearbook at the end of his senior year in 1979.

Barack Obama in an exclusive prom photo.

From left: Greg Orme, Kelli Allman, Barack Obama and Megan Hughes at Allman’s parents’ house in Honolulu.


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Filed under Barack Obama, Obama Derangement Syndrome

Brilliant Speech by Obama, Ugly Reaction by Drudge

One last Obama post for the evening…

The Daily Beast - Peter Beinart

Obama’s Morehouse speech was a beautiful paean to the values of Martin Luther King Jr. So how did Drudge respond? Disgustingly,says Peter Beinart.

“I’m a black man…” “Obama Uses Commencement Address to Recall Jim Crow, Racism of 40s, 50s…” “As an African American you have to work twice as hard…” Those were the three headlines on the Drudge Report this morning about President Obama’s commencement speech yesterday at historically black Morehouse College. (Hat tip to my Beast colleague David Frum whose tweet alerted me to them.)


President Barack Obama receives an honorary degree during Morehouse College’s 129th Commencement ceremony in Atlanta on Sunday. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)


The implication was clear: far from the gaze of white America, Obama had exposed himself as the militant, separatist, blame-whitey black nationalist conservatives have long thought him to be. Breitbart’s Matthew Boyle made the point explicit, tweeting: “Sorry to break it to you Mr. President, but your race is IRRELEVANT to all the problems and scandals facing the country right now.”


It’s hard to know whether to laugh or cry. In fact, Obama never used the phrase “I’m a black man.” What he did say was that “there are some things, as black men, we can only do for ourselves.” He went on to declare that “we know that too many young men in our community continue to make bad choices. And I have to say, growing up, I made quite a few myself. Sometimes I wrote off my own failings as just another example of the world trying to keep a black man down. I had a tendency sometimes to make excuses for me not doing the right thing. But one of the things that all of you have learned over the last four years is that there’s no longer any room for excuses … Nobody cares how tough your upbringing was. Nobody cares if you’ve suffered some discrimination.”


Graduates listen under heavy rain as President Obama delivers his speech at Morehouse College on Sunday. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

Continue reading here…


Filed under Barack Obama