This is divided into 3 parts:
The POTUS made some good points in his speech…
President Barack Obama pressed Congress on Thursday not to forget the heartbreak of the Newtown elementary school massacre and “get squishy” on tightened gun laws, though some lawmakers in his own Democratic Party remain a tough sell on an approaching Senate vote to expand purchasers’ background checks.
“Shame on us if we’ve forgotten,” Obama said at the White House, standing amid 21 mothers who have lost children to shootings. “I haven’t forgotten those kids.”
More than three months after 20 first-graders and six staffers were killed in Newtown, Conn., Obama urged the nation to pressure lawmakers to back what he called the best chance in over a decade to tame firearms violence.
At the same time, gun control groups were staging a “Day to Demand Action” with more than 100 rallies and other events planned from Connecticut to California. This was on top of a $12 million TV ad campaign financed by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg that has been pressuring senators in 13 states to tighten background-check rules.
But if political momentum was building after the nightmarish December shootings, it has flagged as the Senate prepares to debate gun restrictions next month. Thanks to widespread Republican resistance and a wariness by moderate Democrats from Southern and Western states – including six who are facing re-election next year – a proposed assault weapons ban seems doomed and efforts to broaden background checks and bar high capacity ammunition magazines are in question.
In one statement that typifies moderate Democrats’ caution, spokesman Kevin Hall said Virginia Sen. Mark Warner is “still holding conversations with Virginia stakeholders and sorting through issues on background checks” and proposals on assault weapons and magazines.
The GOP presented an abbreviated version of their immigration plan ahead of the president’s announced plan yesterday.
Here is a video of the president’s plans which he presented today:
President Obama’s entire speech in Las Vegas 1-29-2013
Is there any wonder why the POTUS picked Fox News the least in his first term news conferences?
Ironically, while I’ve routinely avoided Fox News for many years now, I stopped watching ABC after the 2008 debate in which George Stephanopoulos and Charlie Gibson openly hammered then candidate Barack Obama on every question.
Conversely, their questions to Hillary Clinton were softballs in comparison to the questions they lobbed at Obama.
The University of Minnesota’s Eric Ostermeier tallied up the number of questions each member of the White House press corp had been able to ask during all of Obama’s first term press conferences. ABC, CBS, the Associated Press and NBC led the pack, with ABC having been selected for questioning 29 times over 36 solo press conferences. (Overall, reporters have had fewer chances to ask questionsthan any White House press corps since Ronald Reagan’s.)
It makes sense that the wires and broadcast networks have had the most opportunities to question Obama. They traditionally are the first to be called on at any press conference, and their reach is bigger than any other outlet.
Bloomberg — whose business-oriented audience would likely be one Obama wanted to target during the depths of the recession — was also a winner, being selected 20 times.
Fox News, though it has a reach that far outstrips its competitors and sometimes rivals the broadcast networks, was in ninth place on the list, having been called on 14 times. CNN, by comparison, was called on 16 times. Ostermeier said the network had been “shunned,” which may be overstating things a bit.
When Obama has called on Fox News, he often winds up verbally sparring with its reporters in one way or another.
NBC’s Chuck Todd and ABC’s Jake Tapper (now at CNN) were called on the most of any reporters — they each got 23 chances to question Obama.
Read the full study here.
Barack Obama is looking for a few good fights.
Obama, the same president who campaigned twice on breaking the cycle of conflict in Washington, sees the utility — even the necessity — of rattling Republican cages as he plunges into a succession of upcoming battles over the nomination of Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense, the debt ceiling, $1 trillion in automatic budget cuts, immigration reform and gun control.
Obama’s willingness to take a more overtly adversarial stance is, in part, a nod to the reality that he’s about to start his second term with solid approval numbers — “Hit now, as hard as you can, because your power starts to die in six, eight months,” according to a top aide to a Senate Republican who has often locked horns with the White House.
That entails taking a tough line with the Hill GOP on Hagel — who has vowed to battle “distortions” of his record on Iran and Israel — and stiff-arming the GOP at the start of negotiations over the debt ceiling and across-the-board spending cuts. It’s less clear whether Obama will be quite as bellicose on issues that require a more subtle approach, like immigration, guns and climate change, although his aides are talking tough.
Picking a few choice fights “is a very good strategy if you know that applying all that pressure gets you the result you are looking for,” said former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, an adviser to Obama’s 2012 campaign. “But if you pick a fight, you have to be sure the tactic helps ensure the result you want rather than making it harder to achieve.”
There’s also a long-term strategy: Two months after a decisive presidential win, Obama and his party already are eyeing the 2014 midterms. Highlighting the contrasts between the White House and congressional Republicans could flip the House back to Democrats, giving Obama a final two-year governing majority that bookends the one he enjoyed during his first two years in office.
But it would be a mistake to attribute all of Obama’s actions to dispassionate tactics. After four-plus years of embittered partisan combat, he views his GOP bargaining partners with more than a little contempt, and he momentarily vanquished enemies who just can’t say “yes” to him.
His apparent conclusion, after watching the implosion of the House GOP’s effort to pass a modest tax increase before the final fiscal cliff deal, is that the best way to deal with the Capitol is to throw rocks at it — then send Vice President Joe Biden in to clean up the glass.
“There are 536 people who will be negotiating deals — the House, the Senate and the president,” an Obama aide said. “Only one of them isn’t running for reelection again. That gives us leverage.”
Republicans see parallels between Obama’s recent tough-guy stance — he practically dared the GOP to shoot down Hagel, one of their own, during an East Room ceremony Monday — and his aggressive push for the stimulus and health reform bills early in his first term.
The American People prefer real leadership, not a really poor attempt at showmanship and constant capitulation to the most extreme segments of the Republican Party…
Americans are largely split in their reaction to the “fiscal cliff” agreement, but united in their dislike for the role played by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), according to a Washington Post/ABC poll released Tuesday.
Americans were divided on the fiscal cliff agreement, with 45 percent approving and 38 percent disapproving, although far more strongly disapproved than strongly approved. Democrats were more than twice as likely as Republicans to approve of the deal.
Women, minorities and those with lower incomes were likely to support the deal, while other groups were more divided, according to ABC.
President Barack Obama won a majority of support for his handling of the crisis, as 52 percent of Americans approved of his approach, while 37 percent disapproved.
John Boehner, by contrast, saw a 20-point net negative rating, with 31 percent approving and 51 percent disapproving of his handling of the deal.
The fiscal cliff’s resolution gave a bump of several points to both politicians over their performances in a previous ABC/Post poll from December.
As a Pew poll released Monday also showed, Boehner’s low ratings come in large part from Republican unhappiness with his leadership. While Obama has broad support from Democratic voters, just 38 percent of Republican voters approved of Boehner’s work on the negotiations.
Both Boehner and Obama actually picked up points among their opposing parties during the debate, The Fix notes:
Just 8 percent of Republican voters approved of the way Obama was handling negotiations in a December Post-ABC survey, while in the new poll roughly one in four (23 percent) said he had done a good job. Democrats jumped from 14 to 27 percent in approving of Boehner’s handling of the issue.
The ABC/Post poll surveyed 1,000 adults between Jan. 2 and Jan. 6, with a 4 percent margin of error.
With each of us possessing our own opinion about a host of political issues, the author of this instant article is pragmatic enough to know that everyone will not agree with him.
I happen to be one that does but undoubtedly I accept that I may well be in the “exception to the consensus” category.
I like the following article. The young columnist, Ryu Spaeth‘s analogy comparing the POTUS’ fiscal cliff victory to a masterful Jedi move is both his reality and frankly, mine too…
To liberals, Obama is a hapless bungler when it comes to high-stakes negotiations. But the president is a ruthless operator in the conservative mind
Like beauty, politics is in the eye of the beholder. To wit: President Obama has been assailed by some liberal commentators for his supposedly incompetent handling of the fiscal cliff negotiations, particularly his inability to keep to his pledge to raise taxes on those making $250,000 a year. “The World’s Worst Poker Player,”read a headline on Paul Krugman’s blog. And as the budget battle in Congress moves toward the debt ceiling, many have suggested that Obama, abetted by his baffling inability to think strategically, has painted himself into a corner. “Obama claims, and seems to genuinely believe, that he won’t let Republicans jack him over the debt ceiling,” says Jonathan Chait at New York. “But if Republicans could hold the middle class tax cuts hostage, they’ll try to hold the debt ceiling hostage.”
In this view, Obama is the equivalent of Boy Blunder: He was not only incapable of winning big when his hand was strong, but has potentially set himself up for a bloodbath at the hands of the GOP. But if we take a trip to the other side of the op-ed page, a starkly different narrative merges. According to some conservatives, Obama is the most brilliant political operative in town — ruthless, cunning, unstoppable. This is how Charles Krauthammer at The Washington Post seesObama’s handling of the fiscal cliff talks:
Now he’s won. The old Obama is back. He must not be underestimated. He has deftly leveraged his class-war-themed election victory (a) to secure a source of funding (albeit still small) for the bloated welfare state, (b) to carry out an admirably candid bit of income redistribution and (c) to fracture the one remaining institutional obstacle to the rest of his ideological agenda.
Not bad for two months’ work. [Washington Post]
This version of Obama enjoys nothing more than to crush his enemies, see them driven before him, and revel in the lamentations of their women. Per Peggy Noonan at The Wall Street Journal:
He doesn’t want big bipartisan victories that let everyone crow a little and move forward and make progress. He wants his opponents in disarray, fighting without and within. He wants them incapable. He wants them confused…
The president intends to consistently beat his opponents and leave them looking bad, or, failing that, to lose to them sometimes and then make them look bad. That’s how he does politics….
In part it’s because he seems to like the tension. He likes cliffs, which is why it’s always a cliff with him and never a deal. He likes the high-stakes, tottering air of crisis. Maybe it makes him feel his mastery and reminds him how cool he is, unrattled while he rattles others. He can take it. Can they? [Wall Street Journal]
At this point, we would usually say something like, “The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.” But in this case, the answer is obvious: Obama is clearly the love child of a Jedi Master and Sauron.
Closing words from President Obama’s Victory Speech, November 7, 2012:
I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.
The former campaign-trail rivals are meeting in the White House’s private dining room. And, arguably, it’s a win-win situation for them — and America
Mitt Romney will join President Obama for a private lunch on Thursday, White House press secretary Jay Carney announced Wednesday. While Obama aides didn’t release any details on the luncheon’s agenda, the president offered some hints in the first news conference he gave after defeating Romney and winning re-election three weeks ago. At the time, Obama suggested that he would welcome Romney’s input on how to address some of the nation’s most pressing problems: “There are certain aspects of Gov. Romney’s record and his ideas that I think could be very helpful….” Many in Washington have dismissed the upcoming lunch as a feel-good PR move, but others say the event can benefit both politicians, and even the nation. Here, three reasons this bipartisan lunch is a good idea:
1. Romney could help ease Washington gridlock
It’s easy to make jokes about what’s likely to be an awkward meal, says Michael Tomasky at The Daily Beast, but this lunch “could conceivably be a good thing.” Despite his loss, Romney remains “one of the country’s best-known Republicans,” and has “more juice with the broader public than Mitch McConnell or John Boehner.” The former Massachusetts governor and two-time failed presidential candidate no longer has to play to the conservative base, so he can “play a moderating role” in the GOP, if he chooses. He could start by making nice with Obama and “telling Republicans, hey, gang, let’s drop the unceasing obstinacy.” Whether they’ll listen is another matter.
2. Obama can show he really wants to work with Republicans
“It behooves Obama to be gracious” after his big election win, says Peter Grier at The Christian Science Monitor. “With large margins of Americans telling pollsters they want Democrats and Republicans to work together, the lunch offer is a big flashing light of a signal that Obama intends to do just that.” Or at least look like he’s doing so. This is a golden opportunity for Obama to “set a tone of civil discourse” that could help him face the daunting challenges ahead, starting with negotiations on a deficit-reduction deal needed to avoid the “fiscal cliff” of painful tax hikes and spending cuts scheduled for Jan. 1. Romney can do the same thing for Republicans by publicly setting aside partisanship — polishing up their brand, and his own (especially after his remark that Obama beat him by buying votes with “gifts”).
3. This helps Romney stay relevant
Romney might be leery — Richard Nixon was hesitant to accept an invitation from John F. Kennedy after losing the 1960 election to his Democratic rival, says Tom McCarthy at Britain’sGuardian. Former president Herbert Hoover contacted Nixon at the request of Joseph Kennedy, the president’s father. According to Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy, authors of The Presidents Club: Inside the World’s Most Exclusive Fraternity, Nixon resisted taking part in what he dismissed as “a cheap publicity stunt,” but Hoover reminded him that Kennedy, who had just been elected president, wasn’t the one who needed help drumming up publicity. “This is a generous gesture on his part,” Hoover reportedly told Nixon, “and you ought to meet it.” The same holds true for Romney. Who knows, says David A. Graham at The Atlantic, Romney might even come out of this with a job. Obama “could make a bipartisan gesture by appointing Romney to be commerce secretary, treasury secretary, or the first to fill a ‘business secretary’ [slot] that Obama offhandedly suggested late in the campaign.”
The speech was gracious and it’s goal was to unify the nation…Good luck with that Mr. President. For the sake of this Republic, I hope we can get over our partisanship.