3:06 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, congratulations, Class of 2009. (Applause.) Congratulations to all the parents, the cousins — (applause) — the aunts, the uncles — all the people who helped to bring you to the point that you are here today. Thank you so much to Father Jenkins for that extraordinary introduction, even though you said what I want to say much more elegantly. (Laughter.) You are doing an extraordinary job as president of this extraordinary institution. (Applause.) Your continued and courageous — and contagious — commitment to honest, thoughtful dialogue is an inspiration to us all. (Applause.)
(As Prepared for Delivery – Source: Huffington Post)
Thank you, Father Jenkins for that generous introduction. You are doing an outstanding job as president of this fine institution, and your continued and courageous commitment to honest, thoughtful dialogue is an inspiration to us all.
Good afternoon Father Hesburgh, Notre Dame trustees, faculty, family, friends, and the class of 2009. I am honored to be here today, and grateful to all of you for allowing me to be part of your graduation.
(Source: NBC’s Meet the Press)
MR. DAVID GREGORY: Our issues this Sunday: warring parties. Democrats and Republicans at odds over the economy, national security, abortion and health care. This morning, whether President Obama’s agenda is the blueprint for lasting Democratic rule or an example of overreach that will allow Republicans to chart the course back to power. With us for their first Sunday morning showdown as party chairs, the Democratic National Committee’s Tim Kaine and the Republican National Committee’s Michael Steele square off on the many issues that divide their two parties.
(Source: Central Intelligence Agency)
There is a long tradition in Washington of making political hay out of our business. It predates my service with this great institution, and it will be around long after I’m gone. But the political debates about interrogation reached a new decibel level yesterday when the CIA was accused of misleading Congress.
Let me be clear: It is not our policy or practice to mislead Congress. That is against our laws and our values. As the Agency indicated previously in response to Congressional inquiries, our contemporaneous records from September 2002 indicate that CIA officers briefed truthfully on the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, describing “the enhanced techniques that had been employed.” Ultimately, it is up to Congress to evaluate all the evidence and reach its own conclusions about what happened.
Great piece from yesterday’s Washington Post and Dan Balz on Dick Cheney’s sudden love of the limelight. Here’s a graphic from the story.
Bloomberg reports today that Congressional Republicans may actually try to get beyond the theocrats’ iron grip on their party.
California Representative Kevin McCarthy, the chief recruiter for House Republicans, said he wants his party to select candidates based less on ideology and more on their chances of winning. The goal, he said, is to seek out prospects who are ethnically diverse, female, less partisan and even supportive of abortion rights. So far, these efforts are more concept than reality. …
…“Have you read ‘The Thumpin’?” McCarthy, 44, asked, citing a book about Emanuel’s brass-knuckles approach to winning control of the House for Democrats in 2006. “This isn’t original thought.”
In the 2006 election, Emanuel, 49, recruited anti- abortion, pro-gun candidates such as Brad Ellsworth, 50, a sheriff in Indiana, and Heath Shuler, 37, a former NFL quarterback, in North Carolina. The premise: identify candidates whose views best mirror those of their districts’ constituents rather than Democratic Party orthodoxy.
The only way Democrats are in trouble in 2010 (given today’s landscape) is if the GOP resists continuing on as the Scopes Monkey Party.
Most Americans don’t spend their days obsessing over imposing Christian shari’a law on their neighbors, abortion and whether there’s a run on 7.62 mm down at the local gun store.
Fact Checking Obama Administration’s Report on Stimulus
For all of you who think traditional journalism is dead or would be happy to see it die, the Associated Press reminds us tonight what the watchdog is all about.
Vice President Joe Biden released a report today regarding progress made with funds from the recently enacted American Recovery and Reinvestment Act – the stimulus bill. I looked at it. It’s pretty weak beer.
Here’s part of what the Associated Press wrote tonight:
But the effect of that spending is less clear. Many of the claims the White House is making are based on anecdotes selected to fit the Obama administration’s message. For instance, the report cites a newspaper article about workers being rehired at a factory in Chicago. That account is true, but is no more an accurate snapshot of the nation’s economy than a story, not cited in the report, about a Roanoke, Va., railcar factory closing. (Read More)
The Obama Administration report also says that 150,000 jobs have been saved or created. How could one even begin to get to a number like that so soon? The report doesn’t mention – but the AP does – that since February the nation has lost 1.3 million jobs.
President Obama is not well served by flooding the Internets and airwaves with pablum. Every time you turn around there’s another “.gov” site out there promising real information and transparency. What we get instead is messaging wrapped in slick graphics. Everything seems to be a mile wide but an inch deep.
I had high hopes for an information presidency, what we’ve gotten instead is the Ronald Reagan communications team with better technology.
There is a lot of good going on with this Administration. Creating bullshit, releasing it and then patting yourself on the back for being “transparent” is not in the category of good. It’s in the category of annoying.
I sucked it up and clicked a link taking me to … dread … World NetDaily.
Pat Buchanan, GOP thinker, Conservative activist, and MSNBC talker spouts off today in a column where he calls for codifying the ‘Party of No’ lack of strategy.
Rather than debating what the national party position should be on foreign policy, health care, education, or social issues – which the party will decide when it chooses a nominee in 2012 – the GOP should focus now, and unite now, on what it will stand against.
I thought Pat was a bit more thoughtful than that …
Some many years ago I worked on the personal staff of a member of the House Democratic leadership. By personal staff, I mean I worked in a high profile position within his Congressional office. I did not work directly for the Dem leadership.
Still, at times I was involved with the “cool kids.” I can tell you this: If one of Nancy Pelosi’s top aides received a briefing from an Administration run by the other party that contained evidence that the United States was torturing detainees — and she says she never heard anything about it — she’s either lying or that aide’s head was in his ass.
I’m referring to a story in today’s Washington Post outlining the implausible scenario detailed above. The story also points out that Pelosi’s California gal pal and then ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee was also at the briefing. Do I believe Harman and Pelosi never talked about waterboarding? Not for a minute.
But here’s what a current Democratic insider said to the Post:
A Democratic source acknowledged yesterday that it is almost certain that Pelosi would have learned about the use of waterboarding from Sheehy. Pelosi herself acknowledged in a December 2007 statement that she was aware that Harman had learned of the waterboarding and had objected in a letter to the CIA’s top counsel.
What’s my point in all of this? If you stand for the rule of law and you believe that the Bush Administration broke the law and harmed America’s standing in the world by carrying out a torture program then you must insist that everyone involved pay a price.
Dick Cheney, David Adington, Jay Bybee and John Yoo are easy pickings for those of us railing against what was done in the name of the War on Terror and the effort to see justice served at the top levels of leadership. It’s not so easy to pick on those indirectly responsible — Congressional leaders who are there to provide a check to executive power run amok. It’s even harder when liberal darling House Speaker Pelosi is at the center of the story. But, if she knew and turned a blind eye, she wasn’t doing her job.
America did the wrong thing by sanctioning and carrying out a torture program. We don’t gain any ground by pretending it didn’t happen. We lose ground if partisan politics means seeing some of those responsible for torture get off scot free.
That includes our darling not-very gentlelady from California.
(Source: White House Press Office)
Good morning. I want to briefly share some news about our economy, and talk about the work that we’re doing both to protect American consumers, and to put our economy back on a path to growth and prosperity.
This week, we saw some signs that the gears of America’s economic engine are slowly beginning to turn. Consumer spending and home sales are stabilizing. Unemployment claims are dropping and job losses are beginning to slow. But these trends are far from satisfactory. The unemployment rate is at its highest point in twenty-five years. We are still in the midst of a deep recession that was years in the making, and it will take time to fully turn this economy around.
We cannot rest until our work is done. Not when Americans continue to lose their jobs and struggle to pay their bills. Not when we are wrestling with record deficits and an over-burdened middle class. That is why every action that my Administration is taking is focused on clearing away the wreckage of this recession, and building a new foundation for job-creation and long-term growth.
(Source: NBC’s Meet the Press)
MR. GREGORY: We are back, and joining us live now from Philadelphia, the Senate’s newest Democrat, Arlen Specter.
Senator, welcome back to MEET THE PRESS.
SEN. SPECTER: Thank you, David. Nice to be with you.
MR. GREGORY: Thank you. Your decision–or since your decision there’s been some pretty big news. We’ll get to the reasons for your decision in just a moment. But I want to talk about the retirement of Justice Souter and the vacancy to the Supreme Court that President Obama will now fill. You have a fair amount of experience with this as the former Judiciary chairman, and you might return to that post even as a Democrat. So what kind of justice should President Obama be looking for?
SEN. SPECTER: He should be looking for someone with a strong academic and professional background. It would be my hope that he would choose someone with diversity. Women are underrepresented on the court. We don’t have an Hispanic. African-Americans are underrepresented. I would hope that he would look beyond the circuit courts of appeals which now populate the Supreme Court and pick someone with greater world experience and diversity.
The Washington Times is reporting this a.m. that a movement is afoot at the Republican National Committee to move much of Chairman Michael Steele’s spending authority to the organization’s treasurer and executive board.
The Times received a copy of an email Steele sent to the usurpers. In part, he writes:
In the e-mail, Mr. Steele said the resolution “amounts to nothing short of a completely unprecedented usurpation of the authority of the RNC chairman, and a transfer of the chairman’s authority to the executive committee and the treasurer. No RNC chairman has ever had to deal with this, and I certainly have no intention of putting up with it either.”
It’s one thing for their to be some public wrangling over the GOP message. The Party just had its ass handed to it six months ago. Things are real bad when the governance structure is under attack and crumbling. How long has Steele been chairman? Is it five or ten minutes?
Another sign of the fall: Republican luminaries Jeb Bush, John McCain and Mitt Romney and others are setting up the “National Council for a New America,” in a bid to begin rebranding Republicans.
(Source: New York Times)
Sen. Specter’s Statement on His Decision to Switch Parties
I have been a Republican since 1966. I have been working extremely hard for the Party, for its candidates and for the ideals of a Republican Party whose tent is big enough to welcome diverse points of view. While I have been comfortable being a Republican, my Party has not defined who I am. I have taken each issue one at a time and have exercised independent judgment to do what I thought was best for Pennsylvania and the nation.
Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans.
Polling out today tests whether or not Texas Gov. Rick Perry is out ahead of the pack with talk of Texas’ right to secede from the Union.
The latest Rasmussen Reports polling in Texas says today that:
- 75% of Texas voters would opt to keep the state part of the United States
- 18% would vote to secede
- 31% believe Texas does have the right to secede
Perry distinguished himself as Teabagger in Chief earlier this week when he held a press conference reaffirming Texas’ rights as a state under the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Consititution. On Wednesday, he told a reporter essentially said that Texas has no immediate plans to secede, but the option is there for Texans as they are an “independent lot.”
No matter what you think about the protests on Tax Day this week, Perry is making the wrong political call in lining himself up with the fringe on the right. He faces a primary election for another term against fellow Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson. With Hutchinson’s long history of serving Texas in the Senate and her solid conservative credentials, that’s a tough fight. Perry is probably thinking he has to cut hard to the right to win that fight.
He might turning too sharply, too soon.
(Source: Fox News Channel)
MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS GUEST HOST: Well, Karl Rove goes “On the Record.” Vice President Biden made waves recently when he told a dramatic story about a Oval Office confrontation he allegedly had with President Bush.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are more safe. We’re more secure. Our interests are more secure, not just at home but around the world. We are rebuilding America’s ability to lead. I remember President Bush saying to me one time in the Oval Office — and he was a great guy, enjoyed being with him. He said to me, he said, Well, Joe, he said, I’m a leader. And I said, Mr. President, turn around and look behind you. No one’s following. People are beginning to follow the United States again as a consequence of our administration.
(END VIDEO CLIP)