Strengthening the Rural Middle Class

The White House marked the one-year anniversary of the White House Rural Council on June 11; and on the same day, the Rural Council released a report alongside the White House Council of Economic Advisors and USDA that notes significant progress in our efforts to grow the rural economy.

Our rural communities are home to some of the most hard working and fiercely self-reliant Americans in the United States Strong and secure rural communities are essential to creating an economy built to last that rewards hard work and responsibility—not outsourcing, loopholes, and risky financial deals. While the security of the middle class has been threatened by the irresponsible financial collapse and the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, rural Americans continue to come together to work hard and make ends meet The values that have helped hard-working, responsible families weather the storm continue to move our economy forward.

A agricultural economy built to last is integral to the affordability of our food, the independence of our energy supply, and the security of America’s middle class. While there is still work to do, over the last few years, the U S agricultural economy has yielded encouraging results:

    • Farm sector income experienced a rapid rebound since 2009, growing 27% in 2010 and 20% in 2011, according to preliminary estimates
    • Farm sector income reached a preliminary estimate of a nominal record of $98 1 billion in 2011 Adjusting for general inflation, real farm income in 2011 recorded its 3rd highest level in the last 50 years
    • Farm exports are at record levels: in FY 2011, total food and agriculture exports reached the highest level ever at $137 4 billion
    • In FY 2011, agricultural exports supported more than 1 15 million American jobs
    • The direct and indirect economic activity brought by farm exports supported 907,000 jobs in 2010, including 298,000 in the farm sector, 174,000 in manufacturing, and 437,000 in transportation and other service sectors
    • America’s agricultural trade surplus is at a record level: in FY 2011, the surplus exceeded $42 billion.

The Administration has developed and implemented a comprehensive rural strategy to spur innovation, increase export levels, invest in clean energy, and expand opportunities for rural enterprises on and off the farm that create jobs

These are part of broader efforts by the Administration to advance the economic security of Americans living in rural areas by, for example, improving educational opportunities, providing access to afford- able healthcare, and investing in infrastructure.Last year,the President established the first-ever White House Rural Council which has been coordinating these efforts, working to streamline and improve the effectiveness of Federal programs serving rural America, and building on the progress detailed in last year’s White House report Jobs and Economic Security for Rural America.

This report focuses specifically on the current state of the agricultural economy and the Administration’s strategy to ensure an agricultural economy built to last While the U S economy continues to recover from its worst recession since the 1930’s and there is still more work to be done, America’s agricultural economy—farms and other related businesses—has recovered more quickly than many other sector.s The total value added to the U S economy from the farm sector rose about 35% between the second quarter of 2009 and the fourth quarter of 2011. Rising global demand and increasing American productivity have made this turn around possible. This report highlights the positive trends occurring in the agricultural economy and the efforts of the Administration to support those trends.

For the entire report: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/rural_communities_06_11_2012.pdf 

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It is important that the rural parts of America thrive and improve for the sake of the people who work and live there. Since all our food is grown in rural America we also all have a vested interest in food security. We also need to be good stewards of the land for the flora (oxygen production, home for wildlife as well as beauty), fauna and the water sources that sustain life.

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The Kochs’ quest

10/13/2012 09:11:44 PM PDT By Bill Wilson and Roy Wenzl – The Wichita Eagle
WICHITA, Kan. — In January 2009, just days after the inauguration of President Barack Obama, Charles and David Koch met in their company headquarters in Wichita with their longtime political strategist, Rich Fink.

The country was headed toward bankruptcy, they agreed. Fink told them bluntly that Obama’s administration represented the worst of what Charles and David fear most: a bloated, regulation-heavy, free-spending government that could plunge the country into another deep recession. That day, Fink advised two of the richest men in the nation that it would be the fight of their lives to stop the government spending spree and to change the course of the country, starting with the 2012 election.

“If we are going to do this, we should do it right or not at all,” Fink, 61, recalled telling the brothers. “But if we don’t do it right or if we don’t do it at all, we will be insignificant and we will just waste a lot of time and I would rather play golf.

“And if we do it right, then it is going to get very, very ugly.”

Three and a half years later, Obama accused the Koch brothers of engineering “a corporate takeover of our democracy.”

The brothers’ political spending and the network of conservative political organizations and think tanks they fund have sparked protests. The condemnations and criticism prompted Charles Koch to break his silence about politics. In his most extensive interview in 15 years, Charles Koch talked about why he wants to defeat Obama and elect members of Congress who will stop what he calls catastrophic overspending.

Government recklessness threatens the country and his business, he said.

The Kochs say the price for their involvement has been high: Death threats, cyberattacks on their business, hundreds of news stories criticizing them, calls for boycotts of the company’s consumer goods, and what the brothers see as ongoing and public attacks from the Obama administration.

The Kochs aren’t finished. Win or lose in November, they plan to start a new fight. They are organizing dozens of business and grass roots groups to build support for eliminating all corporate and agricultural subsidies.

For more; http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_21769107/kochs-quest?IADID=Search-www.mercurynews.com-www.mercurynews.com

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Ending agricultural subsidies would mean that American busiensses would have to raise their prices and USA farmers would not be able to compete with cheap and inferior and unsafe imports.

* American diary farms would be impacted
* American vegetable and fruit farms would would be impacted
* American grain farms for human would be impacted
* American pork, beef and chicken farms would be impacted
* American nut farms would be impacted
* American fiber producers (cotton, wool, wood etc) would be impacted
* American gasoline would be impacted

There are many more that industries that would impacted.

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124 thoughts on “Strengthening the Rural Middle Class

  1. WH

    Monday, June 25, 2012

    All Times Eastern

    Vice President Joe Biden attends a campaign fundraiser
    Wise Residence, Lincoln Park, IL

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    10:30 AM
    President Obama receives the Presidential Daily Briefing
    Oval Office
    Closed Press

    11:00 AM
    President Obama and Vice President Biden meet with Secretary of State Clinton.
    Oval Office
    Closed Press

    12:00 PM
    12:05 PM
    President Obama departs the White House en route Joint Base Andrews.
    South Lawn
    Open Press

    12:20 PM
    President Obama departs Joint Base Andrews en route Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
    Joint Base Andrews
    Travel Pool Coverage

    1:00 PM
    1:35 PM
    President Obama arrives in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
    Pease Air National Guard Base
    Open Press

    2:00 PM
    President Obama delivers remarks at a campaign event
    Oyster River High School Gymnasium, Durham, NH
    Durham, New Hampshire, Oyster River High School
    Open Press

    3:00 PM
    4:00 PM
    4:05 PM
    President Obama departs Portsmouth, New Hampshire en route Boston, Massachusetts.
    Pease Air National Guard Base
    Open Press

    4:30 PM
    President Obama arrives in Boston, Massachusetts.
    Boston Logan International Airport
    Open Press

    5:00 PM
    5:10 PM
    President Obama attends a campaign event.
    Hamersley’s Bistro, Boston, MA

    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    7:35 PM
    President Obama attends a campaign fundraiser
    Symphony Hall, Boston, MA
    Pooled Press

    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    9:25 PM
    President Obama attends a campaign fundraiser
    Private Krupp Residence, Weston, MA
    Print Pool

    10:00 PM

    Vice President Biden travels to Waterloo, Iowa, where he will remain overnight.

    • POTUS podium

      June 25, 2012

      WhiteHouse.gov http://www.whitehouse.gov/live

      —-

      CNN http://live.cnn.com

      8:00 AM ET
      Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu make statements during their working luncheon.

      10:00 AM ET
      Supreme Court Announces Decisions; Health Care, Immigration Possible
      The Supreme Court will issue decisions Monday on some of the six cases it has yet to rule on. Among them could be the widely anticipated rulings on the Affordable Care Act and on Arizona’s.

      10:00 AM ET
      Brookings Institution: A Decade of Action on Global AIDS

      10:00 AM ET
      Postal workers announce hunger strike
      The Postal Workers Union, lawmakers and activists stage a hunger strike in an effort to saved the beleaguered U.S. Postal Service.

      11:00 AM ET
      Miami Heat victory parade
      Fans gather in Miami to honor the NBA champion Miami Heat.

      12:00 PM ET
      Center for American Progress: U.S. Export Finance Strategy

      12:30 PM ET
      State Department briefing
      The State Department holds a briefing with reporters. Topics expected to be discussed include Syria’s shooting down of a Turkish military jet.

      1:00 PM ET
      Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Israeli counterpat, Shimon Peres, make statements at the start of their meeting.

      2:00 PM ET
      President Obama delivers remarks at a campaign event
      Oyster River High School Gymnasium, Durham, NH

      —-

      CSPAN http://www.cspan.org/

      8:00 AM ET
      Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu make statements during their working luncheon.

      10:00 AM ET
      Supreme Court Announces Decisions; Health Care, Immigration Possible
      The Supreme Court will issue decisions Monday on some of the six cases it has yet to rule on. Among them could be the widely anticipated rulings on the Affordable Care Act and on Arizona’s. http://www.c-span.org/Events/Supreme-Court-Announces-Decisions-Health-Care-Immigration-Possible/10737431379/

      10:00 AM ET
      Brookings Institution: A Decade of Action on Global AIDS http://www.c-span.org/Events/Global-AIDS-Coordinator-Gives-Update-on-Emergency-Plan-for-AIDS-Relief/10737431858/

      10:00 AM ET
      Postal workers announce hunger strike
      The Postal Workers Union, lawmakers and activists stage a hunger strike in an effort to saved the beleaguered U.S. Postal Service.

      12:00 PM ET
      Center for American Progress: U.S. Export Finance Strategy http://www.c-span.org/Events/Ex-Im-Bank-Chief-Discusses-Annual-Competitiveness-Report/10737431859/

      12:30 PM ET
      State Department briefing
      The State Department holds a briefing with reporters. Topics expected to be discussed include Syria’s shooting down of a Turkish military jet.

      1:00 PM ET
      Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Israeli counterpat, Shimon Peres, make statements at the start of their meeting.

      2:00 PM ET
      President Obama delivers remarks at a campaign event
      Oyster River High School Gymnasium, Durham, NH http://www.c-span.org/Events/President-Obama-Returns-to-New-Hampshire-for-a-Campaign-Event/10737431860/

  2. obama_biden_working_for_the_middle_class

    Strengthening the Middle Class

    The White House marked the one-year anniversary of the White House Rural Council on June 11; and on the same day, the Rural Council released a report alongside the White House Council of Economic Advisors and USDA that notes significant progress in our efforts to grow the rural economy.

    Our rural communities are home to some of the most hard working and fiercely self-reliant Americans in the United States Strong and secure rural communities are essential to creating an economy built to last that rewards hard work and responsibility—not outsourcing, loopholes, and risky financial deals. While the security of the middle class has been threatened by the irresponsible financial collapse and the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, rural Americans continue to come together to work hard and make ends meet The values that have helped hard-working, responsible families weather the storm continue to move our economy forward.

    A agricultural economy built to last is integral to the affordability of our food, the independence of our energy supply, and the security of America’s middle class. While there is still work to do, over the last few years, the U S agricultural economy has yielded encouraging results:

    * Farm sector income experienced a rapid rebound since 2009, growing 27% in 2010 and 20% in 2011, according to preliminary estimates

    * Farm sector income reached a preliminary estimate of a nominal record of $98 1 billion in 2011 Adjusting for general inflation, real farm income in 2011 recorded its 3rd highest level in the last 50 years

    * Farm exports are at record levels: in FY 2011, total food and agriculture exports reached the highest level ever at $137 4 billion

    * In FY 2011, agricultural exports supported more than 1 15 million American jobs

    * The direct and indirect economic activity brought by farm exports supported 907,000 jobs in 2010, including 298,000 in the farm sector, 174,000 in manufacturing, and 437,000 in transportation and other service sectorS

    * America’s agricultural trade surplus is at a record level: in FY 2011, the surplus exceeded $42 billionThe Administration has developed and implemented a comprehensive rural strategy to spur innovation, increase export levels, invest in clean energy, and expand opportunities for rural enterprises on and off the farm that create jobs.

    These are part of broader efforts by the Administration to advance the economic security of Americans living in rural areas by, for example, improving educational opportunities, providing access to afford- able healthcare, and investing in infrastructure.

    Last year,the President established the first-ever White House Rural Council which has been coordinating these efforts, working to streamline and improve the effectiveness of Federal programs serving rural America, and building on the progress detailed in last year’s White House report Jobs and Economic Security for Rural America.

    This report focuses specifically on the current state of the agricultural economy and the Administration’s strategy to ensure an agricultural economy built to last While the U S economy continues to recover from its worst recession since the 1930’s and there is still more work to be done, America’s agricultural economy—farms and other related businesses—has recovered more quickly than many other sector.s The total value added to the U S economy from the farm sector rose about 35% between the second quarter of 2009 and the fourth quarter of 2011. Rising global demand and increasing American productivity have made this turn around possible. This report highlights the positive trends occurring in the agricultural economy and the efforts of the Administration to support those trends.

    For the entire report: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/rural_communities_06_11_2012.pdf 

    • Strengthening the Rural Economy

      Secretary Tom Vilsack

      June 15, 2012 04:13 PM EDT

      This has been an important week for the White House Rural Council – a partnership between multiple Federal agencies, created by President Obama last year to focus and coordinate our efforts to create jobs in rural America and support American agriculture.

      We marked the one-year anniversary of the Council on June 11; and on the same day, the Rural Council released a report alongside the White House Council of Economic Advisors and USDA that notes significant progress in our efforts to grow the rural economy. But President Obama and I also know that there’s more to be done.

      Over the past three years, the rural economy has strengthened. Last year, U.S. farm sector income reached a nominal record of $98.1 billion and record agricultural exports supported nearly a $43 billion trade surplus and 1.15 million American jobs.

      But this week’s report also reflected a strong belief I share with President Obama – that while progress has been made, we still have a great deal of work to do. It’s not time to let up.

      Together, we’re working to further broaden markets for U.S. agriculture products. On top of the new trade agreements signed by the President last year with Colombia, Panama and South Korea – expected to boost exports by $2.3 billion per year – the Administration is working to further expand markets for U.S. agriculture products.

      Here at home, the Administration has carried out an all-of-the-above energy approach to help Americans reduce pain at the pump as well as their home energy costs. Since 2009 we have nearly doubled wind energy capacity in the U.S. and helped to support 230 new bioenergy projects – but there is still more to be done. As part of his to-do list for Congress, President Obama is urging Congress to pass the Production Tax Credit, which will help renewable energy companies create jobs here at home.

      Finally, while the report outlines our investments so far in communities across rural America – more than 6,250 new community facilities, grants and loans for more than 50,000 rural businesses, and upgraded water, electric and broadband utilities for millions – the Administration is working to further strengthen these investments.

      Just this week, President Obama announced an additional $2 billion in funding through the Small Business Administration to help generate business loans across rural America. These loans, which will be paid back at no cost to the taxpayer, will help rural businesses continue creating jobs.

      As we look back over the past three years, at USDA we’re proud of our accomplishments on behalf of rural America – but we’re not letting up. This week’s report is a reminder that we have come a long way. But we have much more to do on behalf of our small towns and rural communities, and I know that through our shared commitment to rural America, even greater progress is yet to come.

    • White House Rural Council

      About the Council

      To address challenges in Rural America, build on the Administration’s rural economic strategy, and improve the implementation of that strategy, the President signed an Executive Order establishing the White House Rural Council.

      The Council will coordinate the Administration’s efforts in rural America by performing three core functions. It will:

      Streamline and improve the effectiveness of Federal programs serving rural America. Through smarter government we can do even more to improve outcomes and lower costs for the American taxpayer.
      Engage stakeholders, including farmers, ranchers, and local citizens, on issues and solutions in rural communities. The Rural Council will create and coordinate opportunities for direct dialogue between the Administration and Rural America.
      Promote and coordinate private-sector partnerships. The Rural Council will find new ways for the government to partner with private organizations in solving shared problems, and develop new, innovative models of partnership.
      Objectives:

      The White House Rural Council will focus on job creation and economic development by focusing on the following four key areas:

      Opportunity: Increasing the flow of capital to rural areas, job creation, and workforce development
      Innovation: Including the expansion of telecommunications, renewable energy and new markets for rural communities
      Quality of Life: Including increased access to quality health care, education, and housing, and particularly in persistent poverty counties and tribal areas.
      Conservation: Including expansion of outdoor opportunities and economic growth.

      • Strengthening the Rural Economy – Strengthening Rural Infrastructure

        IV. STRENGTHENING RURAL INFRASTRUCTURE

        Strong infrastructure is critical to economic opportunity, standards of living, and social cohesion. But, because there are fewer people across whom to spread the costs, large infrastructure projects in rural areas tend to have much higher costs per household than comparable projects in urban areas. For that reason, the Federal government has a long history of supporting rural infrastructure. The Obama Administration is committed to continuing that support.

        A. Background
        The Federal government’s traditional support of rural infrastructure has focused on transportation, telecommunications, and energy and water infrastructure. This support has played a crucial role in linking rural residents economically and socially with the rest of the country and the world and in providing them with important basic services.

        1. Transportation
        Of all the Federal efforts to tie Americans together, none is more tangible than the Federal-aid highway system. The Department of Transportation supports the construction and maintenance of important highway projects in all 50 states and has invested billions of dollars in highway construction and maintenance since the 1950s. About 65 percent of all interstate highway miles — and 70 percent of all Federal-aid highway miles — run through rural areas. These highways allow rural Americans to sell their products in key markets throughout the country and the world. Beyond highways, Federal programs also support the rail, barge, and ocean-going transportation infrastructures.

        Without this key infrastructure, the crops grown in rural America could not as easily reach the domestic and international markets that sustain farm income. Since less than 1 percent of agricultural products are sold directly to consumers, farmers rely on Federal and state highways to access key processing and marketing/distribution networks. A recent study in Iowa indicated that meat and produce had to travel an average of more than 1,500 miles from production to consumption (Pirog et al. 2001).

        2. Telecommunications
        While the Postal Service has long been the primary vehicle for sending goods and written communications in the United States, the Federal government has also played a crucial role in ensuring access to telecommunications in rural areas, with the same goal of connecting Americans to one another. Today, all telecommunications carriers that provide interstate or international service contribute to the Universal Service Fund (USF), often through a service fee on their bills. Contributors paid about $7.3 billion into the Fund in 2009, and this revenue was used to support a range of programs designed to promote universal access to essential communications services at reasonable rates. For example, the USF’s Rural Health Care program subsidizes telecom and internet services for rural health care providers. Additionally, the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) provides loans to fund traditional telecommunications infrastructure and voice telephone service.

        3. Energy and Water Infrastructure
        As part of the New Deal, the Roosevelt Administration sought to bridge the urban-rural divide in access to electricity. In the early 1930s, according to one estimate, 90 percent of Americans in urban areas had access to electric power, while only 10 percent of rural America had access (Deller et al. 2009). The establishment of the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) in 1935 sparked a series of Federal investments that brought power to rural American homes over the coming years. By 1939, the REA had helped to establish more than 400 rural electric cooperatives, which served nearly 300,000 households. Today, the RUS continues to provide credit and other assistance to help improve electric, water, and telecommunications services in rural areas. For example, between 2002 and 2009, the RUS invested $36 billion in electric systems and $14 billion in water and waste management systems throughout rural America.

        The Federal government also has a long history of helping to build key water infrastructure projects in rural areas. For example, the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds provide matching grants for community and regional water systems. The two funds each have provided about $70 billion dollars over the last twenty years for wastewater treatment plants, estuary improvement projects, and drinking water treatment, storage, transmission and distribution infrastructure, many of which benefit rural areas. The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation also provides hydropower, and drinking water and irrigation services to rural America. Today, the Bureau is the nation’s largest wholesaler of water, serving 31 million people, and provides irrigation to one out of five western farmers.

        For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/cea/factsheets-reports/strengthening-the-rural-economy/strengthening-rural-infrastructure

      • Rural Economic Forum: Opening Remarks

        Uploaded by whitehouse on Aug 16, 2011

        President Obama announces new job initiatives for rural America. August 16, 2011.

        • Rural Economic Forum: Closing Remarks

          Uploaded by whitehouse on Aug 16, 2011

          President Obama announces new job initiatives for rural America. August 16, 2011.

    • 2008 Iowa Caucus Victory Speech: Promises Kept

      Uploaded by BarackObamadotcom on Jan 3, 2012
      Say you’re in for 2012: https://my.barackobama.com/iowacaucusspeechvid

      Four years ago today, then Senator Barack Obama addressed a packed hall of energized supporters after the Iowa Caucuses victory. He spoke of the following:

      “I’ll be a President who finally makes health care affordable and available to every single American… I’ll be a President who ends tax breaks for companies who ship our jobs overseas and put a middle class tax cut into the pockets of working Americans who deserve…I’ll be a President who harnesses ingenuity farmers, scientists, and entrepreneurs to free this nation from the tyranny of oil once and for all… and I’ll be a president who ends this war in Iraq and finally brings our troops home.”

      Four years later, here’s what we’ve accomplished:

      – Passed the Affordable Care Act to make health care more affordable for more than 30 million Americans.

      – Cut taxes for 95% of working families and closed corporate tax loopholes that – were sending profits overseas.

      – Put in place historic fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks to lower costs at the pump and reduce dependence on foreign oil.

      – Ended the war in Iraq.

    • Rural Americans for Obama

      Published on Jul 3, 2012 by BarackObamadotcom
      Join Rural Americans for Obama now: http://OFA.BO/M5cDfZ

      America’s small towns and rural communities are all about the values that America was founded on — family and community come first and if you’re willing to work hard, you can make a good life for yourself and a better one for your kids.

      President Barack Obama knows that too many rural families are working harder and harder and not getting ahead. He’s committed to restoring the promise that has always been America — if you work hard, pull your weight and act responsibly, you’ll get a fair shake in this economy.

      • It’s what plants crave.
        Iowa farms NEED another four years of Obama

        Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 22:20:35 PM CDT by: coyoterun – bleedingheartland

        Here is something we sent out to our friends and family on October 23.
        Greetings friends of the food movement and local & regional agriculture,

        We write tonight to invite you to join us in supporting President Obama’s reelection. We can think of a lot of reasons to support this administration. However, there is no better reason than to acknowledge the support through Secretary Vilsack that President Obama has provided to the food and agriculture community in general and specifically to those of us championing local, regional, and good food. Below are some reasons why we need to keep Obama in the White House and his policies for food and agriculture in place at USDA. If you are like us, you haven’t been in love with every single food and agriculture decision from this administration, but the good stuff will all go away if Obama loses this election and historically speaking there’s a bunch of good stuff.

        Romney and Ryan basically have no agriculture policy beyond eliminating the inheritance tax and getting rid of as much federal regulation of agriculture as they can. There is no evidence they will keep in place support for organic ag, small farms, beginning farmers, nutrition programs, local foods, urban agriculture, and creative conservation efforts like the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).

        Coyote Run Farm, our 110 acre diversified farm marketing 100% of our production to local customers, is depending on the kind of support the Obama administration is providing to agriculture. In addition, the Obama administration’s support for trade, disaster programs, and tax policies have also benefited the 1000 acre, commodity family farm that Matt’s parents and brother and sister in law are operating in Cass County. This administration, unlike any in our lifetime, is fighting for all of agriculture. Sometimes that can be disappointing when the administration doesn’t always take our side. But never has an administration taken the issues raised by the food movement so seriously and stood up for small farms so aggressively. For example, USDA has institutionalized its support through the Know Your Farmer Know Your Food work within the department. Again, this will all go away if Obama loses this election and agribusiness once again runs every aspect of USDA.

        For more: http://www.bleedingheartland.com/diary/5803/iowa-farms-need-another-four-years-of-obama

    • President Obama, Sec. Vilsack Will Meet To Discuss US Drought

      JULY 17, 2012 obamafoodorama.blogspot

      President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will have a closed-press meeting in the Oval Office on Wednesday morning to discuss the US drought, the White House announced on Tuesday evening. The current drought is the worst since 1956, according to a report released this week by The National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, NC. About 55% of the country is in at least a moderate short-term drought, with parts of the US experiencing severe drought.

      As of last Sunday, 38% of the US corn crop was in poor or very poor condition, compared with 30% a week earlier, according to USDA. The agency had previously predicted a national average corn yield of 166 bushels per acre this year, but has revised this down to 146 bushels, with further reductions expected.

      Last week, Sec. Vilsack announced that USDA was amending the Secretarial Disaster Designation process in order to “deliver faster and more flexible assistance to farmers and ranchers devastated by natural disasters.” A natural disaster designation makes all qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for low interest emergency loans and other support. The final rule for Secretarial Disaster Designations for drought was amended as follows:

      “Nearly automatically qualifies a disaster county once it is categorized by the U.S. Drought Monitor as a severe drought for eight consecutive weeks during the growing season. Effective July 12, 1,016 primary counties in 26 states will be designated as natural disaster areas, making all qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for low interest emergency loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met.”

      • After meeting and updating President Obama, USDA Secretary Vilsack speaks to press to discuss the Administration’s efforts to respond to the current drought in the US.

        July 18, 2012

        Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack
        James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

        July 18, 2012

        Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack
        James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

        SECRETARY VILSACK: Jay, thanks very much.

        I did have an opportunity to visit with the President. He is very well informed on the circumstances surrounding a very serious drought — the most serious situation we’ve had probably in 25 years — across the country. Sixty-one percent of the land mass of the United States is currently being characterized as being impacted by this drought.

        And our hearts go out to the producers, the farm families who are struggling through something that they obviously have no control over and trying to deal with a very difficult circumstance.

        There’s no question that this drought is having an impact on our crops: 78 percent of the corn crop is now in an area designated as drought impacted; 77 percent of the soybeans that are being grown in this country also impacted. It also obviously involves other commodities as well — 38 percent of our corn crop as of today is rated poor to very poor; 30 percent of our soybeans poor to very poor.

        And this obviously will have an impact on the yields. Right now we have indicated yields will be down about 20 bushels to the acre for corn and about 3 bushels to the acre for beans. That may be adjusted upward or downward as weather conditions dictate.

        This will result in significant increases in prices. For corn, we’ve seen a 38 percent increase since June 1st, and the price of a bushel of corn is now at $7.88. A bushel of beans have risen 24 percent.

        This administration has taken quick action to try to provide help and assistance. At the instructions of the President, the first thing we did was to streamline the disaster declaration system and process, reducing the amount of time it takes to have a county designated. That means that producers in those counties and adjoining counties are able to access low-interest loans.

        The President instructed us to reduce the interest rate on those loans from 3.75 percent to 2.25 percent. He also instructed us to open up new opportunities for haying and grazing — our livestock producers are in deep trouble because of the drought. They don’t have anyplace for their cattle. They are looking at very high feed costs. So we are opening up areas under the Conservation Reserve Program for emergency haying and grazing.

        Normally when that happens, producers have to return a portion of the CRP payment that they receive. We’ve reduced the portion that they have to return from 25 percent to 10 percent.

        Our tools are somewhat limited and so we’re going to need to work with Congress to provide opportunities either through the passage of the Food, Farm and Jobs bill or through additional disaster programs, or perhaps additional flexibility in the Commodity Credit Corporation to provide help and assistance to our farmers.

        The question that a lot of folks are asking is what will the impact be on food prices. Because livestock producers will begin the process of potentially reducing their herds in light of higher feed costs, we would anticipate in the short term actually food prices for beef, poultry, pork may go down a bit, but over time they will rise. We will probably see those higher prices later this year, first part of next year. Processed foods obviously impacted by crop yields, and we will likely see the increase of that also in 2013.

        It’s important to note that farmers only receive 14 cents of every food dollar that goes through the grocery store, so even though prices on commodities increase significantly, it doesn’t necessarily translate into large increases for food prices. And if, in fact, people are beginning to see food price increases now, it is not in any way, shape, or form, related to the drought. And we should be very careful to keep an eye on that to make sure that people do not take advantage of a very difficult and painful situation.

        There is some degree of uncertainty about all of this. Technology has allowed us to have more drought-resistant crops. The spotty nature of drought, the spotty nature of rains can sometimes result in better yields than anticipated. We’re just going to have to see. As of today, 1,297 counties have been designated as Secretarial Disaster Areas. That’s approximately a third of the counties in the United States. We’re adding 39 counties today in eight states — those states are New Mexico, Tennessee, Utah, Wyoming, Arkansas, Indiana, Georgia, and Mississippi.

        We have staff that is now traveling to 12 states significantly impacted by the drought in order to get a firsthand look at conditions, and we’ll do everything we possibly can to help folks. But we’re obviously going to need some help, working with Congress, to create greater flexibility in programs, to revive the disaster programs that were allowed to expire last year, or to pass a Food, Farm and Jobs bill.

        For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/07/18/press-briefing-press-secretary-jay-carney-and-secretary-agriculture-tom-

        ———–

        USDA – Drought

        Water Availability
        Drought and Weather
        Drought Prediction and Monitoring Tools
        Drought Reports, Papers, Articles and Services
        Hurricanes and Extreme Storm Events
        State and Regional Information on Drought
        Water Conservation

        Crop Assistance for Farmers
        Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP)
        Provides financial assistance to producers of non-insurable crops when low yields, loss of inventory or prevented planting occurs due to natural disasters.

        Fact Sheet: NAP Program

        Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) Program
        Provides financial assistance for crop production and or quality losses due to a natural disaster.

        Fact Sheet: SURE Program

        Crop Insurance
        Crop insurance is a risk management tool available to agricultural producers providing protection against low yields and/or lost revenue due to natural disasters including drought, excessive moisture, disease and other perils.

        Q&A: Crop insurance and drought damaged crops

        Fact Sheet: Prevented planting provisions drought

        Fact Sheet: Pasture, Rangeland, Forage Pilot Insurance Program

        Fact Sheet: Vegetation Index Basic Provisions

        Assistance for Livestock Losses
        Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP)
        Provides financial assistance to producers who suffered grazing losses due to drought or fire.

        Fact Sheet: LFP

        Map of Counties Eligible for LFP

        Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Emergency Haying and Grazing
        Haying and grazing of CRP acreage is authorized under certain conditions to improve the quality and performance of the CRP cover or to provide emergency relief to livestock producers due to certain natural disasters.

        Fact Sheet: CRP

        Need Help to Get Your Farm up and Running after a Disaster?

        Emergency Farm Loans
        Producers can borrow up to 100 percent of actual production or physical losses, to a maximum amount of $500,000.

        Fact Sheet: Emergency Farm Loan Program

        Disaster Designations – What and Where are they?
        Emergency Disaster Designation and Declaration Process

        DisasterAssistance.gov

        Other Resources:

        U.S. Drought Monitor

        Hay Net
        Internet-based service allowing farmers and ranchers to share ‘Need Hay’ ads and ‘Have Hay’ ads online.

        Farm Service Agency disaster programs

        Risk Management Agency programs

        State Farm Service Agency offices

        Tree Assistance Program (TAP)
        Provides financial assistance to qualifying orchardists to replace eligible trees, bushes, and vines damaged by natural disasters.

        Disaster Resilience for Rural Communities
        The goal of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Disaster Resilience for Rural Communities grant program is to advance basic research in engineering and in the social, behavioral, and economic sciences to enhance disaster resilience in rural communities.

      • USDA Designates an Additional 39 Counties in 8 States as Primary Natural Disaster Areas Due to Worsening Drought
        Producers in 1,297 Counties in 29 States Eligible for Disaster Assistance

        July 18, 2012 usda.gov

        WASHINGTON, —Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today designated 39 additional counties in eight states as primary natural disaster areas due to damage and losses caused by drought and excessive heat. During the 2012 crop year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated 1,297 counties across 29 states as disaster areas, making all qualified farm operators in the areas eligible for low-interest emergency loans. The additional counties designated today are in the states of Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming. The U.S. Drought Monitor currently reports that 61 percent of the continental United States is in a moderate to exceptional drought.

        “Our hearts go out to all of those affected by this drought,” said Vilsack. “President Obama and I are committed to ensuring that agriculture remains a bright spot in our nation’s economy by sustaining the successes of America’s farmers, ranchers, and rural communities through these difficult times. That’s why USDA officials are fanning out to affected areas, to let our farmers and ranchers know that we stand with you and your communities when severe weather and natural disasters threaten to disrupt your livelihood. And that is also why it is important that Congress pass a food, farm and jobs bill that ensures a robust safety net for producers in times of need.”

        Earlier in the week, USDA also designated the entire state of Missouri a disaster area due to drought in response to a request from the state’s governor.

        For more: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2012/07/0243.xml&navid=NEWS_RELEASE&navtype=RT&parentnav=LATEST_RELEASES&edeployment_action=retrievecontent

    • THE PRESIDENT’S PROPOSAL TO EXTEND THE
      MIDDLE CLASS TAX CUTS

      July 2012

      The President’s Proposal to Extend the Middle Class Tax Cuts

      PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA DELIVERS A STATEMENT ON THE NEED FOR CONGRESS TO ACT TO EXTEND TAX CUTS FOR MIDDLE CLASS FAMILIES, IN THE EAST ROOM OF THE WHITE HOUSE, JULY 9, 2012.

      “I believe our prosperity has always come from an economy that’s built on a strong and growing middle class ‐‐ one that can afford to buy the products that our businesses sell; a middle class that can own homes, and send their kids to college, and save enough to retire on. That’s why I’ve cut middle class taxes every year that I’ve been President ‐ ‐ by $3,600 for the typical middle class family.”
      ‐ President Obama, July 9, 2011

      Introduction

      President Obama believes that to create jobs we need to grow our economy not from the top down, but based on a strong and secure middle class. Within weeks of taking office, President Obama took immediate action in the midst of the economic crisis to restore security for middle‐ class families by cutting their taxes in the Recovery Act. Since then, President Obama has continued to cut taxes for middle class families to make it easier for them to make ends meet. A typical family making $50,000 a year has received tax cuts totaling $3,600 over the past four years – more if they were putting a child through college.

      Today, while Republicans and Democrats in Washington rarely see eye‐to‐eye, everyone agrees that extending middle class tax cuts will give working families and our economy a little more certainty at this make‐or‐break moment. So far, the only reason the middle class tax cuts have not been extended is that Republicans in Congress continue to insist on cutting taxes once again for the wealthiest few. That’s why the President called on Congress to break through the gridlock and pass a one year extension of the tax cuts for every family making under $250,000 a year—98 percent of all Americans. The highest income 2 percent will still benefit from current rates on their first $250,000 of income, but there is simply no reason for Congress to wait to keep taxes low for middle class families.

      Congress faces a choice. On January 1, taxes are scheduled to go up for 114 million middle class families by an average of $1,600 as such tax cuts as the expanded Child Tax Credit, the 10 percent tax bracket, marriage penalty relief, and the American Opportunity Tax Credit all expire. A typical middle class family of four would see its taxes rise by $2,200.

      The President and Congressional Democrats have proposed to extend all the income tax cuts that benefit families with income of less than $250,000 per year, while letting tax cuts expire for the 2 percent of households with the highest incomes. Over the next decade, the President’s proposal will save $850 billion relative to continuing the additional tax cuts that go exclusively to households making over $250,000, or almost $1 trillion taking into account the cost of cuts to the estate tax. Allowing these tax cuts to expire is an essential component of the President’s overall plan for balanced deficit reduction.

      In contrast, while Republicans in Congress agree in principle on extending tax cuts for the middle class, they have yet to act. Moreover, Congressional Republicans have introduced a proposal that extends the high‐income tax cuts but raises taxes on 25 million families with incomes below $250,000 by an average of $1,000 apiece. These tax increases are a return to the exact same top‐down economic policies that led to the economic crisis and would result because Republicans would end a tax credit that helps make college affordable as well as roll back improvements to the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit.

      The President has called on Congress to act now on extending all income tax cuts for 98 percent of American families and not to hold the middle class and our economy hostage over a disagreement on tax cuts for households with incomes over $250,000 per year.

      This report provides additional analysis and new Treasury data on the impact of the President’s proposal, including evidence of its importance for middle class families in every state.

      I. Overview of the President’s Proposal
      PRESIDENT OBAMA IS CALLING ON CONGRESS TO EXTEND THE MIDDLE CLASS TAX CUTS FOR ONE YEAR

       The President has called on Congress to act now to extend the middle class tax cuts for one year through 2013.

       The President’s proposal and legislation introduced by Congressional Democrats would provide certainty for the 114 million middle class families whose income taxes are scheduled to go up on January 1st.

       Both sides agree that we cannot allow these middle class families’ taxes to increase next year by an average of $1,600 – or about $2,200 for a typical middle class family of four.

       Over the next decade, the President’s proposal will save almost $1 trillion relative to continuing tax cuts for high‐income households that are worth $160,000 on average for households with incomes over $1 million and that will have little impact on job creation and economic growth.

      Under the President’s proposal, the 98 percent of American families with incomes of less than $250,000 per year would continue to benefit in full from the income tax cuts expiring at the end of 2012, including:

       The doubling of the Child Tax Credit to $1,000 per child, and the extension of the credit to millions of working families that previously could not benefit from it.

       The 10 percent tax bracket, which will provide middle class couples with a tax cut of up to $890 next year.

       Marriage penalty relief, which reduces or eliminates marriage penalties for nearly 38 million couples.

       Lower tax rates on up to $250,000 of income ($200,000 for single filers).

       In addition, the President’s proposal would reinstate the $7 million per‐couple estate
      tax exemption, which exempts all but the wealthiest 3 in 1,000 decedents from tax.

      The President’s proposal and legislation introduced by Congressional Democrats would provide certainty for the 114 million middle class families whose taxes will go up on January 1 if Congress does not act. Without Congressional action:

       114 million middle class families will see their federal income taxes increase by an average of $1,600. (For state by state estimates, see page 15.)

       A typical middle class family of four will see their taxes rise by about $2,200 as a result of losing the combination of the expanded child credit, marriage penalty relief, and the 10 percent bracket.

       Over 35 million families will receive a smaller Child Tax Credit, and millions of low‐ and moderate‐income working families with children will lose access to the Child Tax Credit altogether. (For state by state estimates, see page 16.)

       11 million middle class families will no longer get help paying for college from the American Opportunity Tax Credit.

       Small businesses will be able to claim immediate tax deductions for only $25,000, rather than $250,000, of new investment.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/uploads/middleclassreport_7_24_2012.pdf

    • Obama Administration Announces $9 Million Investment in Rural Communities to Foster Job Creation and Innovation

      Winners of the Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge Will Strengthen Regional Industry Clusters and Rural Economies Across 12 States

      August 1, 2012 usda.gov

      WASHINGTON, – The Obama Administration today announced the winners of the multi-agency Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge to spur job creation and economic growth in rural regions across the country.

      Economic development partnerships and initiatives in Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia will receive awards ranging from nearly $200,000 to over $1 million from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) and the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC).

      For more: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2012/08/0258.xml&contentidonly=true

    • Barns for Obama – OFA Ohio

      Published on Sep 3, 2012 by BarackObamadotcom
      Get involved in Ohio: http://OFA.BO/mS9cJo

      Brian, Joe and Rick share how President Obama has led in environmental and rural development investment. The President has empowered farming and rural communities—increasing their successes and helping Ohio move forward to an economy that’s built to last.

      Their enthusiasm from 2008 continues. They’ve added a new mural to the 2008 Obama Barn and continue to be a part of this campaign by volunteering and stepping up to be Neighborhood Team Leaders.

      How President Obama has helped Ohio:

      * Approved 1,296 farm loans in 2011
      * Expanded broadband internet to 28 new counties
      * Funded 169 rural clean energy projects
      * Funded 493 rural infrastructure projects

    • Enduring Drought, Farmers Draw the Line at Congress

      Published: August 12, 2012 By JENNIFER STEINHAUER – nytimes

      THURMAN, Iowa — John Askew pulled at a soybean pod and revealed two anemic beans dappled with stem rot, the harvest of a too hot sun and too little rain. Representative Tom Latham peered in and shook his head.

      “We need a farm bill — that’s the first thing,” said Mr. Askew, whose family has farmed here for six generations. Mr. Latham, a Republican, agrees.

      But House leaders, including Speaker John A. Boehner, who popped into Iowa on Friday night to promote Mr. Latham’s re-election campaign, have been unable to muster the votes.

      A summer drought that has destroyed crops, killed livestock and sent feed prices soaring is now extracting a political price from members of Congress, who failed to agree on a comprehensive agriculture bill or even limited emergency relief before leaving Washington for five weeks.

      Farmers are complaining loudly to their representatives, editorial boards across the heartland are hammering Congress over its inaction, and incumbents from both parties are sparring with their challengers over agricultural policy.

      In Minnesota, Senator Amy Klobuchar and her Republican Party-endorsed opponent, Kurt Bills, disagreed sharply in their first face-to-face debate over what a farm bill should contain. In Missouri, Senator Claire McCaskill and her Republican challenger, Representative Todd Akin, defended their positions before the state farm bureau’s political unit.

      Representative Leonard L. Boswell, Mr. Latham’s Democratic opponent in a newly drawn district, said, “Every time I get out there, people keep asking me: ‘What happened to the farm bill? Why don’t we have a farm bill?’ ”

      In Arkansas, the Democratic Party paid for an automated call by a farmer imploring rural voters to pester Representative Rick Crawford, a Republican, about the unfinished farm business. Representative Kristi Noem, Republican of South Dakota, took heat back home for backing away from a petition sponsored by Democrats that would have forced the House Agriculture Committee’s farm bill to the floor.

      “We would have much preferred they pass the House bill,” said Michael Held, the chief executive of the South Dakota Farm Bureau.

      For more: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/13/us/politics/drought-driven-voters-vent-anger-over-farm-bill.html?pagewanted=all

      • Fiscal cliff is now the best shot for farm bill, agriculture lobbyists say

        10/27/12 04:24 PM ET By Erik Wasson – TheHill

        House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) caused a stir on Thursday when he seemed to indicate that a standalone farm bill would come to the House floor after the Nov. 6 election.

        But lobbyists said the remarks mean, at best, that a modified farm bill could be wrapped into a lame-duck bill dealing with expiring tax cuts and automatic spending cuts.

        “I’m committed to bring the issue to the floor and then to see a way forward so we can get the votes to pass (a bill),” Cantor said at a campaign event in Idaho.

        Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) seized on the remarks, saying, “I’m very pleased to hear that Majority Leader Cantor is now committed to bring the Farm Bill to the floor immediately after the election.”

        Republican aides, however, quickly made clear that Cantor was not expressing any new support for moving the farm bill as reported out of the House Agriculture Committee this summer.

        Washington farm lobbyists said that in the wake of Cantor’s comments, the last best hope for the 2012 farm bill to pass will be if it is riding on fiscal cliff legislation.

        For more: http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/budget/264393-fiscal-cliff-is-now-best-shot-for-farm-bill-lobbyists-say

      • 3 Farm Bill Extension Measures Filed In House – UPDATE: CBO Releases Score For One-Year Farm Bill Extension

        Congress has run out of time to pass new Farm Bill, says House Ag Chair Lucas; measures seek to avert a dive off the “dairy cliff,” provide drought relief to farmers…Senate Ag Chair Stabenow supports extension…
        *Update at bottom of post

        SUNDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2012 By Jerry Hagstrom Founding Editor, The Hagstrom Report

        House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., is urging passage of a one-year extension of the 2008 Farm Bill, but the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition said on Sunday that House Republican leaders had filed three different versions of an extension on Saturday night, and that each is problematic. In addition to Lucas’ One-Year Farm Bill Extension, a Temporary One-Month Farm-Bill Extension was filed, as was a One-Month Dairy-Only Extension.

        In a statement on Sunday, Lucas said the one-year bill is a result of “discussions” with House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and Senate “colleagues,” but he did not say specifically that the others were backing the bill.

        “Clearly, it is no longer possible to enact a five-year Farm Bill in this Congress,” Lucas said.

        “Given this reality, the responsible thing to do–and the course of action I have long encouraged if a five-year bill was not possible is to extend the 2008 legislation for one year. This provides certainty to our producers and critical disaster assistance to those affected by record drought conditions.”

        For more: http://obamafoodorama.blogspot.com/2012/12/3-farm-bill-extension-measures-filed-in.html

    • July 24, 2014

      FACT SHEET: Increasing Investment in Rural America

      WASHINGTON, DC – This week, the White House Rural Council will host the inaugural Rural Opportunity Investment Conference (ROI) to promote potential investment opportunities that exist throughout rural America. Top leaders from the business community and financial institutions, senior government officials, rural economic development experts and others from across the country, will come together to discuss ways to develop partnerships that create jobs, grow small businesses, and invest in critical rural infrastructure.

      In conjunction with this event, the White House Rural Council is announcing a $10 billion dollar investment fund to promote rural economic development. This fund will continue to grow the rural economy by increasing access to capital for rural infrastructure projects and speeding up the process of rural infrastructure improvements. The fund is immediately open for business and more investors can now add to the initial $10 billion in available capital.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/07/24/fact-sheet-increasing-investment-rural-america

  3. Congress Must Act on Transportation Bill and Student Loans

    President Obama spoke about the urgent need for Congress to act now on two common sense measures to help hardworking middle class families. Unless Congress takes action in the next week, thousands of workers will be sent home from their jobs and millions of students will see their interest rates double. At a time when hundreds of thousands of construction workers are eager to get back on the job, it makes no sense to let transportation funding run out. And at a time when a college education has never been more important to finding a good job, it makes no sense to hit 7.4 million students with the equivalent of a $1,000 tax. It’s not too late, but time is running out for Republicans and Democrats to come together on these common sense measures to help our nation recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression.

    To learn more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/06/23/weekly-address-congress-must-act-transportation-bill-and-student-loans

  4. Biden’s June 25 Chicago fund-raiser: With chef Kornick

    June 21, 2012 5:06 PM By Lynn Sweet – suntimes

    Vice President Joe Biden–returns to Chicago on June 25 for a fund-raiser at the Lincoln Park home of Judy Wise with the added lure of a dinner cooked by Michael Kornick of MK Restaurant. The price ranges from $1,500 to $10,000. Biden was in Chicago on June 18 for a lunch event at Chicago Cut Steakhouse that was also structured to help Democrats running for House seats from Illinois districts, including Brad Schneider, Cheri Bustos, Bill Foster and Tammy Duckworth.

    First Lady Michelle Obama hits Chicago June 26 with Glee star and Dolton native Jane Lynch for a fund-raiser.

    For more; http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2012/06/biden_back_in_chicago_for_june.html

  5. National Veterans Small Business Conference and Expo – Detroit

    June 26-28, 2012
    Detroit’s COBO Center
    One Washington Boulevard
    Detroit, MI 48226
    Admission: FREE

    Join VA and your fellow Veterans at the free Veteran Hiring Fair in Detroit from June 26-28, 2012. More than just a typical job fair, the event offers career opportunities with federal agencies and private sector employers, workshops on interviewing skills and federal resume building, and Career Coaching.

    http://vaforvets.va.gov/Pages/EVENT_HiringFairDetroit.aspx

  6. Same name, different gravatar. The Kat is tweeting!

    >^..^<

  7. US new-home sales rose at fastest pace in 2 years

    6/25/12 By MARTIN CRUTSINGER | Associated Press – 13 mins ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans bought new homes in May at the fastest pace in more than two years, adding to evidence of a slow housing recovery.

    The Commerce Department says sales of new homes increased 7.6 percent in May from April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 369,000 homes. That’s the best pace since April 2010, the last month that buyers could qualify for a federal home-buying tax credit.

    Sales are increasing despite a sluggish job market that has slowed other areas of the economy.

    Though new homes represent less than 20 percent of the housing market, they have an outsize impact on the economy. Each home built creates an average of three jobs for a year and generates about $90,000 in tax revenue, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

  8. Supreme Court upholds parts of Ariz. immigration law

    6/25/12 By Liz Goodwin, Yahoo! News | The Ticket

    The Supreme Court rebuffed the Obama administration’s law suit and upheld a key part of Arizona’s tough anti-illegal immigration law on Monday that allows police officers to ask about immigration status during stops. That part of the law, which never went into effect because of court challenges, will now immediately be enforced in Arizona. Other parts of the law, including a provision that made it a state crime for illegal immigrants to seek work, will remain blocked. Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court’s swing vote, wrote the opinion, and was joined by Chief Justice Roberts, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor. Conservative Justices Scalia, Alito and Thomas agreed with part of the majority opinion, but dissented in part.

    The Obama administration sued to block Arizona’s law, called SB1070, shortly after it passed two years ago, saying it interfered with federal authority over immigration. The law makes it a state crime for illegal immigrants to seek work or fail to carry proper immigration papers. It also requires police officers to check immigration status and make warrantless arrests for immigration crimes in some cases. A federal judge enjoined those aspects of the law before they were ever put into effect, but the law became a lightning rod around the country, sparking boycotts and counter-boycotts and opening up a debate about the nation’s illegal immigrant population.

    In oral arguments in April, many of the justices seemed deeply skeptical of the government’s argument that it would interfere with its authority over immigration law if local police officers asked people about their immigration status during stops. Though much of the debate around the law has focused on “racial profiling”–whether Hispanic people would be stopped and questioned by police based on their ethnicity–the government did not even mention those words in their case against the law, instead focusing on the federal government’s supremacy in immigration matters. Justices repeatedly criticized the government’s argument against immigration checks. Even Sonia Sotomayor, part of the court’s liberal wing, said she was “terribly confused” by the government’s argument against the checks.

    But the liberal justices showed much more hesitation over the parts of the law that made federal immigration crimes into state crimes. Sotomayor singled out the state law against illegal immigrants seeking work, noting that Congress had explicitly rejected a similar law in their immigration legislation, instead choosing to target employers who hire unauthorized workers.

    Five states followed Arizona’s lead and passed similar laws last year, while similar bills failed in more than two dozen other state legislatures. It remains to be seen if this outcome will encourage more states to pass anti-illegal immigration laws. The law also became an issue in the presidential race, with Mitt Romney bringing on the law’s author Kris Kobach as an immigration adviser, and embracing the law’s purpose, “self deportation,” as his immigration enforcement strategy.

    For more: http://goo.gl/IvMun

    • June 25, 2012

      Statement by the President on the Supreme Court’s Ruling on Arizona v. the United States

      I am pleased that the Supreme Court has struck down key provisions of Arizona’s immigration law . What this decision makes unmistakably clear is that Congress must act on comprehensive immigration reform. A patchwork of state laws is not a solution to our broken immigration system – it’s part of the problem.

      At the same time, I remain concerned about the practical impact of the remaining provision of the Arizona law that requires local law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of anyone they even suspect to be here illegally. I agree with the Court that individuals cannot be detained solely to verify their immigration status. No American should ever live under a cloud of suspicion just because of what they look like. Going forward, we must ensure that Arizona law enforcement officials do not enforce this law in a manner that undermines the civil rights of Americans, as the Court’s decision recognizes. Furthermore, we will continue to enforce our immigration laws by focusing on our most important priorities like border security and criminals who endanger our communities, and not, for example, students who earn their education – which is why the Department of Homeland Security announced earlier this month that it will lift the shadow of deportation from young people who were brought to the United States as children through no fault of their own.

      I will work with anyone in Congress who’s willing to make progress on comprehensive immigration reform that addresses our economic needs and security needs, and upholds our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. And in the meantime, we will continue to use every federal resource to protect the safety and civil rights of all Americans, and treat all our people with dignity and respect. We can solve these challenges not in spite of our most cherished values – but because of them. What makes us American is not a question of what we look like or what our names are. What makes us American is our shared belief in the enduring promise of this country – and our shared responsibility to leave it more generous and more hopeful than we found it.

    • SPLIT RULING

      In a 5-3 ruling issued Monday, the US Supreme Court struck down much of Arizona’s tough immigration law, SB170, but upheld a key provision allowing officers to question people about their immigration status.

      Here is what the court concluded:

      Arizona police cannot make warrantless arrests and jail immigrants just because officers believe they are deportable.

      Arizona cannot make it a state crime for illegal immigrants to seek work or to be in the state without carrying federal documentation.

      Arizona police can briefly detain and question someone they’ve stopped and contact federal agents if they have reasonable suspicion they are in the country illegally.

      Voted in the majority:
      Chief Justice John Roberts
      Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
      Justice Stephen Breyer
      Justice Anthony Kennedy
      Justice Sonia Sotomayor

      Dissented:
      Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas would have upheld all of Arizona’s law; Samuel Alito wanted to sustain two of the three provisions the majority rejected.

      Not participating:
      Justice Elen Kagan recused herself.

  9. Good morning CR, Kat and PPO Family. HOPE you all have a great Monday. Sorry I have been out of pocket lately. Can only link to articles to twitter unless I am at work. Now, today, I don’t have my iPhone so can’t even forward those that I get notifications of.

    Please join me in lighting a candle for our President, First Family and the Nation. The media is saying Obama is going to have a tough week. I pray he has a terrific week.

    http://www.gratefulness.org/candles/candles.cfm?l=eng&gi=PBO

    • Way to go, Jackie!

      BTW we’re keeping those numbers up — 55 candles from 2 countries.

  10. Steve Benen:

    The irony is almost jaw-dropping. Romney is certain we need a president “who will lead” on immigration policy, while at the exact same time, Romney refuses to lead on immigration policy. Put it this way: refusing to take a stand because one constituency or another might get angry isn’t leadership; it’s cowardice (and for the Republican presidential hopeful, it’s far too common).

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/06/25/12400157-another-missed-opportunity-to-lead?lite

    • 6/25 June 25, 2012

      Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event

      Oyster River High School
      Durham, New Hampshire

      2:34 P.M. EDT

      THE PRESIDENT: Hello, New Hampshire! (Applause.) Hello, Durham! (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you, everybody. It is great to be back in New Hampshire. (Applause.)

      A couple of people I want to acknowledge. First of all, wasn’t Scott outstanding? Give Scotty a big round of applause for his introduction. (Applause.) I want to thank Todd Allen, who is the principal here at Oyster River High School. (Applause.) And I want to thank our outstanding Senator from New Hampshire, Jeanne Shaheen. (Applause.) And I want to thank all of you. (Applause.)

      I know it’s a little warm in here. (Laughter.) That’s okay. That’s okay. It is wonderful to be back. And I just have so many good memories here in New Hampshire, and I see some familiar faces and folks who were with me when people were still figuring out how to pronounce my name. (Laughter.)

      AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love you!

      THE PRESIDENT: I love you guys back. I really do. (Applause.)

      Now, I am back here in New Hampshire not just because I need your help — although I do. But more importantly, I’m here because your country needs your help.

      In 2008, we came together to reclaim the basic bargain that built this country — the basic ideal of this country, the thing that created the largest middle class, the most prosperous nation in the history of the world. We came together because we believe that in America, your success shouldn’t be determined by the circumstances of your birth. (Applause.)

      Here in the United States of America, if you are willing to work hard, you should be able to find a good job. If you’re willing to meet your responsibilities, you should be able to take care of your family, and own a home, maybe start a business, give your kids a better chance than you had -– no matter who you are, no matter where you come from, no matter what you look like, no matter who you love. (Applause.) That’s what we believe. That’s what America is about. (Applause.)

      That’s why we came together. That’s why so many of you got involved in 2008. It wasn’t because you thought my election was a sure thing — when you support a guy named Barack Obama — (laughter) — you know that’s not a guarantee. But we shared that common sense of what America has been, and is, and must be for the future. (Applause.)

      I ran for this office because for more than a decade, that basic bargain, that profound American Dream had been slipping away from too many people. Before I took office, the worst economic crisis of our lifetime made it even worse.

      So, Durham, the debate in this election is not whether we need to do better — everybody understands that our economy isn’t where it needs to be. There are too many people out there who are struggling, too many folks out of work, too many homes that are still underwater. Of course, we need to do better. The debate is not whether; it is how. (Applause.) How do we grow the economy faster? How do we create more jobs? How do we pay down our debt? How do we reclaim that central American promise that no matter who you are, you can make it here if you try?

      And this is not just the usual run-of-the-mill political argument. This is not the usual Washington chatter — there’s a lot of that. But this, this is the defining issue of our time. This is a make-or-break moment for our middle class, and folks who are aspiring to get into the middle class. The next President and the next Congress will face a set of decisions — on the economy, on deficits, on taxes -– that will have a profound impact not only on the country we live in today, but the country that we pass on to our kids.

      And here’s why you’re so important — because what’s holding us back from meeting the challenges we face is not the lack of big ideas, it’s not the lack of technical solutions. Just about every policy and proposal, by now, has been put on the table; everybody knows what the options are. What’s holding us back is a stalemate in Washington between two fundamentally different visions of which direction we should go. (Applause.)

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/06/25/remarks-president-campaign-event

    • Obama: election ‘not the usual, run-of-the-mill political argument’

      6/25/12 3:30 PM EDT By DONOVAN SLACK – POLITICO44

      DURHAM, N.H. – President Barack Obama sought to break through the campaign 2012 rhetoric by telling supporters at a campaign rally here on Monday that the election is “not just the usual,, run-of-the-mill political argument.”

      He said it will decide “the defining issue[s] of our time” because the next president and the next Congress will face a set of decisions that will have “a profound impact” on the country not only today but for generations to come. And he suggested what many had already assumed – that little progress can be made before November.

      “Everybody knows what the options are,” Obama said, noting that his proposals have been blocked over and over. “What’s holding us back is a stalemate in Washington.”

      The president said the choice between his vision and that of Mitt Romney is a choice between going forward and going back to failed policies of the past. He asserted that Mitt Romney and his “allies in Congress” want to cut health care for millions of Americans, turn Medicare into a voucher program and give the wealthy tax cuts.

      He touted his record on taxes – that he has cut them since taking office. But he pressed the need for more investment – in teachers, in green energy technology, and in fixing roads and bridges and other infrastructure. And he quoted a Republican predecessor, Abraham Lincoln, saying that he believes we should do through government what we can’t do individually.

      “New Hampshire the only thing that can break this stalemate is you,” Obama said. “You’ve got the final say and that’s the amazing thing about our democracy.”

      You can decide if regulating Wall Street was the right thing, he said, whether letting millions of young people stay on their parents health care insurance was the right thing, whether halting deportations of young illegal immigrants is the right thing.

  11. Obama stops for ice cream, offers to pick up the tab for stunned patrons

    6/25/12 4:35 PM EDT By DONOVAN SLACK – POLITICO44

    DURHAM, N.H. – President Barack Obama made a surprise stop at an ice cream shop at the University of New Hampshire on Monday and offered to pick up the tab for surprised patrons.

    “My treat, now,” he said, according to a pool report. “This is legal. I could not do this in front of a polling place, buy you ice cream. But I can do it here.”

    It’s unclear if anyone took him up on the offer. The president took pictures with stunned customers at the Dairy Bar and proffered birthday greetings for one. “Can I buy you some ice cream?” he asked.

    “I didn’t think I’d get to see you!” one patron near the entrance exclaimed.

    “I didn’t think I’d get to see you either,” Obama replied, according to the pool report.

    Obama ordered a hot fudge sundae for himself and a banana split for press secretary Jay Carney, whom he joked had a big appetite.

    One customer, Laurie Meyer of Dublin, N.H., asked the president how he stays slim while indulging in such sweets. A man next to her remarked,”It’s the stress.”

    “I only have these once in a while,” Obama said, noting his sundae was “very good.”

    To see the photo: http://www.politico.com/politico44/2012/06/obama-offers-free-ice-cream-127246.html

    • June 25, 2012

      Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event

      Symphony Hall
      Boston, Massachusetts

      7:41 P.M. EDT

      THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Boston! (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you, Boston. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you, Boston. Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you. Please, everybody have a seat. Oh, it is — (laughter) —

      AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

      THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Well, it is good to be back in Boston. (Applause.) Good to be back in Massachusetts.

      I want to make some acknowledgments here. First of all, you’ve got one of the finest governors in the country in Deval Patrick. (Applause.) You’ve got one of the finest mayors in the country in the Tom Menino. (Applause.) You’ve got an outstanding state auditor in Suzanne Bump. (Applause.)

      And I just want to thank Elizabeth for that introduction, and let you know how lucky all of you are to have a chance to vote for her in the next election. (Applause.) Nobody fought harder for Wall Street reform — the reform that is now law and protecting consumers all across the country — than Elizabeth, reform that will end taxpayer bailouts, make sure folks aren’t being taken advantage of by mortgage lenders and credit card companies. She has been a fierce advocate since before I knew her for the middle class. She has been advocating on core issues that matter to families her entire career. She is going to be an outstanding senator from Massachusetts, and everybody here has got to turn out for her. (Applause.)

      I want to thank Miri Ben-Ari for her outstanding talent. (Applause.) We appreciate her appearing here today. I will not sing today, even though — (laughter) — when I’m in Symphony Hall, I’m tempted. (Applause.) I am tempted, but — (laughter and applause) — can’t do it. We have some serious business to attend to. (Laughter.)

      I also want to acknowledge former Governor Michael Dukakis, who is here, and his lovely wife Kitty. (Applause.) And finally, Bos, I just want to say thank you for Youkilis.

      AUDIENCE: Booo —

      THE PRESIDENT: I’m just saying. He’s going to have to change the color of his “sox.” (Laughter and boos.) I didn’t think I’d get any “boos” out of here, but — (laughter) — I guess I shouldn’t have — I should not have brought up baseball. I understand. My mistake.

      AUDICEN: Booo —

      THE PRESIDENT: My mistake. You’ve got to know your crowd. (Laughter.)

      AUDIENCE MEMBER: We still love you! (Laughter and applause.)

      THE PRESIDENT: Now, Boston, I’m here not just because I need your help — although I do. I’m here because the country needs your help.

      Now, in 2008, we came together not just to support a candidate — it wasn’t just about me. When you support a guy named Barack Obama, you’re not doing it because you thought it was a sure thing. (Laughter.) The reason we came together in 2008 was because we had a shared vision about what’s best in this country. We wanted to reclaim the basic bargain that made America what it is, that built the largest middle class in history, that built the most prosperous nation on Earth — that compact that binds us together as a people, that binds us together as citizens. We believed that in America, your success shouldn’t be determined by the circumstances of your birth. (Applause.)

      We believed that if you worked hard, you should be able to find a good job; if you meet your responsibilities, you should be able to support your family and own a home, maybe start a business, give your kids opportunities you could not have imagined — no matter who you are, no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, no matter who you love, no matter what your last name is.

      It’s that basic bargain that allowed Michelle and I to succeed. It’s that basic bargain that took a young kid from the South Side of Chicago to become the governor of the Commonwealth. It’s that basic bargain that brought a lot of your parents or grandparents or great-grandparents to these shores from countries where that ideal didn’t take root. And it was that basic bargain, that simple dream, that we understood had been slipping away for too many Americans.

      We’ve gone through a decade in which surpluses were turned into deficits, in which two wars were fought on a credit card, in which a few people were doing very well but more and more people were having trouble just getting by, no matter how hard they worked — all of which culminated in the worst financial crisis of our lifetimes. And after that crisis, that dream seemed even more tattered, even more frayed.

      And so we went to work. And over the last three-and-a-half years, step by step, we’ve tried to rebuilt the foundations of that dream, making sure that we reformed our financial system so that reckless bets didn’t always bring down our economy; making sure that people who are out there working hard don’t have to worry about being bankrupt just because somebody in their family gets sick; making sure that young people are able to get the assistance they need to go to college and make something that approximates their dreams.

      And because of the incredible resilience and the incredible hard work, the toughness of the American people, we’ve begun to see progress — created over 4 million jobs over the last three-and-a-half years — (applause) — 800,000 in the last few months alone. (Applause.) When some were saying let’s go ahead and let Detroit go bankrupt, we bet on the American worker and American industries. (Applause.) And today the U.S. auto industry is back on top and getting stronger. (Applause.)

      But what we also understand is, is that there are way too many people out there who are still struggling, too many people whose homes are underwater, too many small businesses that are still finding it hard to get financing and keep their doors open.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/06/25/remarks-president-campaign-event-0

  12. 9:25 PM ET
    President Obama attends a campaign fundraiser
    Private Krupp Residence, Weston, MA

    • June 25, 2012

      Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event

      Private Residence
      Weston, Massachusetts

      9:34 P.M. EDT

      THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, everybody. Thank you. (Applause.) You don’t need to stand up again. No, you already did that, come on, come on. (Applause.) Thank you, everybody. Thank you so much. (Applause.)

      Let me, first of all, thank Doug and Judy and George and Lizbeth. What a spectacular evening. You guys could not be more gracious. And if this is the first time you’ve done this — you’re actually quite good at this. (Laughter.) So just want to let you know that you’re doing fine. (Laughter.) Really.

      A couple other people who are here — as was mentioned, Rob Barber has been an extraordinary friend for many, many years. And so we thank him for all of his support. (Applause.) We’ve also got somebody who I met when I was still running for the U.S. Senate and has been a wonderful friend all these years — your Treasurer, Steve Grossman, is here. (Applause.) Where is Steve? There he is.

      And finally, let me just say that somebody who I genuinely consider a brother — I don’t mean that in the vernacular. (Laughter.) I mean somebody who — when I think about people who I admire, I care about, who I just think is good people and who articulates a vision of what this country should be as well as anybody in this country — it’s your Governor, Deval Patrick. (Applause.) I love the guy. Thank you. (Applause.) Deval Patrick. (Applause.)

      So some of you were at Symphony Hall, and I had a chance to give a long speech. And what I’d like to do tonight — take advantage of the fact that we have an intimate setting — I’m not going to give a long speech at the front end. What I’d rather do is have a conversation, answer your questions, take some comments.

      But let me just say at the top that many of you were involved in the election in 2008, and in some ways when I talk to my political team about — and reminisce about 2008, it was like lightening in a bottle. It captured a spirit and an energy and an electricity that was spectacular. And I couldn’t be prouder of the campaign we ran in 2008.

      But in some ways, this election is more important than 2008. In some ways, the stakes are higher. Because back in 2008, there was some overlap between Democrats and Republicans on some important issues. The nominee from the other party believed in climate change, believed in campaign finance reform, believed in immigration reform. And what we’ve seen in the face of probably the worst financial crisis and economic crisis of our lifetimes is that the Republican Party has moved in a fundamentally different direction, so that on every issue we have fundamental choices that are at stake that will determine not just how we do tomorrow or the next day, but for the next 10 years or the next 20 years.

      And I’ve said this before and I believe it — this is a make-or-break moment for who we are as a country and the values that we live by. And I think it’s a make-or-break moment for the middle class in this country, or everybody who is aspiring to get into the middle class.

      Obviously we’re still recovering from the financial crisis and the economic crisis, and there are a lot of people who are still out of work, and a lot of homes that are still underwater, and a lot of businesses that are still struggling. But for a decade before that crisis, what we had seen was that the basic bargain that built this country, that allowed so many of us to be successful — the notion that if you work hard, no matter who you are, where you come from, what you look like, who you love, you can make it; that if you’re responsible and you look after your family and you apply yourself, you can support a family and have a home and send your kids to college so they can do better than you ever imagined — that basic compact had been eroding — so that job growth had been more sluggish in the previous decade than any time in the previous 50 years, and a few people were doing extraordinarily well, but for more and more people it was a struggle just to keep up.

      And it was papered over for a while through debt and home equity loans and credit cards, but that was a house of cards that all came tumbling down. And so, even as we work on the immediate task of putting people back to work and getting the economy growing faster, we’ve got this underlying challenge that we have to meet. And that is, how do we get back to an economy that is built to last, and where everybody has got a fair shot and everybody is doing their fair share and everybody is playing by the same set of rules?

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/06/25/remarks-president-campaign-event-1

  13. Romney would cut firefighters and gut the federal government. Here’s a Dept. of Interior report on a wildfire in Colorado showing how urgently we need both:

    Federal partners continue to support state and local partners as they fight wildfires

    USDA, DOI, FEMA continue to provide firefighters, aircraft, and federal grants to support local partners combating fires, 4 airtankers, 450 firefighters supporting Waldo Canyon effort in Colorado….

    http://www.doi.gov/news/pressreleases/Federal-partners-continue-to-support-state-and-local-partners-as-they-fight-wildfires.cfm

    Now, I mention this because my brother-in-law and sister-in-law can see the smoke from this fire where they live!

    • iaff-for-obama

      IAFF Endorses Obama/Biden for Re-Election

      June 8, 2012 – This week, the IAFF Executive Board considered the records and positions of the candidates competing for the most powerful elected position in the world and unanimously concluded that the choice of the next president of the United States is clear because of the stark contrasts between the candidates. The IAFF has endorsed President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

      On one hand, the current, sitting president and vice president have consistently shown their commitment with critical and increasing funding for programs that have kept thousands of fire fighters and paramedics on the job, and provided the equipment they need to protect their communities during some of the toughest economic times our country and jurisdictions across the United States have ever experienced.

      On the other hand, Mitt Romney, as governor of Massachusetts, repeatedly attempted to cut local aid to communities, jeopardizing public safety. He also attempted to strip away the collective bargaining rights of fire fighters in the state and has repeatedly stated that he opposes and would zero-out the federal grant programs that provide critical funding to communities to keep fire fighters working and for life-saving equipment and apparatus.

      “The simple fact is, over the past two years IAFF members have been literally assaulted – their rights attacked, their standard of living attacked, their retirement after a career serving their community attacked – and those assaults have been launched at every level by people who say the same things, promote the same policies and have similar records in public office as Mitt Romney,” says IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger.

      In March, the IAFF joined with the Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois (AFFI) to produce and broadcast an ad highlighting Mitt Romney’s opposition to critical public safety programs, which ran during the Illinois primary.

      Over the coming weeks, the IAFF will be providing affiliates with information on the positions of the candidates on public safety and issues supporting people who work for a living.

  14. I don’t do phone banking but I support them!

    I am going to drop off “Latinos For Obama” lapel stickers and “South County Democrat” pens off “Obama Biden 2012” and “Latinos For Obama” phone banking targeting Arizona and Colorado tonight in my city.

    • Poll: 1-in-4 uncommitted now in White House race

      06/24/2012 06:14:48 PM PDT By Laurie Kellman and Jennifer Agiesta – Associated Press

      WASHINGTON — They shrug at President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney. They’re in no hurry to decide which one to support in the White House race. And they’ll have a big say in determining who wins the White House.

      One-quarter of U.S. voters are persuadable, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll, and both Obama and Romney will spend the next four months trying to convince these fickle, hard-to-reach individuals that only he has what it takes to fix an ailing nation. It’s a delicate task. These voters also hate pandering.

      For more: http://www.mercurynews.com/presidentelect/ci_20930535/poll-1-4-uncommitted-now-white-house-race?IADID=Search-www.mercurynews.com-www.mercurynews.com

  15. WH

    Tuesday, June 26, 2012

    All Times Eastern

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    9:05 AM
    President Obama departs Boston, Massachusetts en route Atlanta, Georgia.
    Boston Logan International Airport
    Open Press

    10:00 AM
    11:00 AM
    11:15 AM
    President Obama arrives Atlanta, GA
    Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
    Open Press

    11:30 AM
    Vice President Biden’s delivers remarks at the “Strengthening the Middle Class Tour”
    UAW Local 838, 2615 Washington Street, Waterloo, IA
    Local Event Time: 10:30 AM CDT
    Open Press

    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
    1:25 PM
    President Obama attends a campaign fundraiser
    The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
    Pooled TV, Open to Correspondents

    1:45 PM
    First Lady Michelle Obama is joined with Glee star and Dolton native Jane Lynch for a campaign fundraiser
    Chicago, IL

    2:00 PM
    2:10 PM
    President Obama attends a campaign fundraiser
    The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
    Closed Press

    3:00 PM
    3:15 PM
    First Lady Michelle Obama attends Chicago Gov. Pat Quinn’s “Military Family Licensing Act” bill signing event
    Illinois National Guard Armory, Chicago, IL

    3:35 PM
    The President departs Atlanta, Georgia en route to Miami, Florida
    Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
    Open Press

    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM
    5:10 PM
    President Obama arrives in Miami, FL
    Miami International Airport
    Open Press

    5:30 PM
    President Obama attends a campaign fundraiser
    The Fillmore Miami Beach, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, FL

    5:45 PM
    President Obama attends a campaign event
    Private Residence
    Closed Press
    Miami Beach, FL

    6:00 PM
    First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks at campaign event
    Chicago IL

    Dr Jill Biden gives remarks at the DC College Access Program graduation celebration
    Washington, DC

    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    8:30 PM
    President Obama attends a campaign fundraiser
    The Fillmore Miami Beach, Miami Beach, FL
    Pooled TV, Open to Correspondents

    9:00 PM
    9:45 PM
    President Obama departs Miami, Florida en route Joint Base Andrews.
    Miami International Airport
    Open Press

    10:00 PM
    11: 00 PM
    11:55 PM
    President Obama arrives at Joint Base Andrews.
    Joint Base Andrews
    Travel Pool Coverage

    12:00 AM
    12:10 AM
    The President arrives at the White House
    South Lawn
    Open Press

  16. President Obama, Vice President Biden, First Lady Michelle and Dr Jill Biden are all out on the road attending various events today.

  17. Biden hitting the trail in Iowa

    6/24/12 2:19 PM EDT By DONOVAN SLACK – POLITICO44

    Vice President Joe Biden is planning a two-day swing through eastern Iowa that the Obama campaign is billing as the “Strengthening the Middle Class Tour.”

    Biden will hit Waterloo on Tuesday and Dubuque on Wednesday. He also has an event in Clinton.

    “The Vice President will discuss how President Obama is helping create an economy built to last – one focused on reclaiming the security of the rural middle class and restoring the basic values of hard work and fair play that made our country great,” the campaign said in an announcement.

    “Vice President Biden will also lay out the clear economic choice in this election–between the President’s vision for moving our country forward, ensuring an economy built to last and economic security for the middle class, and Mitt Romney’s vision, which would take us back to the same failed economic policies that brought on the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.”

    Recent polls have shown the race between President Obama and Mitt Romney tightening to a dead heat in Iowa. Obama campaign officials say they expected that. And they don’t expect it to change much before the election, in Iowa or in other battleground states. “On the ground, we continue to prepare to for an absolutely razor-thin election,” one campaign official said.

    • Two-day tour of Iowa will also include stops in Waterloo, Dubuque

      6/21/12 Associated Press

      DES MOINES — Vice President Joe Biden plans to campaign next week in northeast Iowa, underscoring the 2012 presidential campaign’s premium on rural and working-class voters.

      Biden is scheduled to campaign in Waterloo, Dubuque and Clinton on a two-day trip on Tuesday and Wednesday, President Barack Obama’s campaign said Thursday.

      The visit will mark Biden’s third trip to Iowa on behalf of Obama this year, the same as the president.

      Iowa is among about a half dozen states where neither Obama nor Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has a clear advantage.

      Iowa, despite offering only 6 of the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the presidency, is being hotly pursued in what is expected to be a close election with less than five months until Election Day. Obama carried Iowa in the 2008 election.

      For more: http://clintonherald.com/local/x1254878014/JUST-IN-Vice-President-Biden-to-visit-Clinton

    • Biden stop planned Tuesday at UAW Hall

      June 23, 2012 12:18 pm wcfcourier

      WATERLOO, Iowa — Vice President Joe Biden will stop at Waterloo’s United Auto Workers Local 838 hall Tuesday as part of a two-day swing through Eastern Iowa as he campaigns for President Barack Obama’s reelection.

      The UAW hall is located at 2615 Washington St. The 10:30 a.m. event is open to the public, but tickets are required. For more information, go online to http://www.barackobama.com/ia.

      Biden will make a similar stop at Dubuque’s Grand River Center, 500 Bell St. He will also hold an event for grassroots supporters in Clinton.
      The Biden stop will center on the economy. The Obama campaign is dubbing his Tuesday-Wednesday swing the “Strengthening the Middle Class Tour.”
      “In remarks in Waterloo and Dubuque, the vice president will discuss how President Obama is helping create an economy built to last — one focused on reclaiming the security of the rural middle class and restoring the basic values of hard work and fair play that made our country great,” the campaign said.

      Biden will emphasize Iowa’s improved manufacturing picture and higher farm incomes while also laying out “the clear economic choice” between the president and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney, the campaign added.

      Iowa is among a handful of battleground states in the 2012 election and is seeing an increasing amount of campaign activity.

      ———–

      Vice President Joe Bidenin Dubuque, Iowa: Strengthening the Middle Class Tour

      Published on Jun 28, 2012 by BarackObamadotcom
      Are you in? http://OFA.BO/iERCz9

      Vice President Joe Biden gave a speech at the Grand River Convention Center in Dubuque, Iowa today. He was continuing his Strengthening the Middle Class Tour by highlighting President Obama’s ongoing efforts to increase middle-class security for Iowa’s families. He contrasted these efforts with Mitt Romney’s history of shipping American jobs overseas.

  18. First Lady Returns to Chicago for Fundraisers
    Michelle Obama is scheduled to host two fundraisers on June 26 in Chicago, including one with Jane Lynch

    Jun 21, 2012 By Alexandria Fisher – nbcchicago

    First Lady Michelle Obama will be Glee-fully dancing her way around Chicago next week as she is scheduled to host two fundraisers downtown, including one co-hosted by TV star Jane Lynch.

    The First Lady is set to appear June 26 at an 11 a.m. luncheon co-hosted by the popular Glee star and Dolton native at Fulton’s on the River, at 315 N. La Salle St.

    Tickets range from $250 to $5,000 for the soire. The event is expected to generate support from the LGBT community.

    Lynch, a suburban Dolton native, has been a vocal supporter of Obama, narrating a campaign video in which the president expresses support for LGBT rights. Obama is the first sitting president to express support for same-sex marriage.

    Source: http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/politics/First-Lady-Returns-To-Chicago-159778335.html#ixzz1yoZwOZxl

  19. Michelle Obama joining Gov. Quinn at Tuesday bill signing

    June 22, 2012 11:15 AM By Lynn Sweet – runtimes

    WASHINGTON–First Lady Michelle Obama will attend a Tuesday ceremony with Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn when he signs a bill making it easier for military spouses and veterans–who move often– to transfer their professional licenses to Illinois. Mrs. Obama added the event to her schedule on a day when she was planning to be in Chicago for two fund-raisers, one with “Glee” star and Dolton native Jane Lynch.

    Helping military families is one of Mrs. Obama’s signature issues and has been a cause Quinn has been involved with since he was lieutenant governor. Mrs. Obama will join Quinn at the Illinois National Guard Armory where he will sign the “Military Family Licensing Act.”

    From the White House: “In February, the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden asked the country’s governors and spouses to improve job portability for military spouses in their states. At the time the First Lady and Dr. Biden addressed the Governors, only 11 states had legislation. Now less than four months later, Illinois will be become the 23rd state to adopt pro-military spouse license portability legislation. An additional 7 states have pending legislation.

    For more: http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2012/06/michelle_obama_joining_gov_qui.html

    • This is good. There are so many complications that vets and military families have to contend with.

  20. June 25, 2012

    Readout of the President’s Call with Greek Prime Minister Samaras

    President Obama spoke with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras earlier today. The President congratulated Prime Minister Samaras on his election and on the formation of his coalition government. President Obama expressed his strong support for Greece and noted the continued solidarity between the American and Greek people. The President welcomed Prime Minister Samaras’ commitment to address Greece’s economic situation and urged the Prime Minister to work closely with the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank in the implementation of Greece’s reform program. The President also wished the Prime Minister a speedy recovery as he recuperates from his recent eye surgery

    • June 25, 2012

      Readout of the President’s Phone Call with Prime Minister Monti of Italy

      President Obama spoke with Italian Prime Minister Monti earlier today, following up on their discussions at last week’s G-20 meeting in Los Cabos. Prime Minister Monti provided the President with an update on economic developments in Europe, and they discussed the importance of continued efforts to promote growth and stability in the Eurozone.

  21. U.S. Chain-Store Sales Rise 2% in Week

    6/26/12 Nasdaq – 38 minutes ago

    The International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs Retail Chain Store Sales Index rose 2% in the week ended Saturday from the week before on a seasonally adjusted, comparable-store basis, getting a boost from the summer’s first heat wave in the Northeast.

    ICSC Chief Economist Michael Niemira said the heat wave during the second half of the week contributed to increased demand for bottled water, apparel, pool chemicals, beer, suncare and auto batteries. Sales of batteries, plywood and other storm-related merchandise also grew as Tropical Storm Debby formed off the coast of west Florida late in the week.

    ICSC expects June industry sales will increase about 1.5%.

    On a year-on-year basis, the reading rose 2.7%.

  22. Redbook’s US Retail Sales Up 0.4% In June

    6/26/12 Nasdaq – 41 minutes ago

    National chain store sales edged up 0.4% in the first four weeks of June from May, according to Redbook Research’s latest indicator, released Tuesday.

    The index’s rise compared with a targeted 0.9% gain.

    The Johnson Redbook Index also showed seasonally adjusted sales for the period were up 2.3% from last year, compared with a 2.9% targeted gain.

    Redbook said both department and discount stores saw softer sales following Father’s Day. The slower pace also reflected a normal seasonal lull as more people enjoy the outdoors instead of shopping during the summer months.

    Sales for the week rose 1.9% year-over-year.

  23. Consumer Sentiment in Economy, Technology Improve in June, According to CEA Index

    6/26/12 Press Release: Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) – 25 minutes ago

    ARLINGTON, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–
    Consumer confidence in technology as well as the overall economy both improved in June, according to the latest CEA Index released today from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®.

    Consumer sentiment toward technology improved for a second straight month, reaching 89.5 in June. The CEA Index of Consumer Technology Expectations (ICTE) rose nearly two points and is at the highest June reading since the inception of the Index in January 2007. The ICTE, which measures consumer expectations about technology spending, is up more than seven points from this time last year.

    “Despite continued global upheaval, gas prices are declining, which is likely relieving some pressure on consumer spending, which in turn is allowing consumers to feel like they can allocate more money to technology,” said Shawn DuBravac, CEA’s chief economist and senior director of research.

    Consumer confidence in the overall economy also improved in June. The CEA Index of Consumer Expectations (ICE) climbed to 170.4, an increase of 2.6 points from last month. The ICE, which measures consumer expectations about the broader economy, is up more than ten points from this time last year.

    “Sentiment about the economy is up from this time last year,” said DuBravac. “However after several months of declines, a flat equity market and continued volatility in global economies, sentiment will likely remain under pressure.”

    For more; http://finance.yahoo.com/news/consumer-sentiment-economy-technology-improve-140000516.html;_ylt=A2KJjbwrxulPhjAAmd3QtDMD

  24. Home Prices Rise in April 2012 According to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices

    6/26/12 Release: S&P Indices – 49 minutes ago

    NEW YORK, June 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Data through April 2012, released today by S&P Indices for its S&P/Case-Shiller[1] Home Price Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices, showed that on average home prices increased 1.3% in the month of April for both the 10- and 20-City Composites. This comes after seven consecutive months of falling home prices as measured by both indices.

    April’s data indicate that on an annual basis home prices fell by 2.2% for the 10-City Composite and by 1.9% for the 20-City Composites, versus April 2011. While still negative, this is an improvement over the annual rates of -2.9% and -2.6% recorded for the month of March 2012. Both Composites and 18 of the 20 MSAs saw increases in annual returns in April compared to those published for March; only Detroit and New York fared worse in April, posting annual returns of +1.2% and -3.8% respectively, falling below their March returns of +3.9% and -3.0%. For the seventh consecutive month, Atlanta posted the only double-digit negative annual return at -17.0%, its 22nd consecutive month of negative annual returns. Ten of the 20 MSAs saw positive annual returns – Boston, Charlotte, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Miami, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Tampa and Washington D.C. No cities posted new lows in April 2012.

    In April 2012, both Composites were up by 1.3% in the month, resulting in annual returns of -2.2% and
    -1.9%, respectively.

    “With April 2012 data, we finally saw some rising home prices,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices. “On a monthly basis, 19 of the 20 MSAs and both Composites rose in April over March. Detroit was the only city that saw prices fall, down 3.6%. In addition, 18 of the 20 MSAs and both Composites saw better annual rates of return. It has been a long time since we enjoyed such broad- based gains. While one month does not make a trend, particularly during seasonally strong buying months, the combination of rising positive monthly index levels and improving annual returns is a good sign. The 10-City and 20-City Composites each rose by 1.3% for the month and posted annual rates of return of -2.2% and -1.9% compared to April 2011, better than the -2.9% and -2.6% annual rates seen in March 2012.

    For more: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/home-prices-rise-april-2012-133800556.html;_ylt=A2KJNTvoxulPZGkARj3QtDMD

  25. It’s not a race for sixth-grade class president

    Jun 26, 2012 10:11 AM EDT By Steve Benen – maddowblog

    I sometimes think about something President Obama said in his inaugural address: “We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things.”

    If someone could let Obama’s opponent know, I’d appreciate it.

    For the second time in as many weeks, Mitt Romney’s campaign taunted President Barack Obama outside a speech.

    Romney’s campaign bus circled Obama’s fundraiser at Boston Symphony Hall Monday night several times, according to Romney deputy press secretary Ryan Williams and verified by several onlookers who said it was honking its horn as it passed.

    Williams told BuzzFeed that the bus made “a few” laps before local police closed the roads around the venue before Obama’s arrival. They plan on bringing the bus back after Obama leaves to attend another fundraiser.

    Did the bus laps and honking disrupt the event? Actually, no — the president’s appearance was indoors and attendees couldn’t see or hear the Romney campaign’s antics. As Kevin Drum noted, “[T]he bus didn’t interrupt anyone trying to speak, it didn’t block any entrances, and it didn’t harass anyone trying to get in.”

    So what was the point? Kevin thinks this is about the Romney campaign sending a signal to the Republican Party’s right-wing base, which apparently revels in nonsense like this, that the GOP nominee hates the president every bit as much as they do. That’s certainly plausible.

    I also wonder, though, whether the Romney campaign is simply run by overgrown children who think the race for the presidency of the United States during a time of global crisis is qualitatively similar to a race for sixth-grade class president.

    For more: http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/06/26/12417365-its-not-a-race-for-sixth-grade-class-president?lite

    • One of the commenters said PBO supporters should wave signs at the bus that say HONK IF YOU LOVE OBAMA!

  26. 11:30 AM ET
    Vice President Biden’s delivers remarks at the “Strengthening the Middle Class Tour”
    UAW Local 838, 2615 Washington Street, Waterloo, IA
    Local Event Time: 10:30 AM CDT

    • Biden hammers Romney on outsourcing, wealth

      6/26/12 By NBC’s Carrie Dann

      WATERLOO, IA — The outsourcing attack continues, with Joe Biden wielding the rhetorical cudgel today.

      “You got to give Mitt Romney credit. He’s a job creator,” Biden said Tuesday at an eastern Iowa UAW hall, pausing for dramatic effect from a knowingly chuckling crowd of over 400. “In Singapore. And China. And India.”

      On the first stop of a two-day swing through the Hawkeye State, Biden skewered the GOP nominee for his tenure at investment firm Bain Capital, repeatedly calling Romney a “pioneer” of shipping American jobs overseas.

      “Here’s the bottom line, folks: Bain and their companies, they made a great deal of money outsourcing and off-shoring American jobs,” the vice president said. “Yeah, they made a lot of money, but in the process they devastated whole American communities here in the heartland and back in my home state of Delaware.”

      The attack echoes one made by the Obama team in a wave of new ads running in swing states Ohio and Virginia as well as here in Iowa. “Mitt Romney never stood up to China,” a narrator intones ominously in one of the commercials. “All he’s ever done is send them our jobs.”

      Biden said that the wealth — along with its attached strings of privilege — that Romney accumulated from his tenure at Bain led to an “out of touch” nominee without an understanding of how real Americans keep track of their families’ balance sheets.

      “Did you ever think you’d be choosing between two people running for president, one of whom has a Swiss bank account?” he asked an incredulous crowd.

      The vice president, who coughed and cleared his throat frequently throughout his remarks, noted that he was suffering from a cold. But the illness did not keep him from his trademark bellows in defense of the “American worker.”

      “His whole career, this good man Mitt Romney has looked at American workers, looked at all of you and the places I come from, looked at us as part of the problem,” he said. “The president and I don’t see American workers as part of the problem. We see them as the heart of the solution.”

      For more: http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/06/26/12421122-biden-hammers-romney-on-outsourcing-wealth?lite

      ———–

      Vice President Joe Bidenin Dubuque, Iowa: Strengthening the Middle Class Tour

      Published on Jun 28, 2012 by BarackObamadotcom
      Are you in? http://OFA.BO/iERCz9

      Vice President Joe Biden gave a speech at the Grand River Convention Center in Dubuque, Iowa today. He was continuing his Strengthening the Middle Class Tour by highlighting President Obama’s ongoing efforts to increase middle-class security for Iowa’s families. He contrasted these efforts with Mitt Romney’s history of shipping American jobs overseas.

  27. BREAKING: U.S. Appeals Court Upholds EPA Greenhouse Gas Emission Rules

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit today unanimously ruled in favor of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) legal authority to limit industrial carbon pollution under the Clean Air Act to protect Americans’ health. In addition, it dismissed challenges to EPA’s policy to focus carbon pollution reductions on the very largest industrial sources.

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/06/26/506499/breaking-us-appeals-court-upholds-epa-ghg-emmission-rules/

    • D.C. Court of Appeals Upholds Environmental Protection Agency Greenhouse Gas Standards

      6/26/12 sierraclub

      WASHINGTON D.C. — Today, in a sweeping victory for public health and clean air, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued decisions in four challenges to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) historic climate and clean air protections. Major industrial polluters joined with states like Texas to challenge these safeguards, which will protect Americans’ health, improve vehicle efficiency, and reduce greenhouse gas pollution. The Sierra Club rallied tens of thousands of people across the country to support the standards, and the Sierra Club legal team joined our allies in a landmark legal defense of the protections, when they were challenged.

      The four rules upheld today were:

      * The Climate Pollution Endangerment Finding, in which, after an extensive review of scientific research and peer-reviewed studies, the EPA found that six greenhouse gasses endanger human health and welfare.

      * The Clean Car Standards, in which the EPA established cost-saving fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions standards for passenger cars and light trucks sold from 2012-2016. These safeguards will save consumers an estimated $3,000 at the pump over the life of the vehicle, reduce reliance on foreign oil by 1.8 billion barrels over the life of the vehicle, and will reduce greenhouse gas pollution by 960 million tons. The standards are supported by U.S. automakers and the United Auto Workers union, among others, and the automakers and a dozen states intervened in defense of the standards.

      * The Timing and Tailoring Rules, in which the EPA phased in carbon pollution permits for the biggest industrial pollution sources, while protecting small businesses. The Court determined that none of the challengers were injured by these regulatory relief decisions.

      In response, Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club issued the following statement:

      “Today’s decision is a huge victory for American families and everyone concerned about protecting the air we breathe and the health of our children. The role of the Clean Air Act in protecting our families from dangerous carbon pollution and climate disruption should never have been in doubt, and this decision is a big step forward in putting the well-being of Americans before the boundless profits of big polluters.

      “Carbon pollution is dangerous to our planet and our health. The Environmental Protection Agency has the right and the duty to keep our communities healthy and now the path is clear for them to curb this dangerous pollution, which threatens our families and planet. We applaud the court’s decision and stand with the EPA as they continue to fight for the health of American families.”

    • I love this.

      As the court’s opinion stated, “This is how science works. EPA is not required to re-prove the existence of the atom every time it approaches a scientific question.”

    • Secretary Panetta Video Message for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Month from the Pentagon

      June 15, 2012 defense.gov

      SECRETARY LEON PANETTA: As we recognize Pride month, I want to personally thank all of our gay and lesbian service members, LGBT civilians, and their families for their dedicated service to our country.

      Before the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” you faithfully served your country with professionalism and courage. And just like your fellow service members, you put your country before yourself.

      And now — after repeal, you can be proud of serving your country, and be proud of who you are when in uniform.

      The pursuit of equality is fundamental to the American story. The successful repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” proved to the Nation that just like the country we defend, we share different backgrounds, different values, and different beliefs — but together, we are the greatest military force in the world.

      It also reminds us that integrity and respect remain the cornerstones of our military culture. The Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force implemented the repeal with a focus on respect and individual dignity.

      As Secretary of Defense, I am very proud of how we implemented repeal. Going forward, I remain committed to removing as many barriers as possible to make America’s military a model of equal opportunity, to ensure all who are qualified can serve in America’s military, and to give every man and woman in uniform the opportunity to rise to their highest potential.

      Diversity is one of our greatest strengths. During Pride month — and every month — let us celebrate our rich diversity and renew our enduring commitment to equality for all.

  28. 1:25 PM ET
    President Obama attends a campaign fundraiser
    The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA

    • June 26, 2012

      Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event — Atlanta, GA

      Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel
      Atlanta, Georgia

      1:07 P.M. EDT

      THE PRESIDENT: Thank you so much. (Applause.) It is good to see everybody here, back in Atlanta. (Applause.)

      A couple of people I want to acknowledge — first of all, your outstanding Mayor, Mr. Kasim Reed, is in the house. (Applause.) Former governor, Roy Barnes, is in the house. (Applause.) I want to thank all the members of the host committee who made this such an extraordinary event. And then I’ve got to give a special shout-out to one of my favorite people. He’s a little bit of a troublemaker — (laughter) — he’s a little bit erasable. (Laughter.) But he is a man of God and he’s a man of the people, and he has been a great friend to me for a very long time — so give it up for Reverend Joseph Lowery. (Applause.) Love that man.

      So, Atlanta, I am here not just because I need your help — although I do. But I’m here because your country needs your help.

      Back in 2008, we came together because we believed in a basic bargain that built this country — the basic idea that in America, your life is not determined by the circumstances of your birth; the idea that here in America, if you are willing to work hard, then you can find a job that pays a living wage, that you can care for your family, that you can have a home, that you can send your kids to college and allow them to have experiences and opportunities you didn’t even dream of, that you can retire with dignity and respect — that basic American idea that if you take responsibility for your own life, that you can go as far as your dreams can take you. And it doesn’t matter what you look like, where you come from, what your last name is — (applause) — who you love, that basic American idea that you can make it if you try.

      And for almost a decade we had seen that dream that built the largest middle class in history, and the most successful economy in history — we had seen that dream slipping away. We had watched surpluses turned into deficits. We had seen two wars fought on a credit card. We had seen a few people at the top do really, really well while more and more folks were struggling to get by, dealing with higher costs of health care, higher costs of education, but weren’t seeing higher salaries or higher incomes. And this was all before the worst financial crisis in our lifetimes struck, and the worst economic crisis in our lifetimes hit.

      And so, over the last three and a half years, that journey that we began has been tough sometimes. We’ve had a steep mountain to climb. But slowly and surely, the American people have proved once again that they are tougher than tough times. There were folks who said, let’s let Detroit go bankrupt. We said, let’s invest in American workers and American businesses — (applause) — and now the American auto industry is back on top.

      All across the country, folks who lost their jobs, they went back to school, retrained for the industries of the future. All across the country, small businesses hung on no matter how tough it was, kept folks on payroll even if the owner sometimes couldn’t take a salary, because they understood that families were depending on them. And over time, what we’ve seen is steady progress and steady movement. More than 4 million jobs created over the last 27 months; more than 800,000 created just in the last few months alone.

      But of course, we understand we had a big hole that was created by that crisis, and it’s going to take more than just a few months or a few years to dig our way out of that hole, because this is a challenge that’s existed for over a decade now. And we recognize there’s still too many of our friends who don’t have work, and too many of our family members whose homes are underwater, too many folks struggling. We’ve got more work to do. We understand we’ve got so much more work to do.

      And the question is not whether we need to put more folks back to work, or whether we need to see the economy growing faster, or whether we need to bring down our debt; the question is how do we do it. The question is how do we do it. (Applause.)

      And in this election, all of you have the opportunity to choose between two fundamentally different visions of how you grow America — two fundamentally different visions about who we are as a people and what makes this nation great. On one side you’ve got Mr. Romney and his allies in Congress —

      AUDIENCE: Booo —

      THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Romney is a patriotic American. He’s got a beautiful family. He’s been very successful in his life. (Laughter.) No, he has. But his basic vision is one in which if wealthy investors like him and folks at the very top are freed up from any kind of regulations, if they are maximizing their profits even if it means polluting more, or offshoring jobs, or avoiding taxes, or busting unions — whatever the strategies — if they’re doing well then everybody else is automatically doing well. That’s their view.

      For more: http://www.whiteahouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/06/26/remarks-president-campaign-event-atlanta-ga

    • Obama stops for chili dogs

      6/26/12 12:44 PM EDT By DONOVAN SLACK – POLITICO44

      ATLANTA — President Obama made a surprise visit to The Varsity diner here on Tuesday, wowing unsuspecting patrons and loading up on food for him and his staff.

      The order, according to a pool report: five chili dogs, four regular dogs and one cheeseburger.

      The unscheduled food run came as the president hopscotches his way down the East Coast on a two-day, four-state, campaign swing. And it follows another surprise stop Monday at an ice cream shop in New Hampshire, where Obama indulged in a hot fudge sundae and he offered to buy everyone ice cream.

      It’s unclear if his famously health-conscious wife, first lady Michelle Obama, would approve of the fare he’s eating on the trail. But the food stops have apparently been a hit with those who get to meet him unexpectedly.

      “Do you live in the White House?” one child asked him at the diner here, according to the pool report.

  29. 1:45 PM ET
    First Lady Michelle Obama is joined with Glee star and Dolton native Jane Lynch for a campaign fundraiser
    Chicago, IL

  30. 2:10 PM ET
    President Obama attends a campaign fundraiser
    The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA

  31. 3:15 PM ET
    First Lady Michelle Obama attends Chicago Gov. Pat Quinn’s “Military Family Licensing Act” bill signing event
    Illinois National Guard Armory, Chicago, IL

    • June 26, 2012

      Remarks by the First Lady at Illinois Spousal Licensing Bill Signing

      Donnelly Armory
      Chicago, Illinois

      2:24 P.M. CDT

      MRS. OBAMA: Thank you, everyone. Please be seated. It is great to be back home in Chicago, especially on what is a very big, important day like today.

      I want to start by thanking Governor Quinn, first of all, for inviting me here and allowing me to join in this celebration. Thank you, Governor Quinn — (applause) — as well as everyone from the Illinois National Guard Armory for hosting us here, and for all of your service and work.

      I want to thank all of the elected officials who are here today, and all of those who worked in a unified way to get this legislation passed. And of course I want to join in in thanking our men and women in uniform and their families who are here with us today and all over the country for what you do and what you give to all of us, and for the models of inspiration that you provide for me personally each and every day.

      And finally I want to thank Courtney for so eloquently sharing her story. I got to meet her family just before coming onstage. They’re beautiful, smart, handsome — because there are boys in there, too.

      And just one thing I want to point out is, for all of the military parents here, I know that you all realize that your kids serve, too. They are making huge, tremendous sacrifices on behalf of this country. And it’s important for each of you kids to know that you are heroes, too, in huge ways. Your parents could not do what they do without you being calm, responsible, focused, obedient, right? I’m talking to you, kids, right? You’re all that, right? (Laughter and applause.) You know, giving limited attitude, right? (Laughter.) All of that. But we are very proud of you, and it has been a joy to get to know the military families all over this country. Again, you all keep us inspired, and it has just been a privilege to be a part of shining a light on the work that you do and the lives that you live.

      Courtney’s story is one that I have heard so many times over these past few years –- the story of the teacher who has moved 12 times, taking odd jobs to pay the bills. The story of the social worker whose skills go unused as she waits months for paperwork to clear. The accountants, the psychologists, the real estate agents, child care providers, and so many others who simply want to provide for their families and get back to the careers that they love. But far too often, they’re stuck in a web of bureaucracy.

      And we have to remember who these military spouses are. They’re folks who are giving their heart and soul to this country every single day. Every time our country asks them to pick up their families and move across the country at a moment’s notice, they do it and they do it with pride. Every time their spouses are sent overseas for months, sometimes years, on end, they hold things together back at home without complaint or regret. And on top of all that, they are some of the best volunteers in their communities. They still find time to participate on the PTA, in their Parish Council, to support the Little League and the Girl Scouts.

      So we owe it to these individuals to get this licensing issue right. And that’s why Jill Biden and I started Joining Forces. We made addressing this issue one of our highest priorities.

      So as Governor Quinn said, earlier this year we worked with the Departments of Defense and Treasury on a report to give states some ideas on how to solve this problem. We went to the Pentagon and we joined Secretary Panetta and General Dempsey to call on all 50 states to address this issue by the year 2014. And again, when our nation’s governors came to the White House a couple of weeks after that meeting, we asked them to enact measures in their home states.

      And today, believe me, I am so proud to report that governors and legislatures across this country have answered this call. Back when we went to the Pentagon, only 11 states had addressed this issue at all. Only 11 states. But in the four months since then — so just since February — 11 more governors have signed legislation or executive orders. And seven more have legislation pending. (Applause.) That’s good stuff. (Applause.)

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/06/26/remarks-first-lady-illinois-spousal-licensing-bill-signing

    • 23 States Have Now Passed Pro-Military Spouse License Portability Measures

      Posted by Brad Cooper on June 26, 2012 at 04:32 PM EDT

      Earlier today in Chicago, I had the wonderful privilege of joining First Lady Michelle Obama and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn as the Governor signed into law the “Military Family Licensing Act,” which will help literally thousands of military spouses and veterans transfer their professional licenses to Illinois more easily.

      Were you to tell me last year that we’d be standing in Illinois – or any other state for that matter – with the First Lady and witnessing the Governor signing a bill supporting military spouse license portability, I wouldn’t have thought it was possible.

      Well, we’re beyond possible in Illinois, license portability for military spouses is now… the law.

      Here’s the story of how we got here and what it means.

      The First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden spoke to the nation’s Governors and their spouses in February about how they could support military spouses by making it easier for their licenses to transfer as they move from state to state.

      You can appreciate that there are hundreds of issues that the First Lady and Dr. Biden could have addressed but they focused on supporting our nation’s military spouses and in this case the 100,000 military spouses in the country who serve in professions that require state licenses.

      Back in February, only 11 states had pro-spouse legislation in-place.

      Today, Illinois became the 23rd state to adopt pro-military spouse license portability measures. The Bill will allow military spouses moving to bases in Illinois, for example, to more quickly and efficiently join the work force. So if your husband or wife gets orders and you’re heading to Naval Station Great Lakes to train the next generation of young sailors at “Boot Camp” and you’re a nurse – or your spouse got orders to Scott Air Force Base to help manage the issues of global logistics and you’re a physical therapist —– your life just got a LOT better.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/06/26/23-states-have-now-passed-pro-military-spouse-license-portability-measures

  32. Religious Leaders Support President Obama’s Stance on Immigration Reform

    Cecilia Muñoz June 26, 2012 02:03 PM EDT

    From Pope Benedict to prominent Protestant pastors, clergy from a variety of faiths are raising their voices on behalf of immigrants and the need to fix the broken system. President Obama has consistently and forcefully called for a comprehensive solution to the immigration challenges we face. In an historic move demonstrating his Administration’s commitment to addressing the broken immigration system, the Department of Homeland Security announced a deferred action process for certain young people on June 15.

    This move was universally praised by leaders in the faith community. From the Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles, José Gomez, who “welcomed the announcement by President Obama… and renewed [the Bishop’s] call for bipartisan efforts to enact comprehensive and humane reform to our nation’s broken immigration system,” to Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, who said we should “applaud the President for doing the right thing and encourage Congress to follow up by codifying it into law.”

    Many faithshave a strong history of welcoming newcomers, a tradition that is embedded in the founding values of the United States. We define ourselves as a nation of immigrants – a place for people from all walks of life to come together to pursue common hopes, shared values, and the American Dream. From artists and business owners to faith and civic leaders: the stories of immigrants are woven into the fabric of American history.

    Pope Benedict XVI recently stated, “The Catholic community in the United States continues, with great generosity, to welcome waves of new immigrants, to provide them with pastoral care and charitable assistance, and to support ways of regularizing their situation, especially with regard to the unification of families. A particular sign of this is the long-standing commitment of the American Bishops to immigration reform.”

    Recently a broad cross section of Evangelical leaders endorsed a statement of principles on immigration that tracks closely with what President Obama has outlined in his comprehensive immigration reform blueprint. We welcome the vocal support of the National Association of Evangelicals, Southern Baptist Convention, Focus on the Family, National Latino Evangelical Coalition, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, World Relief, Sojourners and others. Shortly after their announcement, leaders from these groups met with senior Administration officials at the White House. The week before, the Interfaith Forum on Immigration also held a meeting with White House officials.

    We appreciate the support by the Pope, his fellow Catholic Bishops in the United States, and their Protestant, Jewish and other faith colleagues. We will continue to work with a broad spectrum of faith leaders around the country and the entire growing coalition of leaders urging Congress to pass comprehensive legislative reform.

  33. Dastardly Senator Tries to Sneak ‘Personhood’ Clause into Flood Bill

    Tennessee Senator Rand Paul has crowned himself this week’s King of WTF by attempting to pull a fast one on the American people— he inserted a “Personhood” clause into a totally unrelated bill about flood insurance that would have declared that life begins at conception and that your uterus is officially his Libertarian face’s business. Freedom!

    http://jezebel.com/5921494/dastardly-senator-tries-to-sneak-personhood-clause-into-flood-bill

  34. 5:30 PM ET
    President Obama attends a campaign fundraiser
    The Fillmore Miami Beach, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, FL

  35. 6:00 PM ET
    Dr Jill Biden gives remarks at the DC College Access Program graduation celebration
    Washington, DC

  36. Obama for America TV Ad: “Revealed – OH”

    Published on Jun 26, 2012 by BarackObamadotcom
    Get the facts: http://OFA.BO/7QneWh

    “Day One. President Romney stands up to China.”

    But would he?

    The Washington Post has just revealed that Romney’s companies were pioneers in shipping US jobs overseas.

    Investing in firms that ‘specialized in relocating jobs done by American workers to new facilities in low-wage countries like China.’

    Romney’s never stood up to China. All he’s ever done is send them our jobs.

    • Obama for America TV Ad: “Revealed – IA”

      Published on Jun 26, 2012 by BarackObamadotcom
      Get the facts: http://OFA.BO/L2eNit

      “President Romney’s first 100 Days. For the people of Iowa, they mean fewer worries about their future.”

      Fewer Worries?

      The Washington Post has just revealed that Romney’s companies were pioneers in shipping US jobs overseas.

      Investing in firms that ‘specialized in relocating jobs done by American workers to new facilities in low-wage countries like China and India.’

      Does Iowa really want an Outsourcer-In-Chief in the White House?

    • Obama for America TV Ad: “Revealed – VA”

      Published on Jun 26, 2012 by
      BarackObamadotcom
      Get the facts: http://OFA.BO/28RygK

      “President Romney’s first 100 Days…creating thousands of new jobs for Virginians.”

      But would he?

      The Washington Post has just revealed that Romney’s companies were pioneers in shipping US jobs overseas.

      Investing in firms that ‘specialized in relocating jobs done by American workers to new facilities in low-wage countries like China and India.’

      Does Virginia really want an Outsourcer-In-Chief in the White House?

  37. 8:30 PM ET
    President Obama attends a campaign fundraiser
    The Fillmore Miami Beach, Miami Beach, FL

    • June 26, 2012

      Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event

      The Fillmore at the Jackie Gleason Theaterr
      Miami Beach, Florida

      8:01 P.M. EDT

      THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Miami! (Applause.) Thank you. It is good to be back in Miami. (Applause.)

      Now, let me just, first of all, recognize a few people who are here. First of all, wasn’t Maytee wonderful? Give her a big round of applause. (Applause.) She is an example of what this campaign is all about. And I could not be prouder to have folks like her involved every single day, out there in the grassroots, making a difference. So, all of you who are out there volunteering, knocking on doors, making phone calls, I love you and I’m grateful to you. (Applause.)

      A couple of other people I want to acknowledge — first of all, outstanding Congresswoman and DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz is in the house. (Applause.) We love Debbie. My Florida finance chair, Kirk Wager, is here. (Applause.) Abigail and F.J. Pollack did a great job — thank you. (Applause.) I want to thank Enrique Santos for emceeing. (Applause.) Somebody who has become just a great friend and an extraordinary person, and also sings and dances pretty good — Marc Anthony. (Applause.)

      Finally, it would be incomplete if I did not congratulate the city of Miami for having the world champion Miami Heat here in town. (Applause.) You guys earned it. And since one of my favorite people is Alonzo Mourning, who’s here, and Tracy Mourning, I just wanted to give them a special shout-out. (Applause.) Alonzo looks like he can still play. (Laughter.) Hasn’t aged a bit — unbelievable. I’m getting all gray, and he just looks the same. (Laughter.) Except he doesn’t have that flattop. (Laughter.)

      Now, Miami, I’m here not just because I need your help — although I do, and I will get to that.

      AUDIENCE MEMBER: I love you!

      THE PRESIDENT: I love you back. (Applause.)

      But I’m mainly here because your country needs your help.
      Back in 2008, we came together to reclaim the basic bargain that built this country, the essence of America, what created the largest middle class and the most prosperous economy on Earth. We came together because we believe that in America, your success shouldn’t be determined by the circumstances of your birth. If you’re willing to work hard, you should be able to find a good job. (Applause.) If you’re willing to meet your responsibilities, you should be able to own a home, maybe start a business; give your children a chance to do even better than you did — no matter who you are, no matter what you look like, no matter where you came from, no matter what your last name, no matter who you love. That is the promise of America. (Applause.)

      And we came together in 2008 because we felt that basic bargain, that simple dream was slipping away for too many people, and it had been for a decade. We’d gone through a decade where manufacturing was leaving our shores, and a surplus had turned to a deficit; a few folks were doing really well but more and more people were struggling to get by, no matter how hard they worked. And the costs of health care and college were going up and up and up, and people were borrowing with credit cards and home equity loans to try to maintain their standard of living. But it just got harder and harder. And all this culminated in the worst economic crisis that we’ve seen in our lifetimes. And because of that crisis, that dream felt like it was even farther away.

      Now, the good news is the American people are tougher than tough times. And over the last three and half years we’ve fought back. (Applause.) And when some said let’s let Detroit go bankrupt, we believed in the American worker and we believed in American manufacturing, and now Detroit is back on top and we are selling cars all over the world. (Applause.) People who lost their jobs went back and got retrained — maybe a 50-year-old sitting back in a classroom in a community college, and suddenly finding an entire new career opening up to him. Small businesses, through the SBA, were able to get some financing and keep their doors open and keep their payrolls, and make sure that the families who depended on that business were still able to succeed.

      Now, we’ve still got a long way to go. We lost 9 million jobs in that recession. And although we’ve created more than 4 million since I’ve taken office, and 800,000 in the last few months alone — (applause) — this has been a steep climb. And we understand from our friends and our neighbors in our own lives how much more work we have to do. Too many folks out there still without a job; too many people here in Florida still seeing their homes underwater. So we understand how much work we have left.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/06/26/remarks-president-campaign-event

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