Blogs > HNN > July 10, 2009: Obama's First 4th in the White House, Bush Celebrates in OK., Obamas Meeting in Moscow, & G-8 Summit

Jul 14, 2009 4:14 am


July 10, 2009: Obama's First 4th in the White House, Bush Celebrates in OK., Obamas Meeting in Moscow, & G-8 Summit



THE OBAMA PRESIDENCY:

President Obama and President Medvedev sign agreements

IN FOCUS: STATS

  • Voters' Remorse -- Is Baracklash on the Horizon? Since January Obama has failed to help many of his core supporters. Will they soon turn against him?: Call it Baracklash: so far, Barack Obama isn't helping many people who voted for him in high percentages when he was elected president eight months ago. Fox News, 7-9-09
  • Obama Approval Drops by Double Digits in Ohio Poll: A new poll found that President Barack Obama’s approval rating has dropped by 13 percentage points from two months ago in Ohio, traditionally a critical swing state in presidential elections. The survey by Quinnipiac University released today showed 49 percent of Ohio voters approved of Obama's job performance, down from 62 percent in a May 6 poll. The disapproval figure for Obama in the new poll was 44 percent, up from 31 percent in the May survey. The pollsters termed Obama’s ratings"lackluster" in a release, and said the numbers were his lowest marks"in any national or statewide Quinnipiac University poll since he was inaugurated." - Bloomberg, 7-7-09
  • Obama kicks back for the Fourth Golf, cookout, rock concert mark president's holiday: President Barack Obama took his own advice Saturday, relaxing on the Fourth of July with some golf, a cookout and a private Foo Fighters concert in the backyard, capped by the annual fireworks show on the National Mall. While Vice President Joe Biden celebrated with U.S. forces in Iraq, the president played host to 1,200 members of the military and their families at a White House barbecue. In his weekly radio and online video address, Obama called on Americans to celebrate the spirit of their national day with family and friends."Kick back and enjoy a little time off," he advised."I hope that's exactly what all of you do."... - Baltimore Sun, 7-5-09

THE HEADLINES....

  • Obama to conclude summit talks, meet with pope: Global problems, Africa and the pope all figure in President Barack Obama's day.... - AP, 7-10-09
  • Obama set for emotional visits to Vatican, Ghana: President Barack Obama is ending three days of often-wonkish policy discussions with fellow world leaders to embark on two of the most photogenic and emotional events of his young presidency: meeting the pope at the Vatican and becoming the first black American president to visit a mostly black African country. He was throwing in a televised news conference from Italy for good measure. Obama, his wife and daughters were to meet Pope Benedict XVI shortly before leaving Italy late Friday for Ghana. The two men have spoken by phone but not met before, aides say.... - AP, 7-10-09
  • NY Senate gets to work after resolving roadblock: New York's Senate stalemate ended Thursday as it started 31 days ago, with a freshman Democrat convulsing the 62-seat house by switching sides and getting a powerful leadership post in the majority... Bronx Sen. Pedro Espada's return to the Democratic conference gives Democrats a 32-30 majority for the first time since the June 8 coup. As part of the deal, Espada took the title of Senate majority leader.... - AP, 7-10-09
  • Presidential records a time capsule of Bush years: Spread upon a table are a sampling of gifts to former President George W. Bush: a purse made of vines from the Thai queen, a Texas Rangers jersey autographed by pitcher Nolan Ryan and a framed mosaic of St. Peter's Basilica from the pope. The gifts, documents and electronic records accumulated during Bush's two terms have gone from the White House to a warehouse in suburban Dallas, just a few miles north of a turnpike named for his father. They will remain there until Bush's $300 million presidential library — the nation's 13th and the third in Texas — opens in 2013 on the Southern Methodist University campus near downtown Dallas."It's a wonderful eight-year time capsule," said Jennifer M. Schulle, the registrar for the Bush library."It's everything that was going on — politically, personally and socially."... - AP, 7-9-09
  • Despite Obama's pledge, G-8 makes little headway on global warming: The president promises at the Italy G-8 summit that the U.S. will lead on climate change, but familiar obstacles -- compounded by the global recession -- produce familiar results.... - LAT, 7-9-09
  • Obama and Kadhafi shake hands: US President Barack Obama shook hands warmly on Thursday with Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, long reviled in Washington. The landmark handshake took place as leaders from major economic powers and emerging nations prepared to take a group photo at a summit in L'Aquila, central Italy.... - AP, 7-9-09
  • Health care overhaul bill suffers another setback: The drive to remake the nation's health care system suffered yet another setback in Congress on Thursday when a pivotal group of House Democrats demanded numerous changes in legislation the leadership was drafting on a fast track. The emerging bill"lacks a number of elements essential to preserving what works and fixing what is broken," 40 members of the Blue Dog Coalition of moderate to conservative Democrats wrote in a letter to party leaders. To win their support, they said, any legislation would need to be much more aggressive in reining in the growth of health care.... - AP, 7-9-09
  • Worst violence since US pullback hits Iraq: Bombs killed nearly 60 people in Iraq on Thursday in the worst violence since U.S. combat troops withdrew from urban areas last week, and American forces released five Iranian officials suspected of aiding Shiite insurgents. U.S. officials said they believe the Iranians, detained in northern Iraq in January 2007, had facilitated attacks on American-led forces but handed them over to the Iraqi government at its request because they were obliged to do so under a U.S.-Iraqi security agreement. The U.S. State Department said it was concerned their release could present a security threat to American troops in Iraq.... - AP, 7-9-09
  • AP source: Burris won't run for full Senate term: Sen. Roland Burris, whose deep ties to former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich seemed to doom his Senate tenure from the start, will not run for a full Senate term in 2010. The move increases Democrats' chances of holding on to the former Senate seat of President Barack Obama.... - AP, 7-9-09
  • US officials eye North Korea in cyber attack: U.S. authorities on Wednesday eyed North Korea as the origin of the widespread cyber attack that overwhelmed government Web sites in the United States and South Korea, although they warned it would be difficult to definitively identify the attackers quickly. The powerful attack that targeted dozens of government and private sites underscored how unevenly prepared the U.S. government is to block such multipronged assaults.... - AP, 7-9-09
  • US, other wealthy nations vow global warming cuts: Targeting global warming, President Barack Obama and other leaders of the world's richest industrial countries pledged Wednesday to seek dramatic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 to slow dangerous climate change. Setting a marker for success, they agreed for the first time that worldwide temperatures must not rise more than a few degrees.... - AP, 7-8-09
  • Near Tents and Ruins, G-8 Summit Meeting Opens: It had seemed an audacious choice: bringing the leaders of some of the world's most industrialized countries to a city ravaged by an earthquake just three months before. But as so often happens in Italy, a country that appears to handle last-minute emergencies better than long-term planning, the Group of 8 summit meeting opened here on Wednesday without any glaring hitches.
    "We're proud that we were able to pull off a miracle," Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said Wednesday evening at a news conference. 'I thank everyone who agreed to move the venue here," Mr. Berlusconi said, adding that world leaders said they were"happy" to come to L'Aquila,"the capital of grief." - NYT, 7-8-09
  • PROMISES, PROMISES: Obama tax pledge unrealistic: President Barack Obama promised to fix health care and trim the federal budget deficit, all without raising taxes on anyone but the wealthiest Americans. It's a promise he's already broken and will likely have to break again. Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress have already increased tobacco taxes — which disproportionately hit the poor — to pay for extending health coverage to 4 million children in working low-income families. Now, lawmakers are looking for more revenues to help pay for providing medical insurance to millions more who lack it at a projected cost of $1 trillion over the next decade. The floated proposals include increasing taxes on alcohol, which could raise $62 billion over the next decade, and a new tax on sugary drinks such as soda, which could raise $52 billion.... - AP, 7-8-09
  • House Dems look at surtax on the wealthy: A plan to raise taxes on the wealthy is emerging as the leading option among House Democrats looking to finance health care legislation that President Barack Obama wants. Numerous officials say that under the proposal, an income tax surcharge would be imposed on individuals earning more than $200,000, with a higher threshold for couples.... - AP, 7-8-09
  • Obama, summit partners, eye intense global talks: President Barack Obama joined fellow world leaders in Italy Wednesday for talks on threats to global security and stability at a summit where climate change, a continuing global economic crisis, nuclear proliferation and world hunger took top billing. The G-8 meetings may lack the intrigue of Obama's sit-downs earlier in the week with Russia's top leaders, or the emotion of the reception the first black American president surely will get in Ghana Saturday. But they didn't lack for ambition, on the surface at least, as the world's most powerful officials discuss the problems threatening the planet. AP, 7-8-09
  • Mixed results for Obama's first Moscow summit: For two days, President Barack Obama pressed the reset button with Russia. The results: He ended up getting the expected agreement on deep cuts in nuclear arsenals, but he is leaving Moscow with few assurances of Kremlin help in solving other issues key to his foreign policy agenda. He is also leaving behind a spark he hopes will blaze to life and thaw U.S. relations with a former superpower with a chip on its shoulder. But his two days of summitry produced no unexpected breakthroughs.... - AP, 7-7-09
  • Palin returns to work, defends decision to resign: Gov. Sarah Palin returned to the spotlight Tuesday with an appearance in a remote Arctic village where she stood by her perplexing decision to resign just as she tries to elevate her national profile ahead of a possible 2012 presidential run.... - AP, 7-7-09
  • Power of Stimulus Slow to Take Hold Rising Joblessness Blunts President's Plan for Recovery: Five months after Congress approved a massive package of spending and tax cuts aimed at reviving an ailing economy, the jobless rate is still climbing and the White House is scrambling to reassure an anxious public that President Obama's prescription for economic recovery is on the right track. Yesterday, Obama took time out of his first presidential trip to Moscow to defend the $787 billion stimulus package, arguing that the measure was the right medicine at the right time."There's nothing that we would have done differently," he told ABC News.... - WaPo, 7-7-09
  • Democrats expand Senate control, yet splits remain: Democrats have potential to clear Republican hurdles. Obama still faces challenges in passing major measures. Democrats achieved their biggest majority in the U.S. Senate in decades on Tuesday as Al Franken of Minnesota finally took his seat -- but President Barack Obama will still have to fight hard to muster the votes to pass healthcare reform and other major initiatives.... - Reuters, 7-7-09
  • Reading (Too Much?) Into Palin's Resignation: Unanticipated events in politics — say, for example, Sarah Palin's announcement that she was quitting as governor of Alaska — tend to be overanalyzed, imbued with more motive, forethought and political calculus than might really be there.... - NYT, 7-7-09
  • Bush gives Oklahoma town a special Fourth of July: The July Fourth celebration here featured all the food and revelry you would expect of a small-town holiday event. Swing sets and shaved ice. Root beer in corked bottles. Brass bands and bunting. Yet this remote city in western Oklahoma also won the lottery when it came to the headliner for"Let Freedom Ring 2009": George W. Bush. The Woodward visit represents the latest example of Bush's tendency to limit his public appearances to friendly venues.... - The Dallas Morning News, 7-6-09
  • Vietnam War architect Robert McNamara dies at 93: Robert S. McNamara, the brainy Pentagon chief who directed the escalation of the Vietnam War despite private doubts the war was winnable or worth fighting, died Monday at 93. McNamara revealed his misgivings three decades after the American defeat that some called"McNamara's war.""We of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations acted according to what we thought were the principles and traditions of our country. But we were wrong. We were terribly wrong," McNamara told The Associated Press in 1995, the year his best-selling memoir appeared.... - AP, 7-6-09
  • US Congress back to wrestle with healthcare reform: Health care overhaul still faces big obstacles. Congress begins month of intensive healthcare work. Plan's cost remains crucial factor.... After a week of holiday barbecues and hometown parades, the U.S. Congress returned to work on Monday to face what could be the year's most severe test -- finding common ground on a huge and costly U.S. healthcare overhaul.... - Reuters, 7-6-09
  • Health-Care Plan May Not Pass Senate by August, Grassley Says: Congress will probably complete a health-care overhaul this year, though the Senate is unlikely to complete consideration of a measure by the August recess as planned, the Senate Finance Committee’s top Republican said."We might get it out of committee by the August recess," Senator Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television.... - Bloomberg, 7-6-09
  • A Busy Week Ahead as Senate Starts Work on Climate Bill: The Senate climate debate cranks up this week with a series of hearings and high-level meetings aimed at producing legislation that can be matched up with last month's House-passed bill.... - NYT, 7-6-09
  • GOP: Dems have closed door on open government But Democrats say progress being made toward transparency: To many Republicans, that June 26 energy policy legislation will be remembered as the 1,400-page bill that broke the camel's back. After Democratic promises to run the most open and transparent Congress in history, Republicans say they are stunned by the number of closed-off debates over legislation, including spending bills, and the lack of time to actually see, let alone read, measures before the House votes.... - Salt Lake Tribune, 7-5-09
  • Obama to meet powerful Putin for first time: U.S. President Barack Obama meets Russia's most powerful politician, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, for the first time on Tuesday as part of a trip designed to improve relations between the world's top nuclear powers. Obama's meeting with the former KGB spy follows talks on Monday with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that produced agreements on a target for cuts in nuclear arms and a deal to let U.S. troops fly across Russia to fight in Afghanistan. On the second day of his visit to Russia, Obama is also due to deliver a major speech on democracy, the global economy and the U.S.-Russian relationship.... - Reuters, 7-6-09
  • Obama seeks new start in sagging US-Russia ties: Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev end a seven-year hiatus in U.S.-Russian summitry on Monday, with each declaring his determination to further cut nuclear arsenals and repair a badly damaged relationship.... - AP, 7-5-09
  • Alaskans Consider Palin's Legacy As She Prepares to Leave Office: In November 2006, as Sarah Palin celebrated her gubernatorial victory at the Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage, she told the crowd she would bring a"new energy" to the governor's office, stand up to"Big Oil" and usher in a new era of ethical reforms. But less than three years later, Palin is calling it quits, and Alaskans offer mixed assessments of her legacy as she steps down with 18 months left in her term. - WaPo, 7-6-09
  • Top Republicans puzzled by Palin's abrupt resignation: Sarah Palin has no intention of retiring from public life, the soon-to-be ex-Alaska governor's spokeswoman said Sunday, but top Republicans are expressing befuddlement at the decision by one of the party's leading presidential prospects to give up her job... - USA Today, 7-5-09
  • Observers: Palin resignation cuts losses in Alaska: Ever since Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin returned from the presidential campaign trail, many Alaskans felt her heart wasn't in the job.... - AP, 7-5-09
  • Sarah Palin not under FBI investigation, agency spokesman says: The former GOP vice presidential candidate's surprise resignation as Alaska governor had set off speculation, including rumors of a pending federal corruption probe or charges. - LAT, 7-4-09
  • Palin Resigning Governor's Job; Future Unclear: At a Friday news conference, Gov. Palin said,"I am determined to take the right path for Alaska even though it is unconventional." Ms. Palin, 45, the Republican vice-presidential nominee last year, was supposed to serve through the end of 2010; she said she would cede control of the state to Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell on July 25. - NYT, 7-3-09
  • Text: Palin's Announcement: Transcript of Sarah Palin's speech on Friday in Wasilla, Alaska, as she announced that she would be resigning as governor, as recorded by The New York Times - NYT, 7-3-09
  • Hillary Clinton tougher on Iran than political-straddler Obama: While Secretary of State Hillary Clinton advocated a stronger U.S. response to the beating and killing of protesting Iranians, President Obama resisted. When he finally at least said he was appalled and outraged by the Iranian government behavior, it was long after both England and France had condemned it. Always the egotist, Obama did not even let Clinton know that he was finally going to speak out and took the action without informing her. The situation was one more piece evidence of Obama's weak-kneed response when it came to standing up to tyrants around the world. It was a reminder of his shaking hands and accepting a book from Chavez and his willingness to talk with other U.S. enemies without preconditions. And his bow in Saudia Arabia is not to be forgotten.... - Examiner, 7-3-09
  • Washington Post says publishers' conference won't be held: The Washington Post asked lobbyists and business leaders to pay $25,000 to attend a dinner discussion with government officials and journalists at the home of its publisher, and then canceled the event after the invitations became public. The newspaper's executive editor, Marcus Brauchli, said Thursday that no one in the newsroom had vetted the invitation and its journalists would not participate."The Washington Post's name is not for sale," Brauchli said."The Washington Post's reputation is not for sale."... - AP, 7-2-09
  • Obama says he gets daily prayers on his BlackBerry: President Barack Obama says he gets a prayer every morning on his BlackBerry. Obama told reporters from religious news organizations on Thursday that White House faith director Joshua DuBois sends him a morning devotional every day to his e-mail device. He says it's a"wonderful practice" that started during the campaign.... - AP, 7-2-09

ELECTIONS 2010, 2012....

  • Cahill to leave Democratic party, set himself up for independent run: State Treasurer Tim Cahill this week will change his political party designation from Democrat to unenrolled, the first step in mounting an independent challenge to Democratic governor Deval Patrick in the 2010 general election, two advisers said today.... - Boston Globe, 7-6-09
  • Romney Emerges as Top Issues Play to His Strength: Most Republicans have just finished what might be called the spring of their discontent. Not much went right in the first half of the year; not much to cheer about. But not Mitt Romney. For this unsuccessful 2008 Republican presidential contender, it is hard to imagine how events could be moving more decisively in his favor in 2009. One can almost hear him wondering: Why didn't things break this way last year? WSJ, 7-5-09
  • Bill Clinton to appear at Maloney fundraiser: Rep. Carolyn Maloney's plan to challenge Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in the Democratic primary next year will get a surprising boost later this month: a fundraiser headed by Bill Clinton. The former president is scheduled to raise money for the Manhattan Democrat on July 20 - despite the efforts of President Barack Obama and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) to clear the field for Gillibrand.... - Newsday, 7-2-09
  • Maine Dems circle GOP contender over stylized 'O': O, boy. The executive director of the Democratic Party in Maine is accusing a Republican who's considering a run for governor of stealing the stylized"O" from President Barack Obama's Web site. Arden Manning says Les Otten's"O" is a close copy of one on the Obama Web site.... - AP, 7-2-09

POLITICAL QUOTES

  • Palin Post-Resignation:"I Am Not a Quitter; I Am a Fighter":"I am not a quitter; I am a fighter," Palin said to CNN while on a family fishing trip in Dillingham, Alaska. Palin granted interviews with select media outlets to explain her decision to step down from office."I want to help Alaska in different venues, on a different level," she said. - TV Guide, 7-7-09
  • REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT AT THE NEW ECONOMIC SCHOOL GRADUATION Gostinny Dvor Moscow, Russia: That's why I have called for a"reset" in relations between the United States and Russia. This must be more than a fresh start between the Kremlin and the White House -- though that is important and I've had excellent discussions with both your President and your Prime Minister. It must be a sustained effort among the American and Russian people to identify mutual interests, and expand dialogue and cooperation that can pave the way to progress. - White House, 7-7-09
  • How Obama speech sounds to Russian ears: What President Obama said to a Moscow audience and what Russia's political elite heard were not necessarily one and the same -- even when his words sought to reassure.
    I know Russia opposes the planned configuration for missile defense in Europe. And my administration is reviewing these plans to enhance the security of America, Europe and the world. And I've made it clear that this system is directed at preventing a potential attack from Iran. It has nothing to do with Russia. In fact, I want to work together with Russia on a missile defense architecture that makes us all safer. But if the threat from Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile programs is eliminated, the driving force for missile defense in Europe will be eliminated, and that is in our mutual interest.'
    'It is our commitment to certain universal values which allows us to correct our imperfections, to improve constantly and to grow stronger over time. Freedom of speech and assembly has allowed women, minorities and workers to protest for full and equal rights at a time when they were denied. The rule of law and equal administration of justice has busted monopolies, shut down political machines that were corrupt and ended abuses of power. . . . Competitive elections allow us to change course and hold our leaders accountable. . . . Governments which serve their own people survive and thrive; governments which serve only their own power do not.'
    'State sovereignty must be a cornerstone of international order. Just as all states should have the right to choose their leaders, states must have the right to borders that are secure, and to their own foreign policies. That is true for Russia, just as it is true for the United States. Any system that cedes those rights will lead to anarchy. That is why we must apply this principle to all nations -- and that includes nations like Georgia and Ukraine. America will never impose a security arrangement on another country.' - LAT, 7-7-09
  • PRESS CONFERENCE BY PRESIDENT OBAMA AND PRESIDENT MEDVEDEV OF RUSSIA The Kremlin Moscow, Russia: We've just concluded a very productive meeting. As President Medvedev just indicated, the President and I agreed that the relationship between Russia and the United States has suffered from a sense of drift. We resolved to reset U.S.-Russian relations, so that we can cooperate more effectively in areas of common interest. Today, after less than six months of collaboration, we've done exactly that by taking concrete steps forward on a range of issues, while paving the way for more progress in the future. And I think it's particularly notable that we've addressed the top priorities -- these are not second-tier issues, they are fundamental to the security and the prosperity of both countries.... - White House, 7-6-09
  • No joke: Al Franken takes his new job seriously: "I think they'll get to used to the idea that I'm a senator, that I've kind of changed careers," Franken said in an interview with The Associated Press."I just don't think it will take that long. They'll see what I do and what I say. Mainly I'm going to put my head down and get to work."..."As someone who will have been in the committee a grand total of six days and isn't an attorney, I kind of see myself fulfilling a certain role for Americans watching the hearings," he said. Franken also said he is looking forward to getting involved in health care legislation and wants to play a role in crafting legislation that contains costs."It is unsustainable the way we are going," he said. - AP, 7-6-09
  • Rep. King on Jackson: 'There's nothing good about this guy': – New York Rep. Peter King called on the media to"knock out the psycho-babble" and stop covering Michael Jackson because"this guy was a pervert.""He was a child molester. He was a pedophile. And to be giving this much coverage to him day in and day out, what does it say about us as a country," King said Sunday in front of the American Legion Hall in Wantagh."We're too politically correct. No one wants to stand up and say, 'We don't need Michael Jackson.'""There are men and women dying today in Afghanistan. Let's give them the credit they deserve," he added."There's nothing good about this guy. He may have been a good singer, did some dancing, but bottom-line is — would you let your child or grandchild be in the same room with Michael Jackson? What are we glorifying him for?" King said, asking instead that the public honor people like servicemen, teachers and firefighters. King defended his comments in an interview Monday with CNN radio affiliate WOR,"The fact is that what he has done as far as young children are concerned, young boys are concerned, is a horrible example to set to the world.""...Anyone who causes evil or endangers children, to me that supersedes anything else. And do we as a culture really want to be defined by Michael Jackson's singing and dancing or by the fact that he became a worldwide spectacle for abuse of children?" - CNN, 7-6-09
  • Bush Jokes About Retirement, Describes Courage as Key to American Spirit Former President George W. Bush looked back as far as the signers of the Declaration of Independence and as recently as the U.S. soldiers fighting wars abroad as examples of the patriotism and bravery that define Americans: "Patriotism comes in all different kinds of forms," said the president, who noted a 60-year-old man from Nevada who got a waiver to enroll in the military after his son was killed in Iraq. The man is now serving as a Navy medic.
    "They did the right thing even when it was hard. They did the brave thing even when risky. They did the noble thing even when many others would not," the president said....
    Having recently returned to Dallas, which he now calls home, Bush said he told his wife that he was"free at last.""She says, 'Yeah, you are free to take out the garbage and free to mow the lawn.,'" Bush joked."I said 'wait a minute, you're talking to the former president.' And she said, 'Well, consider that your new domestic policy agenda.'" - Fox News, 7-5-09
  • Obama's backyard bash: Welcome to the White House. (Applause.) And happy Fourth of July. Michelle and I are honored and proud to have you here on the Fourth. And we're humbled to be joined up here by heroes -- men and women who went beyond the call of duty in battle, some selflessly risking their lives again and again so that others might live. True to form, they -- like all of you -- say they were just doing their job. That's what makes you the best of us, and that's why we simply want to say thank you to each and every one of you for your extraordinary service to our country.
    We're joined in that sentiment by Vice President Joe Biden, who, as many of you know, is marking Independence Day with troops in Iraq; and Jill Biden, who's spending it with military families in Germany.
    I should say that there's also one girl in particular who's just thrilled that all of you are here -- and that is Malia Obama, because this happens to be her birthday, as well. (Applause.) When she was younger, I used to say that all these fireworks were for her. (Laughter.) I'm not sure she still buys that, but even if this backyard is a little bit unique, our gathering tonight is not so different from gatherings that are taking place all across the country, in parks and fields and backyards all across America. In small towns and big cities, folks are firing up grills, laughing with family and friends, and laying out a blanket in preparation for the big show. They're reliving the simple, unmistakable joys of being an American....
    But I want to say this to all of you: You have done everything that has been asked of you. The United States of America is proud of you. I'm proud to be your Commander-in-Chief. And that's why, this Fourth of July, I renew my pledge to each and every one of you -- that for as long as I have that immeasurable honor, you will always have the equipment and support you need to get the job done. Your families will always be a priority of Michelle's and mine, and remain on our hearts and on our minds. And when our service members do return home, it will be to an America that always welcomes them home with the care that they were promised.
    It is, after all, your service -- the service of generations of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen -- that makes our annual celebration of this day possible. It's your service that proves that our founding ideals remain just as powerful and alive in our third century as a nation as they did on that first Fourth of July. And it is your service that guarantees that the United States of America shall forever remain the last, best hope on Earth. - Politico, 7-4-09
  • Remarks of President Barack Obama Weekly Address The White House July 4, 2009: Hello and Happy Fourth of July, everybody. This weekend is a time to get together with family and friends, kick back, and enjoy a little time off. And I hope that's exactly what all of you do. But I also want to take a moment today to reflect on what I believe is the meaning of this distinctly American holiday.
    Today, we are called to remember not only the day our country was born – we are also called to remember the indomitable spirit of the first American citizens who made that day possible.
    We are called to remember how unlikely it was that our American experiment would succeed at all; that a small band of patriots would declare independence from a powerful empire; and that they would form, in the new world, what the old world had never known – a government of, by, and for the people.... - White House, 7-4-09
  • Mike Huckabee: Palin May Not Be Able To Handle Pressure Of Presidential Run: But her reason for resigning -- that she was dogged by critics who cost her state millions in legal fees 00 will be a liability for her if she seeks the White House, Huckabee said."If that had been the case for me, I would've quit in my first month," said Huckabee. If she's looking to be a national political figure, it's not going to get easier, he said."In a primary this is going to be an issue she'll have to face. Will she be able to withstand the pressure?" he asked. Huckabee and Rove appeared on"Fox News Sunday." - Huff Post, 7-5-09
  • Colin Powell worries Obama tackling too much: Colin Powell worries that President Barack Obama is trying to tackle too many big issues at one time and he offers this advice: take a hard look at costs and consider the additional red tape that will be created."The right answer is, 'Give me a government that works,'" the former secretary of state said in a television interview to be aired Sunday."Keep it as small as possible," added Powell, who said he has spoken recently with Obama and stays in touch with him.
    "I think one of the cautions that has to be given to the president — and I've talked to some of his people about this — is that you can't have so many things on the table that you can't absorb it all. And we can't pay for it all," Powell said."And I never would have believed that we would have budgets that are running into the multi-trillions of dollars, and we are amassing a huge, huge national debt that, if we don't pay for in our lifetime, our kids and grandkids and great grandchildren will have to pay for it." In the interview with CNN's"State of the Union" that is to air Sunday, Powell said he hasn't changed his mind."Keep it as small as possible. Keep the tax burden on the American people as small as possible, but at the same time, have government that is solving the problems of the people," he said. He said Obama"has to start really taking a very, very hard look at what the cost of all this is. And, how much additional bureaucracy and will it be effective bureaucracy." AP, 7-4-09
  • Gen. Colin Powell expresses alarm about Obama spending: In an interview to be broadcast on CNN's"State of the Union with John King" Sunday, July 5, 2009, Powell expressed concern that Obama's ambitious iniatives may be enlarging the size of government and that the federal debt it too much. He said:"I'm concerned at the number of programs that are being presented, the bills associated with these programs and the additional government that will be needed to execute them." Powell also said that, in regard to Obama's spending;"...And we can't pay for it all." - Examiner.com, 7-3-09

  • Obama confident in recovery despite jobs report: The government reported that employers cut a larger-than-expected 467,000 jobs in June. The unemployment rate climbed to a 26-year high of 9.5 percent.
    "And I'm absolutely confident that we can, at this period of difficulty, prove, once again, what this nation can achieve when challenged," Obama said in the Rose Garden after a meeting with executives from energy companies.
    "Obviously, this is little comfort to all those Americans who have lost their jobs," he said.
    "So these companies are vivid examples of the kind of future we can create," the president said Thursday in the Rose Garden, flanked by energy industry leaders."But it's now up to the Senate to continue the work that was begun in the House to forge this more prosperous future. We're going to need to set aside the posturing and the politics, and when we put aside the old ideological debates, then our choice is clear." He added:"It's a choice between slow decline and renewed prosperity. It's a choice between the past and the future." - AP, 7-3-09
  • Obama: Court leaves room for affirmative action: President Barack Obama said Thursday the Supreme Court is"moving the ball" to limit affirmative action, but he stressed that its ruling in favor of white firefighters still allows employers and educators to take race into account in hiring, promotions and admissions.
    "This was a very narrow case, so it's hard to gauge where they will take it," Obama said in an interview with The Associated Press. The president said the city might have prevailed if it"had thought through how it was going to approach the issue ahead of time and said, 'We think merit and highly qualified firefighters are absolutely important. That doesn't contradict our desire to make sure that there is diversity in a city that's 60 percent black and Hispanic. Let's design promotion approaches that reconcile those two things.'" Instead, Obama said,"I think what people instinctively, probably, reacted to on that particular case had more to do with the fact that the people that studied for those tests already had a set of expectations that were thwarted." - AP, 7-2-09
  • Hillary Clinton delivers remarks on 4 July holiday: "For Americans, the 4th of July is a day to reconnect with loved ones, to remember our history, and to renew our commitment to democracy, tolerance, and justice. As President [Barack] Obama said in Cairo last month, these are not just American values, these are core principles we share with people everywhere. So it is fitting that we open our doors and share this day with our friends and neighbors around the world," said Clinton."We all share responsibility for working together to ensure a more peaceful and prosperous future," she said, adding:"So I hope that today's celebration will become tomorrow's partnership." - Wsashington TV, 7-2-09
  • SC gov's wife may be able to forgive affair: South Carolina first lady Jenny Sanford says she may be able to forgive her husband's much-publicized affair with an Argentine woman, but true reconciliation will take more time. In a statement e-mailed to reporters Thursday, Jenny Sanford called her husband's behavior inexcusable but said she may be able to give him another chance. It was her first public remark since Gov. Mark Sanford told The Associated Press that Maria Belen Chapur is his soul mate but he is trying to fall back in love with his wife."Forgiveness opens the door for Mark to begin to work privately, humbly and respectfully toward reconciliation with me," she said."However, to achieve true reconciliation will take time, involve repentance, and will not be easy." - AP, 7-2-09
  • INTERVIEW OF THE PRESIDENT BY ALLAFRICA.COM Blue Room July 2, 2009: Q We asked visitors to our site, AllAfrica.com, what they might be interested in with respect to your policy. And as you might imagine, the responses are everywhere: conflict resolution, development issues, trade issues, et cetera. But they and we have one immediate question: How is it that you happened to pick Ghana as the first place to visit in sub-Saharan Africa?
    THE PRESIDENT: Well, part of the reason is because that Ghana has now undergone a couple of successful elections in which power was transferred peacefully, even a very close election. I think that the new President, President Mills, has shown himself committed to the rule of law, to the kinds of democratic commitments that ensure stability in a country. And I think that there is a direct correlation between governance and prosperity. Countries that are governed well, that are stable, where the leadership recognizes that they are accountable to the people and that institutions are stronger than any one person have a track record of producing results for the people. And we want to highlight that.... - White House, 7-2-09

HISTORIANS' COMMENTS

  • Julian Zelizer"Commentary: Democrats should act now": Democrats are elated because Sen. Al Franken, former comedian and radio host, is finally coming to town. The gates of political heaven seemed to open when former Sen. Norm Coleman finally conceded.
    During his much awaited victory speech, the senator-elect said that"I am not going to waste this chance."
    With that statement, Franken started his senatorial career with an important message to his colleagues. Without any doubt, 60 votes in the filibuster-happy Senate is a lot better than 59.
    With 60 votes, a united Democratic Party can obtain cloture and end attempted Republican filibusters. But the problem is that 60 votes does not make the Senate"filibuster-proof."
    That would require 60 votes, plus Democrats sticking together....
    Without compromise by both sides, a moment of unusual opportunity can quickly disappear.... As the 2010 midterms move closer, Democrats must realize these are the best legislative conditions that they might encounter in the next four to eight years. - CNN, 7-6-09
  • Douglas Brinkley"Hussein’s Gun May Go on Display at Bush Library": Douglas Brinkley, an author and history professor at Rice University, said the pistol opened a psychological window into Mr. Bush's view of his presidency."It represents this Texas notion of the white hats taking out the black hats and keeping the trophy," Mr. Brinkley said."It's a True West magazine kind of pulp western mentality. For President Bush, this pistol represents his greatest moment of triumph, like the F.B.I. keeping Dillinger’s gun. He wants people generations from now to see the gun and say, 'He got the bad guy.'" Mr. Bush once said his favorite biography was of Sam Houston, the Texas hero who would have kept a gun from a vanquished enemy, Mr. Brinkley said. The fact that Mr. Hussein's gun was unloaded was an amazing"irony," he added. - NYT, 7-6-09
  • Thomas Whalen Analysis: Why is Sarah Palin resigning?: More than seven months after the presidential election, former Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin is sending shockwaves through the political world. Palin announced today that she is stepping down at the end of the month. There has been a lot of speculation that she may run for president in 2012. Thomas Whalen, a presidential historian and Boston University professor joins NECN for more on the announcement.... - NECN, 7-3-09
  • Diane Ravitch, Historian of education, NYU and Brookings: Sarah Palin is so yesterday. Frankly the blood sport of baiting Palin got tiresome. How much more mileage can the media wring out of this woman? She is just not that interesting, and the campaign of 2008 is over. Really over. Politico, 7-5-09
  • Julian E. Zelizer, Professor of History and Public Affairs, Princeton: Governor Palin's decision is very revealing of how she understands the"executive leadership" qualities that she and Republicans boasted about on the campaign trail. If the going gets tough--or is no longer interesting-- just quit. If Palin does run for president, her supporters, and the nation, better keep a close eye on her vice presidential running mate because who knows how long she would want to stay on the job before deciding to move on. Her Republican primary opponents will certainly have more than enough to talk about with voters. - Politico, 7-5-09
  • Doris Kearns Goodwin"Barack Obama's Martha's Vineyard days to come": The Obamas face a similar situation that the Clintons did: Neither have their own vacation home or estate."Unlike FDR, who had Hyde Park, or Lyndon Johnson or George W. Bush who had their own ranches, they need to find a place where they can relax, which the others did by going to their own homes," said author and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin."Once, when an aide told President Reagan that it might be better if he didn't go to his ranch so much, he said: 'You can tell me a lot of things, but you can’t tell me that,'" said Goodwin.... Politico, 7-5-09
  • BARBARA HOWARD: The Politics of Blackness: You say why Republican party; I say why not?: Whenever I see Democrats revise history, I don't know whether to laugh at how uninformed they are or be afraid at how much they lie. I tend to be more afraid because the desired end result is to discredit the Republican Party, keeping black folk loyal to the Democratic Party....
    ...The Rev. Wayne Perryman, who in"Unfounded Loyalty" gives the Democrats' history in slavery, segregation and socialism. Unfortunately, blacks blindly joined the Democratic Party because of their complete ignorance of its actual civil rights record. They only know the fabricated one.... - South Florida Times, 7-3-09



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