Follow Barack Obama prior and during his tenure as the 44th President of the United States. Read about my personal observations along with every day facts as they happen. This blog will only submit factual information about the first black President, now in his 2nd term of office.


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House GOP relents on payroll tax cut deal

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Washington (CNN) -- A compromise measure to extend the payroll tax cut for two months comes before the House and Senate on Friday after Speaker John Boehner dropped his opposition under mounting pressure from the White House, congressional Democrats and fellow Republicans.

Both chambers will be asked to give unanimous consent, a procedural move that would allow the measure to pass even though most members will be home for the holidays.

If no one shows up to object in person, the plan originally worked out by the Senate and modified slightly Thursday to get the support of Boehner and House Republicans would go to President Barack Obama's desk.Obama has promised to sign it, as well as a separate appropriations bill to fund the government through September 2012, before heading off to Hawaii to join his family for the holidays.

The agreement represented a symbolic triumph for the president, who pushed hard for extending the payroll tax cut as part of his jobs package and rallied public support for his stance.

While the two-month extension was shorter than desired, Obama urged congressional leaders to follow through on their stated intention to negotiate a one-year extension that all parties have said they favor.

"Today's victory is yours," Obama said in a tweet to followers Thursday night. "Keep making your voices heard -- it makes all the difference."

The agreement also includes the addition of legislative language to ease the administrative burden on small businesses implementing the plan, and a commitment to the negotiations on a one-year extension of the payroll tax cut as well as other benefits, according to statements by congressional leaders and Obama.

Boehner succumbed Thursday to calls from across the political spectrum for House Republicans to stop blocking congressional approval of the Senate-passed measure.

While minor changes were made to the Senate plan, Thursday's agreement produced essentially the same proposal as the one the Senate passed last Saturday in an 89-10 vote, with strong Republican support.

A House GOP uprising during a caucus conference call Saturday caused Boehner to reject the Senate plan, setting up this week's political showdown in the final days before the payroll tax rate was set to rise.

According to GOP sources, another conference call Thursday involved Boehner describing the terms of the agreement without allowing any members to ask questions or raise objections. One Republican House member on the call described Boehner as "tired and ticked off."

Boehner, R-Ohio, then announced the deal to reporters, calling the House GOP's prior opposition to the Senate plan the right thing to do, even if politically questionable.

"It may not have been politically the smartest thing in the world," Boehner said, but the end result was "we were able to fix what came out of the Senate."

The speaker also acknowledged the pressure he was under, saying: "I talked to enough members over the last 24 hours who say we don't like the two-month extension and if you can get this fixed, why not do the right thing for the American people even if it's not exactly what we want."

Analysts said Boehner had little choice but to back down.

"It became increasingly obvious he had to fold," said CNN Senior Political Analyst David Gergen, using poker terminology. Boehner was under "intense pressure from senior Republicans" over a situation that "became so botched," Gergen said.

Darrell West , the vice president and director of governance studies at the Brookings Institution, said the issue has worked in the favor of Democrats because they had Republicans "seemingly willing to accept a tax increase" by opposing the Senate extension of the payroll tax cut.

"Any time you can get the other party in opposition to its own stated principles, that's a good thing," West said.

The ongoing impasse pitting the House Republican leadership against the White House, congressional Democrats and fellow Republicans was the kind of political gamesmanship that Americans dislike about Congress, Obama said earlier Thursday.

The two-month Senate compromise was passed after Senate negotiators were unable to agree on a one-year extension.

But Boehner demanded negotiations on a one-year extension, arguing that anything shorter would simply prolong the issue and cause uncertainty for American taxpayers and businesses.

His stance drew sharp criticism this week, including an editorial in the conservative Wall Street Journal that said House Republicans had lost the political advantage of advocating tax cuts to Obama and the Democrats.

Gergen: Winds shift toward Obama

On Thursday, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell also called for Boehner to accept a short-term extension, and similar statements by other conservative Republicans showed the tide turning against Boehner and his GOP leaders.

Meanwhile, conservative Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Nebraska, and Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wisconsin, added their voices to GOP calls for House Republicans to relent in their standoff.

"While I would prefer a year-long tax holiday, I refuse to let anyone play games with my constituents who stand to face a significant tax hike if we don't act," Duffy said in a statement. "That's why I will support any option to extend the payroll tax cut."

Obama, meanwhile, reiterated the Democratic position in a phone call with Boehner Thursday morning, stating that the House should pass the Senate's two-month extension and then negotiators should get to work on a longer-term deal.

The president also met with a group of middle-class Americans as part of a White House attempt to illustrate the impact on 160 million American workers if the tax holiday ends December 31. The typical worker's take home salary will shrink by about $40 per pay period without the tax cut.

"It's time for the House to listen ... to the voices all across the country and reconsider," Obama said. "I am ready to sign that (Senate) compromise into law the second it lands on my desk."

Obama blamed the impasse on "a faction of House Republicans" that refused to support the Senate compromise, even though leaders of both parties had insisted they wanted to extend the payroll tax cut.

He prompted laughter by adding: "Has this place become so dysfunctional that even when people agree to things we can't do it? It doesn't make any sense."

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada, reinforcing Obama's stance, released a statement promising that he will be "happy to restart the negotiating process to forge a year-long extension" as soon as the House passes the Senate's compromise plan.

Many in the GOP fear the issue damaged the party's anti-tax reputation heading into the 2012 campaign.

Pushed by his conservative, tea party-infused House GOP caucus, Boehner had continued to insist that anything short of an immediate 12-month extension of the tax holiday would only create more economic instability and do little to generate job growth.

Also at stake: extended emergency federal unemployment benefits and the so-called "doc fix," a delay in scheduled pay cuts to Medicare physicians.

Both of those measures, along with the tax holiday, were scheduled to expire in nine days.

All top Democrats and Republicans publicly agreed on the need for a one-year extension, but critics of the House GOP's stance insisted that the Senate's two-month extension was necessary to give negotiators more time to hammer out a deal over how to pay for the continuation.

They accused House Republicans of creating the very instability they had railed against, and of needlessly creating yet another congressional crisis at the end of a year filled with Capitol Hill showdowns.

Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the GOP's 2008 presidential nominee, strongly criticized the House GOP's stance on CNN's "American Morning" Thursday.

"The Republicans are losing this fight. We need to get back on track," McCain said. "A thousand dollars a year is a big amount of money to most Americans, and I think it's very important. ... I worry about the fact that we are continuing to increase the debt and the deficit, but now it's become very symbolic, and I think it has to be done."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, normally a conservative political platform, blasted Boehner and his House GOP colleagues, arguing that they had "achieved the small miracle of letting Mr. Obama position himself as an election-year tax cutter."

"At this stage, Republicans would do best to cut their losses and find a way to extend the payroll holiday quickly," the paper's editorial writers said.

Numerous Senate Republicans have indicated they felt politically undercut by their House colleagues after agreeing to the two-month compromise negotiated by McConnell and Reid.

A number of Republicans have said the party should have declared victory after winning an agreement by Obama -- as part of the payroll tax cut package -- to make a decision within the next 60 days on whether to proceed with the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Republicans and some Democratic union leaders say the controversial pipeline will create thousands of new jobs; critics question its environmental impact.

A failure to act could have had major political fallout. Numerous observers believe Obama is preparing to parrot Harry Truman's 1948 campaign next year by running against an unpopular, dysfunctional Congress controlled partly by the GOP.

CNN's Jessica Yellin, Ted Barrett, Dana Bash, Kate Bolduan, Lisa Desjardins, Matt Hoye, Xuan Thai, Brianna Keilar and Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.


Tax Cuts Fail - Now What?

Opinion of the Editor 'James' 'Obama in the White House' blog

Just when you didn't think things couldn't get worse with the United States Congress, things got worse. The latest fling thrown out by the Republicans in the House is to turn away a tax cut extension, that if not approved by January 1, would raise everyone's taxes, approximately affecting 160,000,000 people. Middle class Americans stand a chance to save at least $1,000 per year if passed, but if not, they would inherit at least another minimum of $40 per pay check of taxes.
Right up front, the Republican Senators of the House did elect to pass the bill, and it was fully expected to pass in the House, but when it came down to the vote, thanks to the leadership of John Boehner, the Speaker of the House, the bill failed.
The reason... Because Boehner says that passing just a temporary bill for an extention of 2 months is not the answer, and the President needs to sign a bill for at least a full year. He may be right, but why has it taken the Republicans this long to come up with the fact that a 2 month extension is not acceptable. So instead, the Republican lead House was fully prepared to allow the bill to fail just so that they could possibly gain more concessions from the Democrats.
It looks as if John Boehner has stepped too far across the line. What he was promoting was to hurt approximately 160,000,000 people in the United States.
If the bill doesn't pass, what does it mean to Americans.
Besides the $40 minimum added tax on your paycheck each week, people will elect to do without something to make up the difference. It is not a matter of choice here, but a matter of necessity. The Republicans believe that just $40 bi-weekly is not too much to sacrifice.
But what this would me would be that at Christmas, the Republican party would be responsible for being a Scrooge at Christmas, led by the biggest Scrooge himself, John Boehner. Now, his days are numbered, as the people from Ohio pretty much had enough of him, along with the rest of the country.
People would have problems paying the bills. They would curtail their travel plans. They will push back in purchases. Screwing this one up should really cost the Republicans something that they want the most, and that's the White House. People do not trust the Republican led Congress anymore. Their rating is the lowest ever recorded in U.S. history. Many of the Congressmen will loose their jobs. and not only will President Obama win a 2nd term as President, the House most likely will turn over to the Democrats. So then where the Republican ticket be. Most likely totally out of business and maybe extinct. It is possible that the Republican ticket may not exist during the elections of 2016.
To make it even worse for the Republicans, they are not united on their own front. There is one new front runner after another in the race for the Republican nomination, but with just 2 weeks left to go before the Iowa caucuses, there still is no clear front-runner, especially with the downgrading campaign Newt Gingrich is having. Now Ron Paul is in the lead just two weeks away from the Caucasus. If he wins Iowa, he may just win the second one, and then what will happen. Mainly, the party will be in trouble, because Ron Paul most likely will never be able to beat President Obama. Mitt Romney is the one person so far that may have a shot to stand up against the President. Again, this is my opinion. But what I am witnessing with the Republican race is something that is just unbelievable. To me, there truly is not a good solid person to represent the Republican nomination, and because of this, President Barack Obama should get re-elected, and should do so easily.


99% verses 1%

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Who is the so-called 99% and who are the 1%?

It doesn't seem to be a fair fight, as the 99'ers are going against that single 1%. And of course when you really look at it, that is exactly the case.

So who are the 1%'ers?

They are basically known as 'them'.

They are the people who possess most of the nations's wealth.
They bankroll their handpicked political candidates.
They control the banks.
They get million-dollar paychecks.
They get billion-dollar bailouts.

They do all that, but what do they don't do?

They do not pay enough taxes, and in some cases, allot less the the average American.

They don't invest their wealth in American jobs.

So who are the 99%'ers?

They are basically known as 'us'.

We are the 99% who toil at low-wage jobs.
We are the people that hold underwater mortgages.
We are the people who face foreclosures.
We are the ones who suffer job layoffs.
We are the ones who have to deal with plant closings.

With all in what we do, we still pay our taxes, but the Republicans still do not do their fair share.


Obama to let states decide benefit levels under health law

The decision shifts to local officials the decision on what medical insurers must offer consumers starting in 2014.

December 16, 2011|By Noam L. Levey, Washington Bureau
Reporting from Washington — Seeking to defuse a potential showdown over a key part of the new healthcare law, the Obama administration moved Friday to let states, rather than the federal government, define which medical benefits insurance companies will have to offer consumers starting in 2014.
That allows state leaders to retain more control of health insurance even as the law extends a new federal guarantee that all Americans can get coverage, even if they are sick.


Veterans for Peace want the U.S. Military Budget cut by 50%

Sometimes, it seems as if President Obama can't do enough. Yesterday, there were occupy protesters in Iowa who joined members of the Veterans for Peace. They parked themselves right outside President Obama's Iowa re-election campaign headquarters. What do they want? They want President Obama to end all foreign wars and also to cut the U.S. military budget in half.
They may not have heard, but the military spending in Iraq has been cut to nothing. The war in Iraq has officially been ended as of December 16, 2011 but people seem to think that the United States is spending too much on foreign wars.
Some may argue that this is the case, and maybe the 'occupy protesters' are showing their support for President Obama.


Obama 'very pleased' with vote on payroll tax cut extension


(CNN) - President Barack Obama praised the Senate for voting on Saturday to extend the payroll tax cut by another two months but urged members of Congress to reach an agreement that would extend the cuts and unemployment benefits for a full year.

Opinion of the Editor James - 'Obama in the White House Blog'

The bill as presented today to fend off a raise of middle class taxes was avoided, but at the expense of the President also including into the bill a plan that would require the President to make a decision regarding the oil pipeline being built in Canada, that is destined to run through the central states to the Gulf coast. The United States would buy the oil. 
President Obama has his reasons, as he has elected not to support such a pipeline. Nevertheless, the Republicans have pushed the payroll tax cut bill extension through, only to allow it if the President would include a provision in the bill for the oil pipeline. This would require President Obama to act on the bill within 60 days, instead of a year it normally would have taken. 
Originally, President Obama said that he would veto the bill if Congress presented it. It may be in the bill that will receive full support by Congress on Monday, but I highly doubt if President Obama would sign such a bill. And if he doesn't the Republicans will hold this against him for the election. Never mind all the things that they (the Conservatives) have done to block legislation. It is ok for them to do it, but not ok if they want the legislation to pass, and the Republicans will blame anyone and everyone who stands in their way. 
The Republicans seem to want to continue to keep the middle class people hostage as they will only pass legislation that only is to their advantage, not the middle class. They continue to turn down bills that the President Obama along with the Democrats want to pass, but only seem to want to consider every and any bill that would hurt the Democrats and President Obama. 


CHRIS MATTHEWS About Dirty Politics

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Chris Matthews - Hardball on MSNBC
How do you think the election is heading? Dirty politics? You bet.. The Republican run for the White House is now just a method by the Republicans to destroy a "positive, hopefull, processive presidency"  The following is the word for word text by Chris Matthews as he reported today on his own TV show on MSNBC tonight.
"The President, President Obama intends to turn the bad times against the Republicans. He will say that the Republican policies are squeezing the middle class right now, that the country needs to re-elect him to simply offset the power of wall street, that he's the progressive champion fighting a good fight against the money people and their power over Congress. He, Barack Obama is the 21st century's progressive fighter. That Theodore Rosevelt battling those mallofactors of great wealth and that is what Teddy Rosevelt called them on behalf of regular people. Ok. Not bad. Maybe it will work. Maybe it's true. If you have faith in Obama and put some teeth marks into that manifesto he's out there sporting," he said.
"Now for the other side. Here's the deal. The red hots are out there looking for the meanest, nastiest gladiator they can find. They want a street fighter who will look Obama in the face and verbally spit at the guy, who will show no respect, no remorse, and certainly no guilt. And this is where Newt comes in. He's got no guilt, no remorse and shows no respect and doesn't expect any. All he wants is the title shot, the chance to go head to head in the championship ring with the President of the United States. And this is where we're going I think at least right now. I see hatred being the key ingredient of the Republican candidate selection process.
Hope is still the main theme of the Obama brigade. Hope....
Hatred is not about building a better America, it's about hurting Obama, hurting him good, beating him up, humiliating him, getting him to loose, concede the Presidency. To the true haters out there, their biggest dream, their big night, isn't victory by traditional Republican standards of smaller government, it's about watching Obama bite the dust. That's what they lust for. And that explains why they can seriously get behind the candidacy of Newt Gingrich.... Because he promises them what they yearn for in their sleep... The destruction of a  positive, hopefull, progressive presidentcy that proves every day that the American dream is for everyone."


10 Reasons Why Obama Will Win in 2012

From the GOP foreign-policy debate to Europe's financial crisis, here's why Obama will declare victory next year.


1. Obama is the incumbent. That matters. And he has become increasingly confident in using the bully pulpit to his advantage, at appearing presidential. The crucial issue is going to be economics. 

2. Despite Europe's economic mess, a number of other factors suggest that the U.S. economy may begin to tick upward more during the next year. Other parts of the world are likely to be growing from the emerging markets to, in a modest way, Japan. More importantly, the likelihood that the U.S. unemployment rate declines the better part of a point to something closer to 8 percent is pretty good. That ought to be enough to make the case he avoided the abyss and turned things around in much the same way that Ronald Reagan did in 1984. 

3. Like Reagan, Obama is liked and seen as trying hard to do the right thing. That, plus some signs of progress goes a long way with the American people. 

4. Furthermore, none of these candidates are a Ronald Reagan. Moreover, none of them are even a George W. Bush, which is saying something. Mitt Romney is the whitest white man in America. He will look more like the establishment than Obama in an anti-establishment year. He will not get any journalistic good bounces because frankly it is hard to spin a narrative about the guy that will grab anyone's heartstrings. Want evidence, look at how desperately half the Republican party is at looking for alternatives. 

5. That search for alternatives could lead to a third party candidate. If it's Ron Paul it will eat into Romney's base. It is highly unlikely the left will pose a similar challenge to Obama. As for the possibility of a centrist third party candidate, appealing as it may be, it will be less so to many if it appears that candidate can't win and will only increase the likelihood that Mitt Romney will be elected on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ticket. 

6. While external events in the world -- like the Iranian detonation of a nuclear device or a terror attack -- could hurt Obama, in all likelihood, given his growing comfort with foreign-policy and the tendency of the American people to rally around the president in times of crisis, it would be a mistake to count on such a development being more likely to help the Republican candidate. 

7. The reality is that while foreign policy won't be central to the election, Obama has already succeeded in doing something remarkable: Taking it off the table. He is hard to criticize given his record with bin Laden, Al Awlaki, Qaddafi, meeting his promise in Iraq, starting to get out of Afghanistan, and restoring America's international reputation. 

8. We haven't gotten to the one-on-one segment of the campaign yet. Whoever is the Republican candidate has to run against the very disciplined, intelligent, well-prepared, charismatic president. 

9. The Republican Party on the Hill, via the Tea Party and via its more extreme elements has adopted a bunch of policies that are astonishingly out of touch with the moment. They should be doing great given the economic problems. But they are not only seen as obstructionist on the Hill but they are seen as advocates of millionaires they don't want taxed and opposed to fairness in sharing the burden for the sacrifices fixing the economy will require. 

10. By extension the leading voices for the Republican Party are folks like those on the stage ... and John Boehner and Eric Cantor and Mitch McConnell. Really? That's going to grab America in the current environment? 

The electoral map says it will be close. But already Republican overreaching has pushed Ohio back toward Obama. The Republican hope re: Florida, Marco Rubio has suffered some self-inflicted wounds. Virginia gets bluer by the day. It's close ... but it's trending toward the President. And so, while making predictions a year out is a sucker's game, for those of you who watched the Saturday debate and were disheartened there is at least all the above to suggest that none of it mattered that much anyway. As of right now the favorite to be the next president of the U.S. has to be the current president of the U.S.


President Obama talks about the Unfairness Given the Middle Class

Living in the middle class seems to be a difficult thing to do these days. People are despiritly trying to raise themselves out of poverty and be part of the largest generation of Americans, called the Middle Class. But the middle class seems to be disappearing.
As the President said in his speech while traveling in Kansas on Tuesday, "This is a make or break moment for the middle class, and all those who are fighting to get into the middle class," Obama said. "At stake is whether this will be a country where working people can earn enough to raise a family, build a modest savings, own a home, and secure their retirement."
Then, he enters the theme of his speech - 'fairness. As he says, "I'm here to reaffirm my deep conviction that we are greater together than we are on our own," Obama said. "I believe that this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, when everyone does their fair share, and when everyone plays by the same rules."
But that's just his point. Not everyone is playing by the rules. As an example that he stated in his speech, Some of the wealthyest individuals only pay a very modest 1% of income tax, after they secure and take advantage of all the tax loopholes they can. Republicans have, he said, refused to raise taxes on the rich. Republicans have blocked his nominee for head of the new consumer watchdog agency. And they have advocated for weak regulation and oversight.
"We simply cannot return to this brand of you're on your own economics if we're serious about rebuilding the middle class in this country," Obama said.

In the following link to his speech in Kansas, listen to President Obama speak of the stark reality. As he says, he will not support any bill to raise taxes on the middle class, and he will not support will veto any bill that only puts all of the burden of any plan on ordinary Americans, namely 'the middle class'. He goes further to say that he will veto any bill that changes benefits for those who rely on medicare and does not raise serious revenues by asking every American, including the biggest corporations to pay their fair share.

The bottom line here is that the Republicans do not think that President Obama is serious in what he is saying.They think he is a weak President and he will fold and give in to the rich and to the republican idea that there will be no new taxes on anyone. President Obama is about to set a record on the number of veto's a President can make in the final year of his first term, let alone all the veto's that people will see when he runs for President during the same time period.


Donald Trump "The Apprentice" to take place with the Republican Presidential Candidates in a Debate

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Not long ago, I submitted an article about Chris Mathews of Hardball, who talked about President Obama. He mentioned that if he had a chance to talk to President Obama, he would give him advice. He would ask him to "Stop being the isolated President". Since that article, I have been following the Republican race to the nomination for President to run against President Obama next November. What has transpired since the article about Chris Mathews of Hardball is an unbelievable turn of events. Since that time, Herman Cain has been accused of a 13 year affair with a woman who has come forward to tell her story. Less than a week later, Herman Cain drops out of the race. But not before an announcement was made that the debates would continue, this time with a moderator that would not be as likely to be one. If it were the program "The Apprentice" then you may like the person asking questions. But would it be likely that Donald Trump host a Republican event with the candidates? You may think not, but that is exactly what is to happen. Within the next 30 days, Donald Trump will be a moderator on 'ION TV' hosting a debate. Needless to say, there has been great decent amongst the Democatic Party, mocking the Republican Process for coming up with such a scheme.
With this said, you may just laugh, thinking that Donald Trump will be a moderator for an upcoming debate, but two of the candidates, John Huntsman and Ron Paul claim that they will not participate in such an event with the real estate mogal Donald Trump asking them questions. So what is this debate turning into? Manybe just another episode of "The Apprentice" staring the one and only Donald Trump.
Oh, and it even gets better.  As you may have guessed, after the show with him as moderator, he will pick his candidate that he will tell the world who he supports for President. He will hold back his decision until the world really knows whom is most likely to become the candidate for the Republican Party.
And now for the kicker for this story. What if Donald Trump does not like whom the Republicans care to be their candidate for President? Then it will be time for him to run, as he says that he will run his own campaign on an independent ticket to run against Barack Obama. Yes, Donald Trump is now admitting that he may still run for President of the United States.
If Donald Trump runs for President, he will absolutely destroy the chances of any of the Republican candidates from having any chance to win against Barack Obama. Having a 3rd candidate in the general election would absolutely split the voters of both the Republican and Tea Party. This would absolutely insure that President Obama would win re-election.
So maybe what Donald Trump is doing is a good thing. The Republican race is so out of sync, especially to approve of such a man like Donald Trump to become a moderator in one of their debates, that they have absolutely no clue that Donald Trump is playing right into their hands. If he doesn't come up with someone that is left in the Republican race that he likes, he will then become their enemy by running against them as an 'independent' candidate.
The race this year has become of the the strangest, most off of the way, rediculus, out of the ordinary race of all time. The personal issues surrounding all of the candidates seem to be extremely non supportive of each competitor. Each day, another crazy story surfaces.  In a since, I almost feel sorry for the Republican party. The path that the party is taking is one that is heading toward extinction. How could the future Republcan party still exist if they cannot win the White House in a campaign against Barack Obama.


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