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Statement from Vice President Biden on Mitt Romney’s VFW Remarks:

"Over the past three years, President Obama has taken the fight directly to America’s enemies, confronting al-Qaeda head on and taking out Osama bin Laden. He ended the war in Iraq responsibly and has a plan to do the same in Afghanistan. He has done more for Israel’s security than any President since Harry Truman, led international efforts to put the most pressure in history on Iran, protected the people of Libya from a brutal dictator and helped rebuild our alliances across the globe. He saved our economy from collapse with bold decisions, including the rescue of the automobile industry – which has made us stronger abroad. Because of President Obama’s leadership, Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive.

Today, Governor Romney had an opportunity to fulfill a long-standing promise by laying out his foreign policy vision and agenda. He had a chance to say how he would lead as Commander-in-Chief. Instead, all we heard from Governor Romney was empty rhetoric and bluster. He reflexively criticizes the President’s policies without offering any alternatives. When he does venture a position, it’s a safe bet that he previously took exactly the opposite position and will probably change his mind again and land in the wrong place – far out of the mainstream. Or he mischaracterizes our record to create a non-existent contrast.

On Afghanistan:

"Governor Romney supported the President’s timeline to end the war in Afghanistan, then he opposed it and now it is hard to know where he stands. His misguided criticism of the President’s new defense strategy is undermined by the fact that strategy was designed with and supported by the entire Defense Department senior leadership, uniform and civilian. It provides for a more agile, flexible force, better able to confront aggressors and project power, with strong partnerships to share the burden and smart investments in cutting edge capabilities. We proposed a budget to fully fund that strategy and keep faith with our veterans.

On Russia:

"When it comes to Russia – which he recently called "our number one geo-political foe” – Governor Romney remains mired in a Cold War mindset. We have serious disagreements with Moscow, but our cooperation has made the American people more secure. Russia cancelled the sale of cutting edge radar to Iran and joined us in imposing the toughest sanctions in history on Tehran. Together, we negotiated a major nuclear arms reduction treaty – New START – that virtually the entire Republican foreign policy establishment supported but Governor Romney and a very small group of Cold War holdovers opposed.

On Poland and missile defense:

"On the eve of his trip to Poland, the Governor is either profoundly misinformed – or misinforming the American people. He asserts that the President abandoned a missile defense system in that country. President Obama asked me to secure Allied support for a new missile defense plan for Europe. Who did we ask to host its main components? Poland, along with Turkey, Romania, Germany and Spain. These countries and all of NATO embraced our approach because it protects more of Europe more quickly than the old plan.

On Israel:

"Governor Romney continues his long litany of untruths about our administration’s policies toward Israel. We’ve provided record levels of security assistance, funding for the Iron Dome missile defense system that intercepted nearly 80 percent of the rockets recently fired from Gaza, close collaboration on longer range missile defense systems, the largest joint military exercises in history, the most consistent and comprehensive exchanges ever between our top political, defense, security and intelligence officials. And, contrary to Governor Romney’s outrageous accusation that the President joined in the chorus of insults levied against Israel at the United Nations, President Obama has stood up repeatedly, publicly and often alone against efforts to delegitimize Israel at the U.N. and around the world.

On Iran:

"On Iran, Governor Romney does a compelling job laying out exactly what the Administration is already doing. The only step he seems to think we should take that we are not already taking is to launch a war. If that is what the Governor is for, he should tell the American people.

On al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden:

"One thing the Governor did not talk about today was al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. That’s not surprising. When he last ran for President, Governor Romney was asked what he would do about bin Laden. He said then: ‘it is not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.’ We know how Obama answered that question: by ordering our intelligence services to leave no stone unturned in the hunt for bin Laden, and then authorizing one of the highest risk missions ever to capture or kill our number one enemy.

"Thanks to President Obama’s leadership, bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive — and everything we have learned from Governor Romney today and during this campaign tells the American people that a Romney presidency would have resulted in just the opposite.”


My articles | Views: 198 | Added by: dgarr | Date: 07.25.2012 | Comments (0)

OAKLAND -- President Obama accused rival Mitt Romney of "knowingly twisting” his comments about American business, in what amounted to his most forceful response to more than a week of sustained attacks by Republicans over a sound bite the president’s campaign argued was taken out of context.

In remarks to a feisty audience at Oakland’s Fox Theater on Monday evening, Obama contended that Romney had misrepresented what he said this month when he spoke of the role government plays in supporting the growth of business. He said Romney's response showed he fails to appreciate the best way to grow the economy in a balanced way.

At issue were the president’s remarks at a campaign stop in Roanoke, Va., on July 13, where he spoke of his belief that many wealthier Americans were willing to "give something back” to help grow the U.S. economy.

"If you've been successful, you didn't get there on your own,” Obama said at the time. "If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

Republicans portrayed a truncated version of that argument -- that "if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that” -- as showing that Obama was hostile to American business.

Obama raised the flap Monday while warning his supporters that Republicans would spend unprecedented sums distorting his vision this fall.

"Earlier today Gov. Romney was at it again, knowingly twisting my words around to suggest that I don’t value small businesses,” he said, referring to his opponent's comments at a campaign event in Southern California that morning. "In politics we all tolerate a certain amount of spin. I understand these are the games that get played in political campaigns. But when folks omit entire sentences of what I said -- they start splicing and dicing -- you may have gone a little over the edge.”

Obama said he believed "with all my heart that it is the drive and the ingenuity of Americans who start businesses that lead to their success.”

"I always have, and I always will,” he emphasized.

Obama said business owners understand that to succeed, they need a well-educated workforce, research and development that’s often funded by government, and a healthy middle class to purchase their goods.

My articles | Views: 213 | Added by: dgarr | Date: 07.24.2012 | Comments (0)

Independent (UK): Michelle Obama will be travelling to London to attend the Olympic Games’ opening ceremony, the White House announced.The US First Lady is following in the steps of her predecessors Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush….Mrs Obama will also attend a reception for Heads of State hosted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace and meet Prime Minister David Cameron’s wife Samantha during the three-day visit. She will also cheer on Team USA athletes as they compete at the Games.Mrs Obama will lead the presidential delegation to the opening ceremony accompanied by Olympic and Paralympic greats and will host an event for about 1,000 US military children plus US and British students…. David Beckham and Manchester United stars are also set to appear at the Let’s Move! London event on July 27.More hereICEPN:Thursday, July 26th:First Lady Michelle Obama will arrive in the UK in the evening.Friday, July 27th:9:00 am UK (4:0 am ET): FLOTUS and the Presidential Delegation will greet members of the 2012 Team USA at an informal breakfast in honor of the Olympians. Mrs Obama will deliver brief remarks at the event.11:30 am UK (6:30 am ET): FLOTUS hosts a Let’s Move! event for about 1,000 American military children and American and British students … Let’s Move! London will include sports stations, performances and chances for the kids to meet Olympic and Paralympic legends including the members of the U.S. delegation along with David Beckham, Bart Conner, Nadia Comaneci, Teresa Edwards, Emily Hughes, Sarah Hughes, Shawn Johnson, Carl Lewis, Dikembe Mutombo, Dara Torres, members of the 2012 US Track and Field Team and Manchester United legends, among others.In the evening, the First Lady will attend a reception for Heads of State hosted by Her Majesty the Queen at Buckingham Palace. Following the reception, the First Lady will attend the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games in her role as head of the Presidential Delegation.Saturday, July 28th:In the morning, the First Lady will meet with Mrs Samantha Cameron. This meeting will be closed press.In the afternoon and evening, the First Lady will cheer on Team USA at Olympic sporting events to be announced.Sunday, July 29th:In the morning, the First Lady will deliver brief remarks at a brunch at the Ambassador’s residence for the U.S. Olympic Committee, U.S. Olympic alumni athletes and Team USA supporters. Afterwards, she will greet and thank members of the U.S. Embassy and their families. These two events will be closed press.1:45 pm UK (8:45 am ET): Prior to departing the United Kingdom, Mrs. Obama will greet American military families stationed at Mildenhall Air Force Base.More details here
My articles | Views: 157 | Added by: dgarr | Date: 07.24.2012 | Comments (1)

Obama on the Theater Massacre in Colorado

Update: Obama spoke with Aurora's police chief. 

Obama spoke moments ago from Ft. Myers, Florida  Earlier he made a statement: 

Michelle and I are shocked and saddened by the horrific and tragic shooting in Colorado. Federal and local law enforcement are still responding, and my Administration will do everything that we can to support the people of Aurora in this extraordinarily difficult time. We are committed to bringing whoever was responsible to justice, ensuring the safety of our people, and caring for those who have been wounded. As we do when confronted by moments of darkness and challenge, we must now come together as one American family. All of us must have the people of Aurora in our thoughts and prayers as they confront the loss of family, friends, and neighbors, and we must stand together with them in the challenging hours and days to come.

As might be expected, people on the internet are calling for gun control. Mayor Bloomberg is calling on Romney and Obama to talk about gun control. The time to talk about gun control isn't directly after a shooting. A better time is when people aren't as emotional. But talk of tighter gun laws always moves to the back burner. The NRA has pretty much won the debate, owns Congress.

I'm not sure that gun laws would help. You have to stop people from wanting to shoot each other. If this guy or any other person is set on mass killing they'll find a gun, legal or not. They'll make a weapon if they have to.

Soon people will be calling for better mental health access. Note to the media: anything can be fuel for a mentally ill person to go on a killing spree. This is not about a movie.

Republicans and the media are reporting that the shooter is an occupy protester. Other media reported he's a democrat. ABC linked the shooter to the tea party and has now retracted that. 

People are posting information about the wrong James Holmes. I feel bad for anyone with that name today. NPR has a good wrap on a personality sketch of Holmes.

For certain, James E. Holmes put a lot of planning into what he did. No normal person goes on a killing spree. Some things should transcend politics. It's probably a good day to stay off the internet.

Obama was at a campaign event in Ft. Myers, Florida. The clapping during his statement is a bit unsettling. Obama cancelled the event. Both Obama and Romney took down their political ads in Colorado. 
My articles | Views: 219 | Added by: dgarr | Date: 07.21.2012 | Comments (0)

Off The Cliff: Let the Bush Tax Cuts Expire

Obama wants to extend tax cuts only for the middle class, for incomes up to $250K, and end the Bush tax cuts for those making more than $250K. Republicans don't want that. They want tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires too.
Last time this issue came up, republicans got their way because they held middle class tax cuts hostage. This time around Sen. Murray came up with an idea to let all of the tax cuts expire.
It's being called #OffTheCliff on twitter because the so-called "fiscal cliff" -- when the tax cuts expire if Congress doesn't act -- happens at the end of the year: 

There's been a lot of chatter about Sen. Patty Murray's big speech in which she claimed that Democrats hold the leverage in the coming "fiscal cliff" talks over the Bush tax cuts and that they should be prepared to let all the tax cuts expire if necessary to force the GOP's hand.

The idea is that if all the cuts expire, Democrats can come back and renew just the middle-class cuts, and dare Republicans to vote against it. 

"If the Bush tax cuts expire," Murray said at the Brookings Institution on Monday, and taxes go up for everyone, the debate will be reset. Every proposal will be a tax-cut proposal, and Republicans will no longer be constrained by their no-new-taxes pledge. "If middle-class families start seeing more money coming out of their paychecks next year, are Republicans really going to stand up and fight for new tax cuts for the rich?" Murray asked. Read more at Times Union
My articles | Views: 196 | Added by: dgarr | Date: 07.20.2012 | Comments (0)

Readout of Obama's Call With Putin

President Obama called Russian President Putin today to discuss the developing situation in Syria.  The two Presidents noted the growing violence in Syria and agreed on the need to support a political transition as soon as possible that achieves our shared goal of ending the violence and avoiding a further deterioration of the situation.  They noted the differences our governments have had on Syria, but agreed to have their teams continue to work toward a solution. President Obama also took the opportunity to express condolences on the tragic loss of life resulting from flooding in southern Russia earlier this month and reiterated the U.S. readiness to provide assistance if needed.
My articles | Views: 152 | Added by: dgarr | Date: 07.20.2012 | Comments (0)

SCOTUSBlog Interview

SCOTUSBlog was one of the few media outlets that did a decent job of covering SCOTUS-- not just on the day of the ruling but also leading up to the decision. Slate's political gabfest also did a good job. Who didn't? Fox News, CNN, ABC, CBS, NPR and the rest of the mainstream media. Our media did us a great dis-service. On the day SCOTUS heard the arguments, most reporters misinterpreted SCOTUS and nearly all of them believed SCOTUS would strike the mandate and effectively end Obamacare.
The American Constitution Society for Law and Progress said that 85% of legal scholars agreed that based on law, Obamacare would be upheld. That information was drowned out by a media that chose to cover only tea party views.
If you're confused by the is-it-a-tax-or-a-penalty game, a republican game, that the media has now taken up, read this.
Essentially, the mandate to buy insurance was labeled a penalty so the case would be heard by SCOTUS. If it was called a tax, then SCOTUS would have to wait until people were tax and a suit was filed.
Whether you call it a tax or a penalty, it doesn't really matter. What matters is only those who choose NOT to buy insurance will pay a penalty (tax), which the CBO estimates will be 1%.
My articles | Views: 200 | Added by: dgarr | Date: 07.02.2012 | Comments (0)

Rick Scott Won't Comply with Obamacare

It will be interesting to see how Floridians react and how the Obama administration reacts. Everyone should ignore the Florida governor for now. He's in the midst of a temper tantrum. 

Florida Gov. Rick Scott now says Florida will do nothing to comply with President Barack Obama's health care overhaul and will not expand its Medicaid program. The announcement is a marked changed after the governor recently said he would follow the law if it were upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

"Florida is not going to implement Obamacare. We are not going to expand Medicaid and we're not going to implement exchanges,'' Scott's spokesman Lane Wright told The Associated Press on Saturday. Wright stressed that the governor would work to make sure the law is repealed. NBC
For each one of these posts on republicans throwing tantrums, and I'm sure there will be many, I'm going to post information on Obamacare. Here is a fact sheet on preventive care covered under the ACA (Affordable Care Act). 

The media covers mostly men when the discussion is healthcare.
My articles | Views: 191 | Added by: dgarr | Date: 07.01.2012 | Comments (0)

McConnell Doesn't Believe 30 Million Uninsured Matter

Republicans and tea partiers are beside themselves with an anger that you can smell, which means the media will be busy for quite some time covering the squeaky wheels. It will be a challenge, just like the first time, for Obama to get any message out on Obamacare. Our media is largely lazy and it's easier to cover the person having the temper tantrum. Mitch McConnell on Fox News this morning:

"I just want to ask what specific steps are you going to do to provide universal coverage to the 30 million people who are uninsured?” Wallace pressed. "That is not the issue,” McConnell insisted. "You don’t think the 30 million people who are uninsured is an issue?” Wallace wondered. Raw story
To learn more about the Affordable Care Act, which I affectionately call Obamacare, this is an excellent, non partisan site. Let's be frank, republicans really don't care about the uninsured. As McConnell says, that's not the issue. Republicans fail to see how the uninsured drive up costs.
My articles | Views: 209 | Added by: dgarr | Date: 07.01.2012 | Comments (0)

Di --

I'd love to take a moment to savor yesterday's Supreme Court decision, but we don't have time. 

Already, Mitt Romney and Republicans are out with outright falsehoods about Obamacare -- their favorite distortion being that this is somehow a broad tax on the middle class. In reality, this is all about personal responsibility -- and the "tax" they are trying to scare everyone about is actually a penalty for the 1 percent of people who can afford insurance but still choose not to buy it, leaving the rest of us to pay for their health care when they head to the emergency room.

Just like they did when the bill was before Congress, Republicans are playing fast and loose with the truth, making up scary consequences to keep you from knowing all the good things Obamacare does. They're not telling the truth about what this reform means for millions of middle-class Americans, so I need you to help get the facts out there.

Let's break it down.

#1 Republican distortion: "The President promised he wouldn't raise taxes on the middle class by a penny with this health care law. Well, that's been proven false now."

The facts: President Obama has cut taxes by $3,600 for the average middle-class family over the last three and a half years, and the Republicans fought him nearly every step of the way. From cutting taxes for every working American through the Making Work Pay and payroll tax cuts, to the American Opportunity Tax Credit which gives up to a $10,000 tax credit to help families pay for four years of college, the President has put more money in the pockets of middle-class Americans. 

Here's another fact: Obamacare includes the largest middle-class tax cut for health care in history. According to the independent Congressional Budget Office, 19 million people will receive tax credits -- worth an average of about $4,800 each -- to help afford health care. These tax credits will finally put health insurance within reach for millions of American families. In short, Obamacare cuts taxes for middle-class families. Period.

Around 1 percent of people -- those who can afford to buy coverage but instead choose to opt out, shifting their costs to the rest of us -- will pay a penalty. The Supreme Court acknowledged yesterday that this penalty will be charged through the tax code -- but that doesn't change its purpose (to ensure everyone who can afford insurance buys it) or its effect (to lower costs for everyone). It's also the same policy Mitt Romney implemented when he signed health reform in Massachusetts. For many folks in Massachusetts, the penalties under Romney's reform were even bigger. In fact, here's a video of him extolling the virtues of his penalty.

#2 Romney distortion: Romney said Obamacare meant "a larger and larger government, more and more intrusive in your life -- separating you and your doctor."

The facts: Totally dishonest. In fact, this is one of the most dishonest claims in American politics. First, this isn't about government. Obamacare builds on and improves the nation's private health care system.

Second, here's what it fixes. Before Obamacare, insurance companies had free rein to arbitrarily cap and cancel coverage, and they could waste our premiums on overheads and big CEO bonuses. With Obamacare, there will now be clear rules of the road to give patients and doctors more control over their health care. These rules will make sure that you and your doctor -- not your insurance company, and certainly not a Washington bureaucrat -- have control over your health.

#3 Romney distortion: "Obamacare also means that for up to 20 million Americans, they will lose the insurance they currently have."

The facts: Outright false. If you like the insurance you have, you can keep it. The only thing that's changed is that your coverage is stronger. Here's how:

-- If you had a lifetime limit (and about 60 percent of employer-based plans did), it's been lifted.
-- If you have a child under the age of 26, they can stay on your plan. 
-- Insurance companies can no longer discriminate against children with preexisting conditions. 
-- Starting in 2014, insurance companies will no longer be able to deny anyone insurance based on preexisting conditions, helping up to 129 million Americans get the care they need.
-- Insurance companies will no longer be able to charge women more than men for the exact same coverage.
-- 54 million Americans already have access to better preventive services, free of charge.
-- And if you get sick, your insurance company can't drop your coverage, and if they deny you a treatment, the law makes sure you have a chance to appeal.

Republicans who tell you Obamacare won't let you keep your plan if you like it are lying to you -- and it is shameful.

#4 Republican distortion: "Costs are going up."

The facts: Health care costs have been going up for decades -- that's one of the reasons President Obama fought to pass the Affordable Care Act. Obamacare makes targeted changes to hold costs down. The President started by taking on the insurance companies. As he said yesterday, the law ensures that insurance companies spend 80% of your premium dollars on your health care, not administrative costs or CEO bonuses. If they don't follow that rule, they have to send you a rebate. This month, more than 12 million Americans will receive over $1 billion in rebate checks, and we're all seeing lower premiums because of it. 

The law also takes on waste in our health care system. Let's take just one example. We spend billions of dollars every year treating people for infections they get while they are in the hospital. The health care law helps hospitals take simple but necessary steps to prevent infections. These types of reforms will save up to $35 billion and 60,000 lives. 

#5 Romney distortion: "Obamacare adds trillions to our deficits and to our national debt."

The facts: Wrong again. The Affordable Care Act cuts the deficit by over $100 billion during the first ten years. In the following decade, it cuts the deficit by another $1 trillion. Not only is the Romney campaign misleading people about the President's deficit plan, they won't tell the truth about their own. Romney would grow the deficit by as much as $5 trillion by giving tax cuts that favor millionaires and billionaires while taking away health care benefits that people rely on. We can't let them get away with it.

I'm going to be perfectly clear: Mitt Romney has promised that if elected our next president, he will repeal Obamacare on Day One in office. Immediately after the Supreme Court ruled to uphold health care reform yesterday, Romney reminded his supporters: "When I'm President...Obamacare will be over."

If Romney gets his way, 105 million Americans could see their lifetime caps reinstated, and more than 3.1 young Americans could be booted off their parent's plan and could again be without insurance. Up to 17 million children with preexisting conditions could, once again, be at risk of being denied coverage, and insurance companies could once again drop you if you get sick. 

That's why the Truth Team's work to spread the truth on Obamacare is so critically important.

Luckily, we have the facts to stop Romney, and the progress I just laid out to back us up.
My articles | Views: 209 | Added by: dgarr | Date: 06.30.2012 | Comments (0)

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