Joe Ricketts is a registered independent, a fiscal conservative, and an outspoken critic of the Obama administration, but he is neither the author nor the funder of the so-called ‘Ricketts Plan’.TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts • In a statement, released via End Spending Action Fund President Brian Baker, denying allegations he intended to implement the “Ricketts Plan” unveiled by the New York Times on Thursday. The plan called for a renewed attack on President Obama’s prior-association with the highly controversial Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Presumed Republican nominee Mitt Romney distanced himself from the ads, and campaign manager Matt Rhoades told reporters, “It’s clear President Obama’s team is running a campaign of character assassination. We repudiate any efforts on our side to do so.” source (via • follow)
I recognize that many Americans are tired of war. I will not keep Americans in harm’s way a single day longer than is absolutely required for our national security. But we must finish the job we started in Afghanistan, and end this war responsibly.President Barack Obama • Speaking in a televised speech in Afghanistan, hours after landing at a military base near Kabul in a surprise visit. While emphasizing the need to end the war — the last combat troops are expected to leave in 2014 — he spoke of the importance of seeing the mission through. “The goal that I set, to defeat Al Qaeda and deny it the chance to rebuild, is now within our reach,” he said. While in Afghanistan, the president signed a document with Afghan president Hamid Karzai “Enduring Strategic Partnership Agreement,” meant to clarify the American role in the country after the war.
I do think there was something a little bit off-key about the president slow jamming and appearing to make light of the fact that students are struggling. I don’t think it’s something to slow jam about or to make light of it. If that skit was brought to the governor, he would have declined.Romney campaign adviser Eric Fehrnstrom • Criticizing President Obama’s role on a recent episode of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, which you may have seen. Basically, President Obama “slow jammed” (really just deliberately spoke, more than anything else) about student loan interest rates, an issue he’s pushing hard at the beginning of his 2012 reelection campaign. We get why Fehrnstrom (and the Romney campaign) might be frustrated by this — it was an extremely crafty political message, and delivered in a particular way that is completely inaccessible to Romney himself. His conclusion, however, that President Obama was making light of a serious situation for students, is countered by the very real political effect of his pushing the issue; just yesterday the GOP-led House voted to extend the fixed, lowered interest rates that Obama has been harping on. source (via • follow)
One extreme can be to put all users in prison. On the other extreme, legalization. In the middle there may be more practical policies, such as decriminalizing consumption but putting all the efforts into interdiction.President Obama • Speaking at the Summit Of The Americas in Colombia today. Obama sought, as he often does, to play the mindful pragmatist, seeking centrist ground. His former hypothetical is functionally impossible in a way the second one isn’t, really – there simply aren’t enough prisons to hold every person found to use drugs. However, the latter suggestion is opposed by a large chunk of the U.S. populace, and as such has scant support amongst the American political class, which Obama clearly understands: “…the time has come to simply analyze if what we are doing is the best we could be doing, or if we can find an alternative that would be more effective and less costly to society. This is a topic of extreme political sensitivity.” source (via • follow)
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» A dip from prior years: Obama’s taxes show a dip in income from his book sales — which earned him millions of dollars in prior years — to the point where it makes up roughly half of his income in 2012, with the other half coming from his presidential salary. The president, it turns out, made under the $1 million in income that would force him to pay higher taxes under his proposed “Buffett Rule.” Obama certainly isn’t struggling, though his income doesn’t compare to what his likely GOP competitor, Mitt Romney, has made in recent years. In other news, we’re betting this post is reminding you that you forgot to do your taxes. Better get on that!
We could call it the Reagan Rule instead of the Buffett Rule. I’m not the first president to call for this idea that everyone has to do their fair share.President Barack Obama • During a speech before a group of executives at the White House, the second pitch he’s made for the policy in as many days. The President said he agreed with critics who claim the policy doesn’t put a large enough dent in our debt, saying that the absence of a complete fix was not an excuse for inaction, and that it would be “something that will get us moving in the right direction.” Obama also took aim at Republican opposition, saying, “If Republicans in Congress were truly concerned with deficits and debt, then I’m assuming they wouldn’t have just proposed to spend an additional $4.6 trillion on lower tax rates….for every millionaire in America.”source (via • follow)
» Pretty harsh considering the thrashing that the Affordable Care Act is reported to be taking in the Supreme Court this week. While both analysts and many inside the White House expected the ugly turnout on the budget proposal, it’s hard to imagine that anybody imagined a shut-out. Should Obama be worried about these sorts of losses piling up as the election draws closer?