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Obama

The Takeaway

Randall Kennedy on 'The Persistence of the Color Line: Racial Politics and the Obama Presidency'

Monday, August 15, 2011

When Barack Obama was elected into office three years ago, a popular sentiment began to take America by hold: that America had matured into a post-racial society. But not everyone agrees with that thought.

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The Takeaway

Republican Candidates Jockey for Position

Monday, August 15, 2011

Voters separated wheat from chaff this weekend, at the Iowa straw poll. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann won the poll, while former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty made a poor showing and cut his campaign short, removing himself from the GOP roster. Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced his candidacy Saturday, and Sarah Palin attracted big crowds at the Iowa State Fair, further shaking up the GOP roster. This week, President Obama is also in the midwest, on a bus tour of Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota. He's planning to sharpen his messaging against Republicans on the handling of the economy and jobs creation.

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The Takeaway

Capturing the Disgruntled Independent Vote

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Independent voters were a key part of the coalition that elected Barack Obama in 2008. But President Obama has lost the support of many of those independents, throughout his term. As potential candidates begin to prepare for the 2012 presidential election, the hunt is on to try to capture the independent vote.

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The Takeaway

White House Lauds Debt Ceiling Compromise

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

After weeks of a bitter standoff, Congress and the White House have finally reached a deal on how to raise the debt ceiling in the 11th hour. The deal was passed by the House of Representatives on Monday evening and is expected to pass the Senate early Tuesday afternoon. But some question whether the President conceded too much in the debate, and if the administration is calling this compromise a victory. For a perspective from the White House, we talk with Jennifer Psaki, White House Deputy Communications Director.

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The Takeaway

Another Obama Compromise? 'Leftists, Get Over It!'

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

President Obama’s role in the debt ceiling compromise is prompting howls of criticism and scorn from some Americans, especially those on the left. They’re complaining that the president sold out to Republicans, who are crowing about their victory. Jim Warren, columnist for Chicago News Cooperative and our partner The New York Times, and national correspondent for The Atlantic, has a simple message for the president’s critics: get over it. Warren argues that since his days as a community organizer, Obama has always favored pragmatic deal-making over partisan point-scoring.

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On The Media

Fact Checking the Debt Ceiling Debate

Friday, July 29, 2011

President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner presented dueling debt speeches this week in which each accused the opposing party of causing the debt ceiling impasse. Much of the press covered the speeches as political point and counterpoint and didn't spend much time fact checking what was said. Brooke spoke with FactCheck.org managing editor Lori Robertson who investigated the accuracy of speeches.

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The Takeaway

What If Congress Doesn't Raise the Debt Ceiling By Aug. 2?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

In his speech last night, President Obama urged the House and Senate to reach a compromise on a debt plan by August 2. "We can't allow the American people to become collateral damage to Washington's political warfare," he said. Immediately afterward, House Speaker John Boehner gave a live speech responding to Obama, in which he pushed for Obama to sign the Republican plan to raise the debt limit. The Democratic-led Senate and Republican-led House have proposed two vastly different plans. So, what happens if they can’t agree by the deadline? 

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It's A Free Country ®

Watch and Tweet Live: Obama on Debt Talks, Boehner Responds

Monday, July 25, 2011

President Obama will address the nation tonight at 9pm, giving insight into the stalled talks on the Capitol to resolve and impasse over raising the federal debt ceiling. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Oh), follows with a two minute rebuttal.

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The Takeaway

Deal or No Deal: Debt Deal vs. NFL Lockout Deal

Friday, July 22, 2011

There are two major stories in the news both revolving around deals that have been held up by long, entrenched standoffs.

First, the debt debate wages on in Washington. After hours of closed-door meetings with high-level members of Congress, rumors floated around Capitol Hill yesterday that President Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner were close to reaching a debt deal that would call for as much as $3 trillion in savings. 

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The Takeaway

NATO Begins Transfer of Power to Afghan Army in Helmand Province

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Late last month, President Obama gave a speech laying out his plan to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan. "Even as there are dark days ahead in Afghanistan, the light of a secure peace can be seen in the distance. These long wars will come to a responsible end," Obama said

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The Takeaway

Rep. Chris Van Hollen on 'Cap, Cut and Balance'

Monday, July 18, 2011

With just over two weeks left until the August 2 deadline to raise the debt ceiling, Congress is expected to vote on the Republican "cap, cut and balance" plan, which would cut spending and raise the debt ceiling, while amending the Constitution to require a balanced budget. And while the measure may pass in the House, few expect it to get through the Senate. 

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The Takeaway

China Weighs in on Debt Debate; Anyone Can Be a 'Budget Hero'

Friday, July 15, 2011

China is weighing in on U.S. lawmakers' failure to make any meaningful progress on the government debt limit, during increasingly tense budget talks in the White House. China holds more than $1 trillion in U.S. Treasury securities, and a failure to reach a debt agreement would result in a credit downgrade for the United States, and devalue China’s holdings.

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The Takeaway

The Debt Limit Debate Continues

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Another shot has been fired in the ongoing negotiations between President Obama and Republican Congressional leaders to raise the nation's debt limit before the August 2 deadline. Obama challenged Republicans in a press conference on Monday, saying that it was time for the GOP to back up rhetoric about tackling the country's long-term debt problems. Republicans leaders have said they will seek a smaller deal with more cuts to social program and no tax increases on the wealthy. Lawmakers will return to the White House for more negotiations this afternoon.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

The Latest on Debt Negotiations

Monday, July 11, 2011

Steven Dennis, reporter for Roll Call, discusses the latest on the debt negotiations in Washington as President Obama addresses reporters at a news conference this morning.

→ Add Your Comments, Listen, And Read a Recap at It's A Free Country

It's A Free Country ®

The Latest on Debt Negotiations

Monday, July 11, 2011

On the Brian Lehrer Show today at 11:25am. Audio and a recap will be posted here by 1pm.

Steven Dennis, reporter for Roll Call, discusses the latest on the debt negotiations in Washington as President Obama addresses reporters at a news conference this morning.

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The Takeaway

Obama Now Tweets, But Is His Message Getting Across?

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Yesterday, President Obama held the first ever White House Twitter Town Hall meeting. The president fielded questions from Twitter users (asked in the site's standard 140 characters or less). But the president's answers were anything but concise. In fact, he responded to participants' questions with the same long-winded, professorial rhetoric he's been criticized for throughout his presidency. Obama's ability to address his base and stimulate audiences was perhaps his greatest strength as a candidate in 2008. This begs the question: Why has President Obama failed to properly get his messages across to the American people since then?

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The Takeaway

Obama, Dems, GOP Draw Lines on Debt Ceiling Debate

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Republican and Democratic Congressional leaders will meet at the White House today in an attempt to reach a deal over deficit reduction and raising the debt ceiling. President Obama says that any agreement must close tax loopholes, while the vast majority of Republicans say that new taxes cannot be a part of the deal. Obama has also signaled he's open to cutting spending on "entitlement programs," something that makes many members of his party nervous. Todd Zwillich, The Takeaway's Washington correspondent, previews the meeting and tells us what each side is bringing to the table.

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Transportation Nation

Democrats Chase the Transpo Spending Unicorn

Thursday, June 30, 2011

President Barack Obama listens to a question during a press conference in the East Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

(Washington DC) Democrats are holding onto the dream.

The partisan politics that swirl around the much-maligned $787 billion stimulus has all but erased any chance of new transportation infrastructure spending, at least until the economy improves.

But listen to top Democrats—including President Barack Obama—over the last couple of days, and you wouldn’t know that both the Republican party, as well as much of the public, has lost their appetite for such spending.

With talks over raising the federal debt limit and reigning in the deficit at a standstill, Obama took to the White House East Room Wednesday afternoon to push back on what he sees as Republican intransigence. The GOP is sticking to its guns: no tax increases of any kind can be part of a deal on the debt limit.

Obama had plenty to say about that. But he also said that new job spending—you could call it stimulus—should be part of the deal as a way to goose the still-flagging economy.

“I think it’s important for us to look at rebuilding our transportation infrastructure in this country.  That could put people back to work right now -- construction workers back to work right now.  And it would get done work that America needs to get done.  We used to have the best roads, the best bridges, the best airports.  We don’t anymore.  And that’s not good for our long-term competitiveness,” the president said.

Obama seemed to suggest that the new spending could be folded in as part of a broader deal to cut the deficit. Such spending has not specifically come up in meetings with Republicans so far, according to aides on Capitol Hill.

But Democrats have enjoyed hammering the GOP lately for ignoring middle-class jobs at the expense of the wealthy. It’s a reliable cudgel, to be sure. And Democrats are now promising that once a debt deal is behind them and all the painful cuts are made, they’ll return with an aggressive jobs plan chock full of transportation wishes.

Witness Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) on Thursday morning in Washington. Schumer gave a politically charged speech castigating Republicans for trying to hamper Obama by blocking any measures that might help job growth in the short term.

Schumer said Democrats would soon launch a “Jobs First” agenda, designed to speed a drop in the unemployment rates and build long-term economic soundness. Of course, in this toxic atmosphere, it’s also designed to poll-test well with 2012 voters.

Schumer called for:

“A Highway Bill that will put people back to work building critical infrastructure that is necessary to help our economy compete, for example by making it easier to transport manufactured goods from their plant in Ohio to the port in Washington, or Los Angeles or New York.”

and also:

“A National Infrastructure Bank, which both labor and the Chamber of Commerce have strongly supported, and which would create a platform to leverage private sector investment for projects of national or regional significance.”

Of course neither of those items is new on the Democrats’ wish-list. But Obama and Schumer clearly think that pushing for them on the cusp of an election year will play well with prospective voters. For now, they’re clawing for traction against consistent GOP messaging that out-of-control spending is what got the nation into this debt conundrum to begin with.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the GOP leader, took to the Senate floor Thursday with this: “Who really thinks that the answer to a $1.6 trillion deficit is a second Stimulus, that the answer is more deficit spending? Where in the world did that idea come from?”

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The Takeaway

In Debt Reduction Battle, Where Are the Sacred Cows?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

President Obama spoke to the press on Wednesday in his first press conference in three months. He said that Democrats were willing to make compromises on spending, and pushed Republicans to "take on their sacred cows" and agree to tax increases for higher income earners and corporations. But the real sacred cow might be in his veiled threat to ask Congress to stay in session through their August summer holidays, if need be.

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The Takeaway

Is the US in Denial Over Its Debt?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

With the deadline quickly approaching for Congress to make a decision on whether or not to raise the debt ceiling, President Obama warned that failing to come to a negotiation could significantly impact the nation's economy and investors' confidence in the United States. Beyond that, some experts say Congress's slowness in developing a plan to face the debt crisis may be symbolic of something more—namely that America is in denial over the gravity of its debt problem. 

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