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President Obama

It's A Free Blog

Opinion: Voting in America is a Privilege, Not a Right

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

You need to show ID when you go to the bar. Why not when you go to the polls?

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The Takeaway

Obama to Defend Energy Policies in Four States

Monday, March 19, 2012

Gas prices rose for the ninth straight day Sunday. The average price for a gallon of gasoline is now $3.83 — not that far from July 2008’s record high of $4.11. In fact, gas prices are already more than $4 a gallon in seven states. As gas prices have risen, they’ve also increasingly become a touchy political talking point. This week President Obama is setting off on a four state tour to promote and defend his energy policies. He'll stop in Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, and Oklahoma.

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The Takeaway

President Obama Addresses United Auto Workers

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

As voters in Michigan prepared to head to the ballots Tuesday, President Obama delivered a rousing speech to the United Auto Workers Union in Washington D.C., taking the opportunity to campaign on the success of the auto-bailout. Three years and some $80 billion later, the rescue of Chrysler and GM has remained fresh in the minds of voters in Michigan. However, the significance of the bank and auto bail-outs may mean something else — or perhaps nothing at all — to voters in other parts of the country.

The Takeaway

President Obama Sends 2013 Budget to Congress

Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday morning, President Obama sends Congress his 2013 budget plan. The president’s budget includes stimulus-style spending increases on highway construction projects, schools, and other public works. It also includes increased taxes for wealthy Americans and corporations. What it doesn’t include are significant cuts, and the president already getting push-back from Republicans about his plan. They say it avoids making needed sacrifices and that it doesn’t do enough to curb the deficit or keep the rapid growth of benefit programs like Medicare in check.

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Transportation Nation

Author: The Problem With Solyndra Wasn't the Politics

Friday, February 03, 2012

ProPublica's Michael Grabell speaks with Brian Lehrer on his new book "Monday Well Spent?" analyzing the stimulus bill.

Other insights:  the bill created the tea-party, no one had any idea which projects were stimulus projects, and no one noticed when their teachers weren't fired.

And -- the bill wasn't nearly as effective as it could have been.

Check out the full segment.

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Transportation Nation

President Obama Drops By DC Auto Show, Checks Out Fuel-Efficient Cars

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

President Obama drives a Chevy Volt (2010 White House photo)

President Obama is making it clear he won't miss an opportunity to push the narrative that bailing out Detroit was the right thing to do (particularly since Romney didn't want to.)

The Preisdent walked into the showroom of the 70th annual Washington Auto Show this afternoon, where he inspected about 15 new electric and hybrid models from Ford, Dodge, and GM.

President Obama got inside man of the cars, sitting behind the wheel as he inspected the interiors.

Among the vehicles he viewed were the 2013 Ford C-Max Energi, 2013 Ford Fusion, 2013 Dodge Challenger SRT, 2013 Dodge Dart, 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco and the American Pride Camaro (colorfully decorated with illustrations showing the history of the U.S. military, starting from the Revolutionary War, plus American flags, U.S. presidents and a bald eagle).

After the tour, the President said:  “When you look at all these cars, it is a testimony to the outstanding work that’s been done by workers, American workers, American designers. The U.S. auto industry is back. The fact that GM is back to number one I think shows the kind of turnaround that’s possible when it comes to American manufacturing. It’s good to remember the fact that there were some folks who were willing to let this industry die. Because of folks coming together, we are now back in a place where we can compete with any car company in the world. And these are not only selling here in the United States; they also serve as a platform for us to sell product all around the world. I’m just very proud of what we’re seeing here. That Camaro with the American eagle and the American flag, that helps tell the story. Thank you very much. Keep up the great work.”

Vice President Biden travels to Grand Rapids, Michigan tomorrow to visit the American Seating Company, which makes seats for buses, trains, stadiums, and concert arenas.

Expect to hear a whole lot more of this, this year.

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Schoolbook

Obama Praises Teachers and Calls for Mandatory Attendance

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Should students be required to remain in school until age 18? That was the one concrete proposal for K-12 students in President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech on Tuesday night. The president, who focused his speech on "leveling the playing field" when it comes to taxes and economic policy, also had high praise for teachers and expressed his support for local authority in public education.

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WNYC News

NYT's Joe Nocera Previews the State of the Union Address

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

President Barack Obama is giving his third State of the Union speech Tuesday night where he’s expected to outline his plans for growing the economy, and possibly previewing themes that will come up during his re-election campaign.

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Transportation Nation

INTERACTIVE CHART: From One State of the Union to the Next; A Shift from Building the New to Fixing the Old

Friday, January 20, 2012

President Obama began 2011 arguing in lofty terms for building 21st century infrastructure. He ended it pleading for the maintenance of our 20th century roads and bridges. Transportation Nation analyzed the number of times he mentioned various infrastructure-related words over the course of the year. As the chart shows, he shifted from regularly mentioning ambitious, long term projects like high-speed rail, to calling for repair of our roads and bridges as a means to spur construction jobs.

For a year in review of infrastructure and transportation policy extracted from this data, mouse over the chart month by month. Play with the chart to see how different issues trended over time. Here's the full dataset if you want to make your own charts, just credit us and let us know.

For more news and analysis on the world of transportation and infrastructure follow TransportNation on Twitter, like us on Facebook or subscribe to our RSS feed.

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Transportation Nation

Backers of the Keystone XL Vow To Continue To Push For The Pipeline

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Transcanada's Map of the Proposed Keystone XL Pipeline

(Billings, MT – YPR) – Montana’s Congressional delegation is critical of President Barack  Obama’s decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline. (See a map of proposed pipeline here and here.)

Senator Max Baucus, D-MT, pledged to continue to fight for approval of the pipeline that would cross Montana from the oil tar sand fields in Alberta, Canada to the U-S Gulf Coast. The pipeline was also planned to pick up crude from the Bakken oil fields of Eastern Montana and Western North Dakota.

“There is absolutely no reason we cannot start putting Montanans to work on the Keystone XL pipeline right away,” says Montana’s senior U-S Senator. “We’ve done three years of analysis and worked hard on strict environmental considerations.” Baucus says it’s time to move forward on jobs and energy security, “and I’ll keep fighting tooth and nail until that happens.”

Baucus, a Democrat, was part of the majority that mandated the Obama Administration issue a decision on a permit for Keystone XL pipeline project by the February 21, 2012 deadline.

“I am disappointed by the President’s decision,” says U-S Senator Jon Tester, D-MT. “Just as I have supported Montana’s renewable energy jobs, I have long supported responsibly building this pipeline with the highest safety standards and with respect for private property rights.”

Sandy Barnick is a Montana landowner who would be impacted by the proposed pipeline route. She’s also a member of the Northern Plains Pipeline Landowners Group, an opponent.

“I’m glad to hear the President stood with landowners who knew the impacts on our state from this pipeline have not been adequately analyzed,” Barnick said in a written statement. “The President stood on the side of the people, as opposed to foreign corporations, today. I hope this decision sets a precedent that the impacts from a project must be determined before approval.

TransCanada wants to build the Keystone XL pipeline.

A written statement from the White House said the announcement was “not a judgment on the merits of the pipeline, but the arbitrary nature of a deadline that prevented the State Department from gathering information necessary to approve the project and protect the American people.”

Some Republican members of Congress  are also critical of the President’s decision.

Montana’s lone U-S Representative Denny Rehberg in a written statement says the decision is “shameful.” He says the President put his re-election ahead of jobs for Americans and , “shows just how much of this Administration and its allies have bought into the radical, anti-job agenda of environmental extremists like the League of Conservation Voters.”

U-S Senator Mike Enzi, R-WY, is also critical of the President’s decision, saying creating jobs and getting energy from “our friends should have been an easy decision.”

“In Wyoming, the energy industry has created high-paying jobs that thousands of people rely on,” Enzi says in a written statement. “Putting more than 20,000 people to work across the country is a good thing. Canada is ready to help us lessen our reliance on places like the Middle East and Venezuela for our energy needs. Flipping the XL switch to ‘on’ should have been a no-brainer.”

Last November, the Obama administration put a decision whether to issue a permit on hold, in part to study a new proposed route that would have skirted an environmentally sensitive area in Nebraska.

Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman, a Republican, called lawmakers into special session in November over the issue. Lawmakers passed bills to change the pipeline’s original route.

Senator Max Baucus’ office says the White House “officially rejected the necessary permit today,  but this decision does not preclude the company from reapplying for a permit as soon as this week.”

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Transportation Nation

President Kills Pipeline: Full Statement

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

UPDATED WITH STATE DEPARTMENT RELEASE:

From the White House:

Statement by the President on the Keystone XL Pipeline

Earlier today, I received the Secretary of State’s recommendation on the pending application for the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. As the State Department made clear last month, the rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by Congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment. As a result, the Secretary of State has recommended that the application be denied. And after reviewing the State Department’s report, I agree.

This announcement is not a judgment on the merits of the pipeline, but the arbitrary nature of a deadline that prevented the State Department from gathering the information necessary to approve the project and protect the American people. I’m disappointed that Republicans in Congress forced this decision, but it does not change my Administration’s commitment to American-made energy that creates jobs and reduces our dependence on oil. Under my Administration, domestic oil and natural gas production is up, while imports of foreign oil are down. In the months ahead, we will continue to look for new ways to partner with the oil and gas industry to increase our energy security –including the potential development of an oil pipeline from Cushing, Oklahoma to the Gulf of Mexico – even as we set higher efficiency standards for cars and trucks and invest in alternatives like biofuels and natural gas. And we will do so in a way that benefits American workers and businesses without risking the health and safety of the American people and the environment.

And here's the release by the state department:

Denial of the Keystone XL Pipeline Application

Media Note

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
January 18, 2012

Today, the Department of State recommended to President Obama that the presidential permit for the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline be denied and, that at this time, the TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline be determined not to serve the national interest. The President concurred with the Department’s recommendation, which was predicated on the fact that the Department does not have sufficient time to obtain the information necessary to assess whether the project, in its current state, is in the national interest.

Since 2008, the Department has been conducting a transparent, thorough, and rigorous review of TransCanada’s permit application for the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline project. As a result of this process, particularly given the concentration of concerns regarding the proposed route through the Sand Hills area of Nebraska, on November 10, 2011, the Department announced that it could not make a national interest determination regarding the permit application without additional information. Specifically, the Department called for an assessment of alternative pipeline routes that avoided the uniquely sensitive terrain of the Sand Hills in Nebraska. The Department estimated, based on prior projects of similar length and scope, that it could complete the necessary review to make a decision by the first quarter of 2013. In consultations with the State of Nebraska and TransCanada, they agreed with the estimated timeline.

On December 23, 2011, the Congress passed the Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011 (“the Act”). The Act provides 60 days for the President to determine whether the Keystone XL pipeline is in the national interest – which is insufficient for such a determination.

The Department’s denial of the permit application does not preclude any subsequent permit application or applications for similar projects.

 

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It's A Free Country ®

Obama Calls for Consolidation Authority, Shrinking Government

Friday, January 13, 2012

While Republican presidential candidates continue to call for smaller government and fewer federal agencies, Barack Obama this morning proposed to consolidate six departments focused on business and trade.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: Where Are the Liberals? Here, Here, and Here

Friday, January 13, 2012

Earlier this week, New York Times columnist David Brooks asked, "Where are the liberals?" The short answer is that they are everywhere—pushing solutions, envisioning a stronger America and building a movement.

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It's A Free Country ®

Watch: President Obama Speaks on Government Reform

Friday, January 13, 2012

President Obama is scheduled to give a speech at 11:20 a.m. about shrinking the size of the federal government.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: Why Obama's a Hypocrite on Executive Power

Thursday, January 05, 2012

The Left was right when it railed against President George W. Bush's work to expand executive branch power, and now the Right is correct to be railing against Obama for ignoring constitutional limits as well.

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The Takeaway

An Army Mother on Leaving Iraq

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

In the end, the invasion of Iraq did not find any weapons of mass destruction, nor did it eradicate Al Qaida. The war did, however, topple dictator Saddam Hussein. It also cost hundreds of billions of dollars and went on for years. Now that the last U.S. troops will be quietly departing Iraq between today and the end of the year — President Obama will address soldiers at Fort Bragg Wednesday about the end of the Iraq war and the pullout of combat troops — The Takeaway looks back at the campaign that began with "shock and awe" in 2003 and will end with a "home by christmas" pullout in 2011.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Rep. Garrett: Keystone Pipeline, not Payroll Tax Cut, is Real Job-Creator

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Recap from It's a Free Country.

Welcome to Politics Bites, where every afternoon at It's A Free Country, we bring you the unmissable quotes from the morning's political conversations on WNYC. Today on the Brian Lehrer Show, US Congressman (R-NJ 5th) Scott Garrett discussed unfinished business including the payroll tax holiday and unemployment benefits.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: Obama, Roosevelt, and the Power of Progressivism

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

“Many people will hear the word Progressivism and immediately think of liberals or Democrats—but they’re not synonymous.” - Glenn Beck

I’ve always thought of President Obama as more of a Progressive than a Liberal.  I know, I know.  Labels again.  But sometimes they are helpful. On Tuesday, with his speech in Kansas, harking back 100 years to Theodore Roosevelt, Obama confirmed my suspicions.

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It's A Free Country ®

Five Things We Learned from Obama's Roosevelt Speech

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

More than just another call to extend a payroll tax cut, today's speech from President Obama on the economy gave a broad idea of the kind of campaign he'll run during the general election, and what his policy priorities would be if he won a second term.

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The Takeaway

Political Roundtable: Pennsylvania

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Takeaway kicks off a new series today where we talk with voters from each of the key electoral states to see what the political and economic situation feels like on the ground. We begin in Pennsylvania, where President Obama will be spending the day Wednesday discussing his jobs bill, and garnering the support of his base at the same time. Joining the roundtable discussion are Walt Rowen, owner of Susquehanna Glass Company in Columbia, PA, Randy Robertson, owner and president Triple R. Guitar in Lemoyne, PA and Jackie Magaro, owner and operator of Mr. Sandman, a residential restoration service company.

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