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Dec 09, 2013
Can Democrats Make 2014 About the Minimum Wage?By Beth Reinhard, National Journal
A prominent liberal think tank dubbed it a "political goldmine." The New Republic called it "the issue that could take down Mitch McConnell." The issue is raising the federal minimum wage, and President Obama's sweeping speech on income inequality has thrust it to the center of his party's platform in 2014.
Democrats increasingly view championing the pay of hourly workers as a can't-lose issue that revs up their base of liberal, black, and Hispanic voters. Perhaps more important, it also resonates with the white, blue-collar workers who overwhelmingly side with Republicans.Read more
Obama and the politics of economic inequalityBy Dan Balz, The Washington Post
Weakened by problems with his health-care initiative, President Obama turned back to the economy last week to rebalance his presidency with a speech about income inequality. He said he would devote much of his remaining time in office to the issue, calling it the “defining challenge of our time.” The bigger issue is how much he can or will do about it.Read more
As Obama TurnsBy John Dickerson, Slate Magazine
hen President Obama said this week that ending income inequality was "this generation's task," his aides noted he was consciously echoing themes he'd raised in a speech two years earlier in Osawatomie, Kan. The trail actually goes back even farther than that. The president has given several significant economic speeches since becoming a national politician. The first was a commencement address at Knox College in 2005, five months after he joined the Senate. Two others include a September 2007 speech he gave at Nasdaq and one he gave three years ago Friday at Forsyth Technical Community College.Read more
NSA Defends Global Cellphone Tracking as LegalBy Kimberly Dozier, Associated Press
The National Security Agency on Friday said its tracking of cellphones overseas is legally authorized under a sweeping U.S. presidential order. The distinction means the extraordinary surveillance program is not overseen by a secretive U.S. intelligence court but is regulated by some U.S. lawmakers, Obama administration insiders and inspectors general.Read more
Spies’ Dragnet Reaches a Playing Field of Elves and TrollsBy Mark Mazzetti and Justin Elliot, The New York Times
Not limiting their activities to the earthly realm, American and British spies have infiltrated the fantasy worlds of World of Warcraft and Second Life, conducting surveillance and scooping up data in the online games played by millions of people across the globe, according to newly disclosed classified documents.Read more
John Kerry's high-wire diplomacyBy Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times
Has John F. Kerry turned into the unexpected star of President Obama's second term?
He was Obama's second choice as secretary of State (after Susan Rice). He's the same windy, stiff Bostonian who ran unsuccessfully for president a decade ago. And he's taken on a list of assignments that looked distinctly unpromising: nuclear negotiations with Iran, peace between Israel and the Palestinians, the civil war in Syria.Read more
Dec 06, 2013
Barack Obama Marks 'Fierce Dignity and Unbending Will' of Nelson MandelaBy Mary Bruce and Jeff Zeleny, ABC News
President Obama tonight offered a deeply personal reflection on the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela, a man he described as "one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this Earth."Read more
Obama Praises Mandela as Model of LeadershipBy Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics
President Obama hailed Nelson Mandela, who died Thursday in South Africa at age 95, as a leader who showed uncommon courage and mercy, and set an example for the world.Read more
Obama credits Nelson Mandela with his own political transformationBy Kathleen Hennessey and Christi Parsons, Los Angeles Times
A somber President Obama paid tribute Thursday to the man he credits with his political awakening, saying Nelson Mandela’s dignity and sacrifice “transformed South Africa and moved all of us.”Read more
Possible budget deal would end 'fiscal cliff' cycleBy Susan Davis, USA Today
Congress' top budget negotiators are nearing agreement on a short-term budget deal that could end Washington's cycle of fiscal cliffs, government shutdowns and unpopular across-the-board spending cuts.Read more
What Obama should do if he wants young people to sign up for ObamacareBy Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times
Will young, healthy people sign up for Obamacare?
That may be the single most important question for the success of the new insurance program. If young people sign up, the pool of customers will be relatively healthy and rates may stay reasonable. If they don’t, the pool could include a disproportionate number of sick people running up big bills, leading to potentially crippling rate increases.Read more
Everyone Hates Washington, but Democrats More VulnerableBy Amy Walter, Cook Political Report
If there were a theme for 2014 midterms, it would be "fear and loathing of Washington, D.C."
Congress is as about as popular as gonorrhea. President Obama's approval ratings and personal ratings are at the lowest point of his presidency. Republicans, as well, have seen their favorable ratings hit all-time lows.Read more
Dec 05, 2013
Obama Presses Case for Health Law and Wage IncreaseBy Jackie Calmes, The New York Times
President Obama left the White House on Wednesday for one of the capital’s working-class neighborhoods to talk about the economy, not simply to divert attention from the troubles of his Affordable Care Act but also to explain how that law, for all of its flaws, fits into his vision for Americans’ economic security and upward mobility.Read more
Always Be SellingBy John Dickerson, Slate Magazine
Like all retailers, the president is rolling out a big post-Thanksgiving sale. With the healthcare.gov website up and running on Cyber Monday, he’s launched a three-week campaign to save Obamacare. On Tuesday he began by trying to remarket the product, touting the Affordable Care Act’s broad benefits and reminding people why he went to all this trouble in the first place. “For too long, few things left working families more vulnerable to the anxieties and insecurities of today’s economy than a broken health care system,” Obama said. On Wednesday the president explained how the health care law fit into his effort to resuscitate the American dream for the middle class, a project he's been grinding away with mixed success since his 2007 campaign. Then, at a second Wednesday event, the president attended a White House Youth Summit to make an extended and detailed pitch for how they could help push up health care enrollments. This is part of the nitty-gritty of convincing enough young, healthy Americans to participate in the federal exchanges so that the insurance pools aren't glutted with older, sicker Americans, driving up premiums. No soaring rhetorical heights here; this is the earthbound task of trying to make the law work. On Thursday evening, the president sits down with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews at American University to pitch to that younger audience again.Read more
Report: NSA tracks billions of cellphones dailyBy Kimberly Dozier, Associated Press
The National Security Agency tracks the locations of nearly 5 billion cellphones every day overseas, including those belonging to Americans abroad, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.Read more
Iran's Nuclear Deal Faces Big TestBy Tom Gjelten, NPR
The nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers will face its first test this weekend. Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency are due to make a long-delayed visit to a nuclear site in Iran where plutonium could be produced.Read more
In Obama’s Book List, Glimpses of His JourneyBy Peter Baker, The New York Times
President Obama has never visited the rugged mountains of Chechnya, but if he digs into one of the novels he bought last weekend, “A Constellation of Vital Phenomena,” he will be transported to a land of unremitting violence and tragedy, where the innocent are caught up in war as often as the guilty.Read more
Dec 04, 2013
Obama to Defend Health Law as Economic BenefitBy Jackie Calmes, The New York Times
President Obama leaves the White House on Wednesday for one of the capital’s most struggling neighborhoods to talk about the economy, not simply to divert attention from his troubled Affordable Care Act but to explain how that law, for all of its flaws, fits into his vision for Americans’ economic security and upward mobility.Read more
Obama acts to defend Obamacare and Democrats from GOP attacksBy Christi Parsons and Kathleen Hennessey, Los Angeles Times
Two turbulent months into the launch of the Affordable Care Act's insurance marketplace, President Obama moved to defend the law against Republican attacks Tuesday as the administration tried to deflect attention from the federal website's botched rollout.Read more
For Obama, it's all about ObamacareBy Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times
President Obama's speech Tuesday announced the relaunch of his healthcare program's website. But he was also aiming to relaunch his entire second term, which has careened from high ambition to near-catastrophe in less than 11 months.