History Buzz June 29, 2009: Historian’s Remember Michael Jackson’s Historical Impact

HISTORY BUZZ:

POLITICAL HIGHLIGHTS:

BIGGEST NEWS STORIES:

  • Rock, Pop Historian John Covach Assesses Michael Jackson’s Impact: “Michael Jackson is arguably the most important figure in 1980s popular music…. Younger fans of pop music may have to be reminded how incredibly powerful Michael Jackson’s music was in the 1980s. More than that, Jackson defined “cool” during those years. The single glove, his patented moonwalk step, that slightly rebellious yet gentle demeanor—all this youthful charm slipped away over time, as it does for all of us. But at the height of his powers, Michael Jackson was one of the world’s great entertainers and a pivotal figure in the history of American music. That’s how he should be remembered.” – Rochester University, 6-25-09
  • John Covach “Outpouring over Michael Jackson unlike anything since Princess Di”: “One reason Michael Jackson’s death is having such a wide impact is because his music had such a wide, and even sustained impact,” says John Covach, a music historian at the University of Rochester. “Few artists have so completely saturated the market as Jackson did during the 1980s. It’s comparable to the Beatles in the 60s or Elvis in the 50s. When an artist or performer is so well known and loved, the reaction to his or her passing is bound to be strong and widespread.” “One important difference between Jackson’s career and those of many others is that he was a child star who became an adult star – a very difficult transition to pull off,” says Professor Covach. “Even those who were too young to be fans of Jackson when he was a child have seen the clips of him performing with a mastery far beyond his years. The adult Michael Jackson that fans loved in the 1980s thus already had a bit of history – people felt like they knew him already.” – CS Monitor, 6-29-09

THIS WEEK IN HISTORY:

IN THE NEWS:

  • Niall Ferguson: Economic historian partnering on sequel to best selling strategy game ‘Making History’ – Gamezone.com (6-25-09)
  • Ed Ayers teaching high school teachers about the South: While summer is often believed to be a time of rest and relaxation for K-12 teachers, more than two dozen high school teachers from 20 states will spend next week as students of “The South in American History,” a course taught by University of Richmond president Edward L. Ayers. The course is part of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History…. – Press Release–University of Richmond (6-26-09)
  • American Historical Association: AHA protests Russian attempt to suppress history – AHA website, (6-17-09)
  • National Coalition for History: “Ask Congress to Increase Funding for the Office of Museum Services” Lee White at the website of the National Coalition for History (NCH) (6-24-09)

OP-EDs & BLOGS:

  • Sean Wilentz takes on the new Lincoln establishment: Sean Wilentz in a long article reviewing books about Lincoln – The New Republic, 7-15-09

REVIEWS & FIRST CHAPTERS:

  • Gavin Weightman: The Modernizers THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTIONARIES The Making of the Modern World 1776-1914 NYT, 6-28-09
  • Gavin Weightman: THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTIONARIES The Making of the Modern World 1776-1914, Ecerpt- NYT, 6-28-09
  • Christopher Bigsby: Liked but Not Well Liked ARTHUR MILLER 1915-1962 NYT, 6-28-09
  • Christopher Bigsby: ARTHUR MILLER 1915-1962, First Chapter – NYT, 6-28-09
  • Stephan Talty: HISTORY A Silent Killer THE ILLUSTRIOUS DEAD The Terrifying Story of How Typhus Killed Napoleon’s Greatest Army WaPo, 6-28-09
  • Jackson Lears: Bursting into the Modern Age REBIRTH OF A NATION The Making of Modern America, 1877-1920 WaPo, 6-28-09
  • Nelson Lichtenstein: New Book by UCSB History Scholar Examines Wal-Mart as a Business Model The Retail Revolution: How Wal-Mart Created a Brave New World of Business (Metropolitan Books) – News announcement at the website of USC (6-24-09)

QUOTES:

  • Jeremi Suri “UW-Madison Makes An Unlikely Ally: The Military”: “It really is a group effort to reach out to the military in a way we never have before, at least not in the last 20 to 30 years,” UW-Madison history professor Jeremi Suri said. “We’ve actually in the last few months, out of circumstance, made enormous headway. … We’re getting beyond this really silly notion people have that we’re antimilitary.” – AP, 6-28-09
  • David Eisenbach and David J. Garrow “Why the Gay Rights Movement Has No National Leader”: “The issues of gay rights are mainly state issues, so the focus for activism is going to be on the local level,” said David Eisenbach, a lecturer in history at Columbia University and the author of “Gay Power: An American Revolution.”
    “They see dispersal as a great thing, that it’s better not to have a concentration or too much attention overinvested in one individual,” said David J. Garrow, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian who has written about the civil rights and women’s rights movements. “The speed and breadth of change has been just breathtaking,” he added. “But it’s happened without a Martin Luther King.” – NYT, 6-21-09

PROFILES & FEATURES:

  • Kira Gale: Lewis and Clark in murder mystery 200 years after their final expedition: Meriwether Lewis, one half of the Lewis and Clark explorer duo who first reached the Pacific by land, may have been murdered, say descendants who want his body exhumed.
    Historian Kira Gale, co-author of a new book The Death of Meriwether Lewis, with Professor James Starrs, a forensic pathologist at George Washington University, said: “It’s a tangled web of politics, conspiracies and expansionism.” – Telegraph, UK, 6-29-09
  • Historians’ Advice for Dick Cheney on Writing His Memoirs: Former Vice President Dick Cheney has just signed a deal for his memoirs, reportedly worth around $2 million. President Bush, Laura Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Karl Rove, Condoleezza Rice and Henry Paulson are also busy writing their takes on their roles in history. The political memoir, either as a summation of the author’s importance or payback to antagonists, has long been seen as a transition back to private life. – NYT (6-27-09)
  • Meet Britain’s young new historians: …They have been an actor, an artist and a TV presenter, are aged between 25 and 35 and they all have book contracts. One wrote his account of the year 1381 in a corner of the trendy London members’ club, Soho House, during leave from his day job at a men’s magazine. And rather than being looked down upon by the old guard, they are highly regarded by the academic establishment: David Starkey is considered a mentor by two of them; Simon Sebag Montefiore by others…. – Oliver Marre in the Guardian (6-28-09)

INTERVIEWS:

  • Wright’s Legacy at Dartmouth College: “No one in my family had gone to college,” Wright said. “And I had never taken it seriously… going into the Marines after high school was one way of delaying going into the mines or working for John Deere or the Kraft cheese plant.”… “I’m a student of history… American history,” Wright said. “I think I’ve had a fascination with history even when I was in elementary school. I recall loving history and reading history texts and there was a story which I found fascinating and enjoyable and I just liked to read history.”… – WCAX, 6-29-09
  • Simon Schama: My Secret Life: Simon Schama, historian, 64 Interview in the Independent (UK) (6-27-09)

HONORS, AWARDED &APPOINTED:

ANNOUNCEMENTS & SPOTTED:

EVENTS CALENDAR:

  • W.Va. Civil War group debuts at Harpers Ferry Sesquicentennial of John Brown’s Raid kicks off – Journal News, 6-26-09
  • August 1, 2009: An Evening with Ken Burns: Kens Burns has been making documentary films for more than 30 years. Since the Academy Award-nominated Brooklyn Bridge in 1981, he has gone on to direct and produce some of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made. The late historian Stephen Ambrose said of Burns’ films, “More Americans get their history from Ken Burns than any other source.” This evening will afford Chautauqua an opportunity to hear one of the most influential documentary makers of all time. Chautauqua Institutition. For more info 716-357-6200. – Jamestown Post-Journal, 5-21-09

ON TV:

  • Niall Ferguson: The Ascent of Money Brings The Economic Crisis Down to Earth on PBS each Wednesday in July – About.com, 6-29-09
  • ‘History Detectives’ focus on Oak Ridge: Oak Ridge and Knoxville will be in the television spotlight over the next two weeks as PBS’ “History Detectives” investigate the historical significance of two mysterious letters contributed by area residents. Cast members of the television show, “History Detectives,” delve into the “Manhattan Project Patent.” – Oak Ridger, 6-29-09
  • BBC to launch new series on history of Christianity – Religious Intelligence, 6-19-09
  • C-SPAN2: BOOK TV Weekend Schedule
  • PBS History Detectives: Mondays at 9pm
  • History Channel: Weekly Schedule
  • History Channel: “Secrets of the Founding Fathers” – Monday, June 29, 2009 at 8pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “How Bruce Lee Changed the World” – Tuesday, June 23, 2009 at 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Comic Book Superheroes Unmasked ” – Tuesday, June 23, 2009 at 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Life After People” Marathon – Tuesday, June 30, 2009 at 8-10pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Underwater Universe” – Wednesday, June 24, 2009 at 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Band Of Brothers” Marathon – Wednesday, July 1, 2009 at 3-7pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Ben Franklin” – Thursday, July 2, 2009 at 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Stealing Lincoln’s Body” – Thursday, July 2, 2009 at 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Kennedy Assassination: Beyond Conspiracy” – Friday, July 3, 2009 at 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Lincoln Assassination” – Friday, July 3, 2009 at 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Secrets of the Founding Fathers” – Friday, July 3, 2009 at 8pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Secret Societies” – Friday, July 3, 2009 at 10pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Seven Signs of the Apocalypse” – Saturday, June 27, 2009 at 12pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Presidents” Marathon – Saturday, July 4, 2009 at 8-12pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Revolution” Marathon – Saturday, July 4, 2009 at 8am-5pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Mysteries of the Freemasons” – Saturday, July 4, 2009 at 6pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Presidents” Marathon – Saturday, July 4, 2009 at 8-12pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Crime Wave: 18 Months of Mayhem” – Monday, July 6, 2009 at 8pm ET/PT

BEST SELLERS (NYT):

COMING SOON BOOKS:

  • Douglas Brinkley, Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America, 1858-1919, June 30, 2009
  • Caroline Moorehead: Dancing to the Precipice: The Life of Lucie de la Tour du Pin, Eyewitness to an Era, June 30, 2009
  • Michael McMenamin: Becoming Winston Churchill: The Untold Story of Young Winston and His American Mentor, July 1, 2009
  • Elinor Burkett: Golda (Reprint), July 1, 2009
  • Mike Evans (Editor): Woodstock: Three Days That Rocked the World, July 7, 2009
  • Roger S. Bagnall: Oxford Handbook of Papyrology, July 14, 2009
  • David Maraniss: Rome 1960: The Summer Olympics That Stirred the World (Reprint), July 14, 2009
  • Buzz Aldrin: Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon, July 23, 2009
  • Alice Morse Earle: Child Life in Colonial Times (Paperback), July 23, 2009
  • William A. DeGregorio: The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents, Seventh Edition, August 15, 2009
  • Douglas Hunter: Half Moon: Henry Hudson and the Voyage That Redrew the Map of the New World, September 1, 2009
  • Annette Gordon-Reed: The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family (Paperback), September 8, 2009
  • Jon Krakauer: Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman, September 15, 2009

DEPARTED:

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President Obama’s Press Conference & ABC Town Hall Special on Health Care Reform

THE OBAMA PRESIDENCY:

Barack Obama press briefing

Brendan Smialowski for The New York Times President Obama responded to questions about the economy, health care, and protests in Iran on Tuesday.

IN FOCUS: STATS

In Focus: Stats

  • Obama pushes the limits of media exposure: The Obama administration is responding to unfavorable trends in public opinion polls by intensifying its message discipline and seizing as many opportunities for publicity as the schedule allows. President Barack Obama on Wednesday taped a series of exclusive interviews for different ABC News platforms, all highlighting health care reform — a day after a major news conference also addressed health care. Although 72 percent in a recent CBS News/New York Times poll said they supported health care reform, three different polls have shown support waning for Obama’s fiscal policies. The administration is not taking any chances on losing the health care fight.
    Obama’s ABC News tour — derided by critics such as the Cato Institute as an “infomercial” — follows a two-day CBS News project highlighting his family on Father’s Day, with a follow-up interview about his presidency…. – Washington Examiner, 6-24-09
  • Live Blogging the Obama News Conference – NYT, 6-23-09
  • President Barack Obama’s poll numbers start to wilt: The good news for Obama is that his approval ratings — 57 percent in a Gallup tracking poll over the weekend — remain comfortably high by historical standards for presidents. Obama’s approval rating has dipped below 60 percent on other occasions, according to Gallup, but though those slumps lasted only a day, this one appears to be more persistent…. – Politico, 6-22-09

THE HEADLINES….

The Headlines…

  • Obama steps up push for healthcare reform this year: President Barack Obama stepped up pressure on Congress on Wednesday to pass healthcare reform this year, staging a daylong media blitz that ended with a televised town hall-style meeting at the White House to rally public support… “This is one of those moments where the stars are aligned. We’ve got insurers who are interested and doctors who are interested, nurses, patients,” Obama told an ABC TV audience gathered in the chandelier-lit East Room of the White House. “It’s not going to be a completely smooth ride,” he said during the question-and-answer session. “But if we keep our eye on the prize … then I’m absolutely convinced that we can get it done this time.””Obama says public option, he means government-run health care,” Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said in a statement. “Without question, the government takeover of healthcare will diminish individual freedom and quality in our health care system.” Reuters, 6-24-09
  • Obama Sees Health-Care Overhaul as ‘Uniquely American’ Blend: President Barack Obama defended government involvement in the U.S. health-care system and said an overhaul should meld the best from the public and private sectors. Obama answered questions at a town hall-style event at the White House arranged by ABC News. The network said the audience of 164 people included supporters of the president’s plan as well as skeptics. It was recorded for broadcast last night…. “We need to come up with something that is uniquely American,” Obama said during last night’s event. “If we are smart we should be able to design a system in which people still have choices” and receive “necessary treatment” without waste…. – Bloomberg, 6-24-09
  • Obama leaves door open to tax on health benefits: President Barack Obama left the door open to a new tax on health care benefits Wednesday, and officials said top lawmakers and the White House were seeking $150 billion in concessions from the nation’s hospitals as they sought support for legislation struggling to emerge in Congress. “I don’t want to prejudge what they’re doing,” the president said, referring to proposals in the Senate to tax workers who get expensive insurance policies. Obama, who campaigned against the tax when he ran for president, drew a quick rebuff from organized labor…. If “it’s my family member, if it’s my wife, if it’s my children, if it’s my grandmother, I always want them to get the very best care,” Obama said…. – AP, 6-24-09
  • House passes $44B Homeland Security spending bill: The House passed a $44 billion spending bill Wednesday that awards the Homeland Security Department a 7 percent budget increase, with money for more border patrol agents and for anti-piracy efforts off the coast of Somalia…. – AP, 6-24-09
  • Obama signs $106 billion bill for Iraq, Afghan wars: President Barack Obama on Wednesday signed into law a $106 billion measure to fulfill his plans to wind down the war in Iraq and ramp up operations in Afghanistan where fighting against militants is intensifying…. – Reuters, 6-24-09
  • Obama extends sanctions on NKorea: US President Barack Obama on Wednesday extended a set of economic sanctions on North Korea for another year as tension soars with the communist state over its nuclear and missile programs. Obama, using emergency powers, prolonged by one year restrictions on property dealings with North Korea that had been due to expire on Friday…. AFP, 6-24-09
  • Rudy Giuliani calls Albany ‘bizarre,’ as GOP presses him to run for governor: Likening Albany to “a stand-off at the O.K. Corral,” Rudy Giuliani galloped into town Wednesday with a plan to impose order – and maybe even boost his potential gubernatorial bid. The former mayor proposed a constitutional convention to institute term limits on lawmakers, toughen campaign finance laws and push through a host of other reforms in gridlocked Albany, a place he termed “bizarre.”
    “This was always a broken state government,” Giuliani told reporters in a conference call. “Now it has collapsed, it has virtually collapsed.” “I am hoping that, in essence, that the trauma of what is being displayed now in Albany will lead to a populist base of support \[for a convention\],” he added. “This is done really out of frustration as a New Yorker,” he insisted. State Republicans have been pressuring Giuliani for months to run for governor next year, and his proposals Wednesday could certainly help to position him as a reformist eager to fix what ails the state’s capitol…. – NY Daily News, 6-24-09
  • President Obama’s health-care reforms shaky with Democrats, GOP: Senate Democrats say President Obama doesn’t have the votes yet to pass health-care reform. “I don’t know that [Obama] has the votes right now. I think there’s a lot of concern in the Democratic caucus,” Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” show. Like New York, California is concerned Obama will cover costs in part by reducing Medicaid and Medicare payments that help support hospitals and the public health system. “If you change the Medicaid rate, for example, it has an impact on California between $1billion and $5 billion a year,” Feinstein said. “Now, how could I support that?”… – NY Daily News, 6-24-09
  • Obama: Doctor-choice is vital to health care plan: President Barack Obama says Americans will still be able to choose their doctors under the health care changes he is seeking. The president met Wednesday at the White House with five governors to discuss their views on revamping the nation’s health care system…. – AP, 6-24-09
  • Wandering SC governor admits straying: After going AWOL for seven days, Gov. Mark Sanford admitted Wednesday that he had secretly flown to Argentina to visit a woman with whom he was having an affair. Wiping away tears, he apologized to his wife and four sons and said he will resign as head of the Republican Governors Association. “I’ve been unfaithful to my wife,” he said in a news conference in which the 49-year-old governor ruminated aloud on God’s law, moral absolutes and following one’s heart. He said he spent the last five days “crying in Argentina.”… AP, 6-24-09
  • Weird politics: Hold on, did he just say that? – AP, 6-24-09
  • Obama urges fast work on climate-change bill: President Barack Obama on Tuesday pressed Congress to quickly pass broad energy and climate change legislation as lawmakers reached a compromise that could improve the odds of passage later this week. During his fourth news conference since taking office, the president described the climate change measure as “extraordinarily important for our country. … I urge members of the House to come together and pass it.”… – Houston Chronicle, 6-23-09
  • Iran, healthcare reform highlight Obama press conference: US President Barack Obama was Tuesday braced for questions on Iran’s deepening political showdown, North Korea’s belligerence and his sweeping domestic agenda at a White House news conference…. With pundits predicting Obama’s political honeymoon will soon cede to a tough slog to enact key reforms like healthcare and financial regulation, Obama will be looking for a swift jolt of political momentum. He had been due to step up to the podium in the White House Rose Garden at 12:30 (16:30 GMT) but amid sultry midsummer heat in Washington, aides switched the event to the presidential mansion’s cramped press briefing room…. – AFP, 6-23-09
  • Huckabee endorses Rubio for Fla. Senate seat: Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is endorsing Marco Rubio for Florida’s U.S. Senate seat. He called Rubio an “energetic, articulate, principled conservative.” He also said the 38-year-old former Florida House Speaker has an unlimited future. Huckabee said that could work in Rubio’s favor, saying, “The last thing most people in any state want is someone who is going to be a member of the club.” – AP, 6-23-09
  • Court upholds a voting rights measure by sidestepping issue: The Supreme Court on Monday left intact one of the signature legacies of the civil rights movement, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The court, in an 8-1 decision, ducked the central question in a case that was the most closely watched of the term. Most election law specialists had expected the court to rule on whether a core provision of the law was constitutional, and many of them were betting the answer would be no…. – NYT, 6-22-09
  • Democrats getting bolder on gov’t insurance plan: Democrats are becoming bolder about their idea that middle-class familes get the option of joining a government insurance plan in any overhaul of the health care system. Their fervor carries a risk. Liberals, citing polls that show support for a public plan, say they are increasingly frustrated with negotiations to make the idea more palatable to Republicans. Moderates, however, warn that abandoning the talks could jeopardize efforts to draft a bill that can pass a closely divided Senate…. – AP, 6-22-09
  • Health-Care Reform Will Test Obama’s Resolve: As the legislative debate over health care intensifies on Capitol Hill, there is growing clamor for President Obama to step in. White House officials believe it’s wiser to wait, but at some point the president will have to make clear what he’ll accept and what he won’t. For Obama, a handful of big decisions awaits. They include cost and coverage, revenue and savings, a public option or not, and the cost vs. the desirability of bipartisan agreement. Those decisions, all inextricably linked, probably will determine whether he succeeds where other presidents have failed… – WaPo, 6-21-09
  • Obama may need firmer hand on health care debate: President Barack Obama is seeing the downside of his light touch on revamping the nation’s health care system. Congressional Democrats are off to a halting start, blindsided by a high cost estimate and divided over how to proceed. The confusion has emboldened Republican critics of the administration’s approach to its top domestic priority. While too early to rule out eventual success, it seems Obama will have to be more forceful and hands-on…. – AP, 6-21-09

POLITICAL QUOTES

Political Quotes

  • The President & Health Care Reform – Prime Time TV: White House, 6-24-09
  • Obama takes health care debate to the airwaves: President Barack Obama on Wednesday intensified his campaign to overhaul the nation’s health care system, as polls show Americans wanting but fearing change and as a divided Congress grapples over what to do. In an unusual exclusive arrangement with ABC News that drew the ire of many Republicans, Obama planned to tape a health care town hall meeting at the White House that the network would air at 10 p.m. EDT. Appearing earlier Wednesday on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Obama said he “absolutely” expects Congress to pass comprehensive health care legislation by year’s end…. “There’s no perfect unanimity across the table in terms of every single aspect of reform,” the president said in remarks after their meeting. “I think everybody here wants to make sure that governors have flexibility, that they have input into how legislation is being shaped on the Hill.” – Miami Herald, 6-24-09
  • First Lady Talks About Health Care: “The country has moved to another point in time,” Mrs. Obama said in an interview broadcast on “Good Morning America,” the ABC morning news program. “More and more people are ready for this kind of reform.” “There are going to be tough choices that have to be made and no system is going to be perfect,” Mrs. Obama said. “Which is why my side of the equation, the wellness side, is one of the true keys.” “What we need to do in this country isn’t transformational, it’s really walking 30 minutes a day, maybe five days a week, and starting with your kids on a different sets of habits,” Mrs. Obama said. “Those things will eliminate obesity and cut down on costs. I mean we’re spending about $120 billion additional dollars a year in our health care system as a result of these sort of chronic illnesses that you see that are connected to obesity.” – NYT, 6-24-09
  • REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT AFTER MEETING WITH GOVERNORS GRANHOLM, DOUGLAS, DOYLE, ROUNDS AND GREGOIRE TO DISCUSS HEALTH CARE Roosevelt Room: THE PRESIDENT: …And so they’ve reported back to me. There’s no perfect unanimity across the table in terms of every single aspect of reform. I think everybody here wants to make sure that governors have flexibility, that they have input into how legislation is being shaped on the Hill. But they have done my administration and I think the American people a terrific service in bringing some of these individual stories to us. And we’re committed to working with them in the weeks and months to come to make sure that when we get health reform done, it is in partnership with the states where the rubber so often hits the road.
    And one of the advantages they have, as Joe Biden put it, they’ve planted a mole inside our administration. (Laughter.) Kathleen Sebelius, very recently a governor, knows exactly what all of them are struggling with, and she and Nancy-Ann are going to be interacting with them on a regular basis as we move this agenda forward.
    So I want to thank them publicly. And I look forward to working with them to get this done for the American people and for the people of their respective states in the weeks to come. Thank you.

    Q Is there any give in your deadline, Mr. President? THE PRESIDENT: We need to get it done.
    Q This year? THE PRESIDENT: We need to get it done this year…. – White House, 6-24-09

  • The President’s Opening Remarks on Iran: First, I’d like to say a few words about the situation in Iran. The United States and the international community have been appalled and outraged by the threats, the beatings, and imprisonments of the last few days. I strongly condemn these unjust actions, and I join with the American people in mourning each and every innocent life that is lost.
    I’ve made it clear that the United States respects the sovereignty of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and is not interfering with Iran’s affairs. But we must also bear witness to the courage and the dignity of the Iranian people, and to a remarkable opening within Iranian society. And we deplore the violence against innocent civilians anywhere that it takes place.
    The Iranian people are trying to have a debate about their future. Some in Iran — some in the Iranian government, in particular, are trying to avoid that debate by accusing the United States and others in the West of instigating protests over the election. These accusations are patently false. They’re an obvious attempt to distract people from what is truly taking place within Iran’s borders. This tired strategy of using old tensions to scapegoat other countries won’t work anymore in Iran. This is not about the United States or the West; this is about the people of Iran, and the future that they — and only they — will choose…. – White House, 6-23-09
  • Obama condemns violence against Iran protesters: Dramatically hardening the U.S. reaction to Iran’s disputed elections and bloody aftermath, President Barack Obama condemned the violence against protesters Tuesday and lent his strongest support yet to their accusations the hardline victory was a fraud….
    He suggested Iran’s leaders will face consequences if they continue “the threats, the beatings and imprisonments” against protesters… “We don’t know yet how this thing is going to play out,” the president said. “It is not too late for the Iranian government to recognize that there is a peaceful path that will lead to stability and legitimacy and prosperity for the Iranian people. We hope they take it.” “No iron fist is strong enough to shut off the world from bearing witness to peaceful protests of justice,” he said during a nearly hourlong White House news conference dominated by the unrest in Iran. “Those who stand up for justice are always on the right side of history.”…. – AP, 6-23-09
  • PRESS CONFERENCE BY THE PRESIDENT James S. Brady Press Briefing Room: Right now, Congress is debating various health care reform proposals. This is obviously a complicated issue, but I am very optimistic about the progress that they’re making.
    Like energy, this is legislation that must and will be paid for. It will not add to our deficits over the next decade. We will find the money through savings and efficiencies within the health care system — some of which we’ve already announced.
    We will also ensure that the reform we pass brings down the crushing cost of health care. We simply can’t have a system where we throw good money after bad habits. We need to control the skyrocketing costs that are driving families, businesses, and our government into greater and greater debt.
    There’s no doubt that we must preserve what’s best about our health care system, and that means allowing Americans who like their doctors and their health care plans to keep them. But unless we fix what’s broken in our current system, everyone’s health care will be in jeopardy. Unless we act, premiums will climb higher, benefits will erode further, and the rolls of the uninsured will swell to include millions more Americans. Unless we act, one out of every five dollars that we earn will be spent on health care within a decade. And the amount our government spends on Medicare and Medicaid will eventually grow larger than what our government spends on everything else today.
    When it comes to health care, the status quo is unsustainable and unacceptable. So reform is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. And I hope that Congress will continue to make significant progress on this issue in the weeks ahead…. – White House, 6-23-09
  • Obama takes on insurers over gov’t plan: President Barack Obama on Tuesday squared off with the insurance lobby over industry charges that a government health plan he backs would dismantle the employer coverage Americans have relied on for a half-century and overtake the system….
    “If private insurers say that the marketplace provides the best quality health care … then why is it that the government, which they say can’t run anything, suddenly is going to drive them out of business?” Obama said in response to a question at a White House news conference. “That’s not logical,” he scoffed, responding to an industry warning that government competition would destabilize the employer system that now covers more than 160 million people. – AP, 6-23-09
  • Analysis: Obama rebukes insurance critics, GOP: Even for a Democratic president, Barack Obama’s challenge to health insurance companies and free market principles Tuesday was unusually pointed. “We have not drawn lines in the sand,” Obama said at a White House news conference…. “The public plan, I think, is an important tool to discipline insurance companies,” he said. “Too often, insurance companies have been spending more time thinking about how to take premiums and then avoid providing people coverage than they have been thinking about ‘How can we make sure that insurance is there, health care is there, when families need it?'” With those caveats, he said, private insurers “should be able to compete.” If the government-run program “is able to reduce administrative costs significantly, then you know what, I’d like the insurance companies to take note and say, ‘Hey, if the public plan can do that, why can’t we?'”
    “Why would it drive private insurance out of business?” he said of the proposed public option. If private insurers “tell us that they’re offering a good deal, then why is it that the government, which they say can’t run anything, suddenly is going to drive them out of business? That’s not logical.”
    He went so far as to suggest that Americans don’t know their own minds when they praise their insurance providers. Some polls show that up to 80 percent of people “are satisfied with the health insurance that they currently have,” Obama said. “The only problem is that premiums have been doubling every nine years, going up three times faster than wages.”
    “Right now,” Obama said at the news conference, “I will say that our position is that a public plan makes sense.” – AP, 6-23-09
  • REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT AT THE SIGNING OF THE FAMILY SMOKING PREVENTION AND TOBACCO CONTROL ACT Rose Garden: I know — I was one of these teenagers, and so I know how difficult it can be to break this habit when it’s been with you for a long time. And I also know that kids today don’t just start smoking for no reason. They’re aggressively targeted as customers by the tobacco industry. They’re exposed to a constant and insidious barrage of advertising where they live, where they learn, and where they play. Most insidiously, they are offered products with flavorings that mask the taste of tobacco and make it even more tempting.
    We’ve known about this for decades, but despite the best efforts and good progress made by so many leaders and advocates with us today, the tobacco industry and its special interest lobbying have generally won the day up on the Hill. When Henry Waxman first brought tobacco CEOs before Congress in 1994, they famously denied that tobacco was deadly, nicotine was addictive, or that their companies marketed to children. And they spent millions upon millions in lobbying and advertising to fight back every attempt to expose these denials as lies.
    Fifteen years later, their campaign has finally failed. Today, thanks to the work of Democrats and Republicans, health care and consumer advocates, the decades-long effort to protect our children from the harmful effects of tobacco has emerged victorious. Today, change has come to Washington.
    This legislation will not ban all tobacco products, and it will allow adults to make their own choices. But it will also ban tobacco advertising within a thousand feet of schools and playgrounds. It will curb the ability of tobacco companies to market products to our children by using appealing flavors. It will force these companies to more clearly and publicly acknowledge the harmful and deadly effects of the products they sell. And it will allow the scientists at the FDA to take other common-sense steps to reduce the harmful effects of smoking.
    This legislation is a victory for bipartisanship, and it was passed overwhelmingly in both Houses of Congress. It’s a victory for health care reform, as it will reduce some of the billions we spend on tobacco-related health care costs in this country. It’s a law that will reduce the number of American children who pick up a cigarette and become adult smokers. And most importantly, it is a law that will save American lives and make Americans healthier…. – White House, 6-22-09
  • Obama, citing his smoking woes, signs tobacco law: Lamenting his first teenage cigarette, President Barack Obama ruefully admitted on Monday that he’s spent his adult life fighting the habit. Then he signed the nation’s toughest anti-smoking law, aiming to keep thousands of other teens from getting hooked…. “I know. I was one of these teenagers,” he said. “And so I know how difficult it can be to break this habit when it’s been with you for a long time.” – AP, 6-22-09
  • REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT ON THE MEDICARE PART D “DOUGHNUT HOLE” AND AARP ENDORSEMENT Diplomatic Reception Room: So as part of the health care reform I expect Congress to enact this year, Medicare beneficiaries whose spending falls within this gap will now receive a discount on prescription drugs of at least 50 percent from the negotiated price their plan pays. It’s a reform that will make prescription drugs more affordable for millions of seniors, and restore a measure of fairness to Medicare Part D. It’s a reflection of the importance of this single step for America’s seniors that it has earned the support of AARP, which has been fighting for years to address this anomaly in the system on behalf of older Americans. AARP is committed, as I am, to achieving health care reform by the end of this year. And I’m committed to continuing to work with AARP to ensure that any reforms we pursue are carried out in a way that protects America’s seniors, who know as well as anyone what’s wrong with our health care system and why it’s badly in need of reform.
    Our goal — our imperative — is to reduce the punishing inflation in health care costs while improving patient care. And to do that we’re going to have to work together to root out waste and inefficiencies that may pad the bottom line of the insurance industry, but add nothing to the health of our nation. To that end, the pharmaceutical industry has committed to reduce its draw on the health care system by $80 billion over the next 10 years as part of overall health care reform. … – White House, 6-22-09
  • HISTORIANS’ COMMENTS

    Historians’ Comments

    • Julian Zelizer “Obama to Appeal to Public on Health Care as Senate Struggles”: “Clearly, the optimism of health-care proponents was off the mark,” said Julian Zelizer, a history and public affairs professor at Princeton University in New Jersey. Zelizer said Obama faces many of the issues that killed a similar effort in 1993 by President Bill Clinton. “Does it mean defeat? Not at all. But the next few months remain a huge challenge.” – Bloomberg, 6-24-09
    • Julian E. Zelizer: Commentary: Is Obama’s honeymoon over?: June has been rough for President Obama. After experiencing enormous success during his first months in office, some of his political vulnerabilities have started to emerge. As Republicans begin to think about the 2010 midterm elections and moderate Democrats decide how they should vote on Obama’s most ambitious initiative, health care, the White House must prevent these weaknesses from becoming debilitating….
      But in recent weeks a candidate who was once seen as invincible is now seen as potentially vulnerable. This is when the sharks start to circle in American politics. The revelation of weakness gives Republicans, as well as unhappy Democrats, more confidence to challenge the White House. This is not what the president wanted right as he is trying to win support for his health care proposal and the rest of his budget. If the problems are not contained, they can also become the foundation for the Republican campaign for Congress in 2010. – CNN, 6-23-09

    June 22, 2009: President Obama’s Health Care Reform in Trouble? Poll Numbers Sliding

    THE OBAMA PRESIDENCY:

    President Obama gives remarks to the Esperanza National Prayer Breakfast

    (President Barack Obama gives remarks to the Esperanza National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C.,  Friday, June 19, 2009. Official White House Photographer Samantha Appleton.)

    IN FOCUS: STATS

    In Focus: Stats

    • President Barack Obama’s poll numbers start to wilt: The good news for Obama is that his approval ratings — 57 percent in a Gallup tracking poll over the weekend — remain comfortably high by historical standards for presidents. Obama’s approval rating has dipped below 60 percent on other occasions, according to Gallup, but though those slumps lasted only a day, this one appears to be more persistent…. – Politico, 6-22-09
    • In Poll, Wide Support for Government-Run Health: Americans overwhelmingly support substantial changes to the health care system and are strongly behind one of the most contentious proposals Congress is considering, a government-run insurance plan to compete with private insurers, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll….
      Yet the survey also revealed considerable unease about the impact of heightened government involvement, on both the economy and the quality of the respondents’ own medical care. While 85 percent of respondents said the health care system needed to be fundamentally changed or completely rebuilt, 77 percent said they were very or somewhat satisfied with the quality of their own care…. – NYT, 6-20-09
    • Obama change message resonates, poll finds: The Zogby-Scoop44 poll found nearly two-thirds of voters under 30 polled said Obama’s change message has matched his work in the White House, and among those 18-24, 70 percent said they believed this.
      Among voters over 30, slightly more than one in four said they don’t believe Obama’s campaign promises translated into action in office, the poll found. Only 18 percent of those younger than 30 and 5 percent of 18-to-24-year-olds said they shared that view.
      The poll found 43 percent of Republicans said they believe Obama’s actions are in keeping with his promised change. – UPI, 6-19-09
    • Analysis: Deficit could be chink in Obama’s armor: The nonpartisan Pew Research Center reported Thursday that a majority of Americans — 55 percent — are optimistic that Obama will eventually reduce the budget deficit. But that’s a smaller slice than the 61 percent of people who approve of him generally.
      And according to a new New York Times/CBS News poll, 60 percent of Americans don’t believe the president has a strategy for dealing with the deficit. Also, 58 percent in an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll want Obama to make controlling the deficit a higher priority than a speedy economic recovery. And, nearly half expressed a “great deal” of concern about the increase of government intervention in American life that Obama has overseen, from taking over companies to influencing corporate bonuses and seeking to add government-sponsored insurance to the health care system…. – AP, 6-19-09
    • ABC News to air Obama interview on health care: ABC News will present a prime-time interview with President Barack Obama on health care issues next week. The special will air June 24 at 10 p.m. Eastern, on two-hour tape delay. Charles Gibson and Diane Sawyer will moderate the White House discussion with a live audience, also taking questions submitted by viewers. After a break for local news, the discussion will continue on “Nightline.” That morning, Sawyer will interview Obama for “Good Morning America.” Gibson will anchor that evening’s edition of “World News” from the White House Blue Room…. – AP, 6-15-09

    THE HEADLINES….

    The President announces the agreement
    (President Barack Obama speaks about the agreement to lower drug costs for seniors, Monday, June 22, 2009,
    in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House.   With the President are, from left,  CEO of AARP Barry Rand, Senator Max Bachaus (D-MT) and Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT). Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

    The Headlines…

    • Court upholds a voting rights measure by sidestepping issue: The Supreme Court on Monday left intact one of the signature legacies of the civil rights movement, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The court, in an 8-1 decision, ducked the central question in a case that was the most closely watched of the term. Most election law specialists had expected the court to rule on whether a core provision of the law was constitutional, and many of them were betting the answer would be no…. – NYT, 6-22-09
    • He’s out: LA mayor sidesteps 2010 governor’s race: Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced Monday he will not enter next year’s race for California governor, ending months of speculation about his ambitions and reordering the emerging contest to run the deeply troubled state. The 56-year-old mayor, once widely seen as a rising Democratic star, said months ago he would consider jumping into the 2010 campaign to replace Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican prevented by law from seeking a third consecutive term…. – AP, 6-22-09
    • Democrats getting bolder on gov’t insurance plan: Democrats are becoming bolder about their idea that middle-class familes get the option of joining a government insurance plan in any overhaul of the health care system. Their fervor carries a risk. Liberals, citing polls that show support for a public plan, say they are increasingly frustrated with negotiations to make the idea more palatable to Republicans. Moderates, however, warn that abandoning the talks could jeopardize efforts to draft a bill that can pass a closely divided Senate…. – AP, 6-22-09
    • Health-Care Reform Will Test Obama’s Resolve: As the legislative debate over health care intensifies on Capitol Hill, there is growing clamor for President Obama to step in. White House officials believe it’s wiser to wait, but at some point the president will have to make clear what he’ll accept and what he won’t. For Obama, a handful of big decisions awaits. They include cost and coverage, revenue and savings, a public option or not, and the cost vs. the desirability of bipartisan agreement. Those decisions, all inextricably linked, probably will determine whether he succeeds where other presidents have failed… – WaPo, 6-21-09
    • Obama may need firmer hand on health care debate: President Barack Obama is seeing the downside of his light touch on revamping the nation’s health care system. Congressional Democrats are off to a halting start, blindsided by a high cost estimate and divided over how to proceed. The confusion has emboldened Republican critics of the administration’s approach to its top domestic priority. While too early to rule out eventual success, it seems Obama will have to be more forceful and hands-on…. – AP, 6-21-09
    • Obama’s own party worried health plan lacks votes: A Republican senator seeking a bipartisan health deal spoke Sunday of “dialing down” expectations while one of President Barack Obama’s Democratic allies questioned whether the White House had the votes necessary for a such a costly and comprehensive plan during a recession. Obama’s proposal to provide health insurance for some 50 million Americans who lack it has become a contentious point for a Democratic-controlled House and Senate struggling to reach a consensus Obama desperately wants…. – AP, 6-21-09
    • Baucus, White House in deal with drug industry: The pharmaceutical industry agreed Saturday to spend $80 billion over the next decade improving drug benefits for seniors on Medicare and defraying the cost of President Barack Obama’s health care legislation, capping secretive negotiations involving key lawmakers and the White House. “This new coverage means affordable prices on prescription drugs when Medicare benefits don’t cover the cost of prescriptions,” Sen. Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said in a statement announcing the accord…. – AP, 6-21-09
    • Democrats fear Obama health care plan ‘on the rocks’: Several senior Democratic advisers to the White House are urging President Obama to further step up his personal involvement in the health care debate, as administration allies privately warn the president’s push for a major reform bill is hitting major roadblocks at a critical juncture on Capitol Hill…. – CNN, 6-19-09
    • GOP Complains About ABC’s Obama Health Care Special; Network Promises Fairness: ABC has rejected a request by a Republican group to rebut President Obama’s health care plans on an upcoming day of White House-themed news specials. In response, the network has stated that its coverage will nevertheless be balanced. The Republic National Committee referred questions to a fundraising letter posted on GOP.com that asks supporters for donations to buy air time during the ABC programs. “What are the Democrats and their media allies afraid of? T he truth?” RNC chairman Michael Steele said in the letter. “That is outrageous! And we will not take it!”… – TV Guide, 6-19-09
    • Dems’ health care plan stumbles but keeps moving: Democrats got a sobering glimpse of what it would look like if their ambitious health care overhaul ran into a wall — and they quickly pulled back to regroup and get moving again. Trying to regain the initiative, House Democrats on Friday unveiled draft legislation they said would cover virtually all of the nation’s nearly 50 million uninsured as President Barack Obama has promised. However, they offered few details on how to pay for it. The president welcomed their action as “a major step toward our goal of fixing what is broken about health care while building on what works.”… – AP, 6-19-09
    • Sotomayor quits women’s club after GOP criticism: Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor resigned Friday from an elite all-women’s club after Republicans questioned her participation in it. Sotomayor said she resigned from the Belizean Grove to prevent the issue from becoming a distraction in her confirmation hearings…. – AP, 6-19-09
    • Analysis: Deficit could be chink in Obama’s armor: The solid armor of President Barack Obama’s popularity may have a crack — a nearly $2 trillion-sized one.
      There’s continued and considerable public restiveness over eye-popping federal budget deficits, a potential danger for both Obama’s ambitious agenda and his political fortunes…. – AP, 6-19-09
    • Senate ethics committee next up for Roland Burris: U.S. Sen. Roland Burris won’t face a perjury charge over statements he made to state lawmakers investigating how he got his job, but the junior senator still faces the task of salvaging his political future and shaking the stigma of his link to the disgraced former governor who put him in office…. – AP, 6-19-09
    • House impeaches federal judge from Texas: The House on Friday impeached a federal judge imprisoned for lying about sexual assaults of two women in the first such vote since impeaching former President Bill Clinton a decade ago. The impeachment of U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent of Texas sets up a trial in the Senate. Kent is the first federal judge impeached in 20 years. The House approved four articles of impeachment against Kent accusing him of sexually assaulting two female employees and lying to judicial investigators and Justice Department officials. All four articles passed unanimously…. – AP, 6-19-09

    POLITICAL QUOTES

    Political Quotes

    • REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT AT THE SIGNING OF THE FAMILY SMOKING PREVENTION AND TOBACCO CONTROL ACT Rose Garden: I know — I was one of these teenagers, and so I know how difficult it can be to break this habit when it’s been with you for a long time. And I also know that kids today don’t just start smoking for no reason. They’re aggressively targeted as customers by the tobacco industry. They’re exposed to a constant and insidious barrage of advertising where they live, where they learn, and where they play. Most insidiously, they are offered products with flavorings that mask the taste of tobacco and make it even more tempting.
      We’ve known about this for decades, but despite the best efforts and good progress made by so many leaders and advocates with us today, the tobacco industry and its special interest lobbying have generally won the day up on the Hill. When Henry Waxman first brought tobacco CEOs before Congress in 1994, they famously denied that tobacco was deadly, nicotine was addictive, or that their companies marketed to children. And they spent millions upon millions in lobbying and advertising to fight back every attempt to expose these denials as lies.
      Fifteen years later, their campaign has finally failed. Today, thanks to the work of Democrats and Republicans, health care and consumer advocates, the decades-long effort to protect our children from the harmful effects of tobacco has emerged victorious. Today, change has come to Washington.
      This legislation will not ban all tobacco products, and it will allow adults to make their own choices. But it will also ban tobacco advertising within a thousand feet of schools and playgrounds. It will curb the ability of tobacco companies to market products to our children by using appealing flavors. It will force these companies to more clearly and publicly acknowledge the harmful and deadly effects of the products they sell. And it will allow the scientists at the FDA to take other common-sense steps to reduce the harmful effects of smoking.
    • This legislation is a victory for bipartisanship, and it was passed overwhelmingly in both Houses of Congress. It’s a victory for health care reform, as it will reduce some of the billions we spend on tobacco-related health care costs in this country. It’s a law that will reduce the number of American children who pick up a cigarette and become adult smokers. And most importantly, it is a law that will save American lives and make Americans healthier…. – White House, 6-22-09

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    • Obama, citing his smoking woes, signs tobacco law: Lamenting his first teenage cigarette, President Barack Obama ruefully admitted on Monday that he’s spent his adult life fighting the habit. Then he signed the nation’s toughest anti-smoking law, aiming to keep thousands of other teens from getting hooked…. “I know. I was one of these teenagers,” he said. “And so I know how difficult it can be to break this habit when it’s been with you for a long time.” – AP, 6-22-09
    • REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT ON THE MEDICARE PART D “DOUGHNUT HOLE” AND AARP ENDORSEMENT Diplomatic Reception Room: So as part of the health care reform I expect Congress to enact this year, Medicare beneficiaries whose spending falls within this gap will now receive a discount on prescription drugs of at least 50 percent from the negotiated price their plan pays. It’s a reform that will make prescription drugs more affordable for millions of seniors, and restore a measure of fairness to Medicare Part D. It’s a reflection of the importance of this single step for America’s seniors that it has earned the support of AARP, which has been fighting for years to address this anomaly in the system on behalf of older Americans. AARP is committed, as I am, to achieving health care reform by the end of this year. And I’m committed to continuing to work with AARP to ensure that any reforms we pursue are carried out in a way that protects America’s seniors, who know as well as anyone what’s wrong with our health care system and why it’s badly in need of reform.
      Our goal — our imperative — is to reduce the punishing inflation in health care costs while improving patient care. And to do that we’re going to have to work together to root out waste and inefficiencies that may pad the bottom line of the insurance industry, but add nothing to the health of our nation. To that end, the pharmaceutical industry has committed to reduce its draw on the health care system by $80 billion over the next 10 years as part of overall health care reform. … – White House, 6-22-09
    • Barack Obama: Responsible Fatherhood: In many ways, I came to understand the importance of fatherhood through its absence—both in my life and in the lives of others. I came to understand that the hole a man leaves when he abandons his responsibility to his children is one that no government can fill. We can do everything possible to provide good jobs and good schools and safe streets for our kids, but it will never be enough to fully make up the difference. That is why we need fathers to step up, to realize that their job does not end at conception; that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child but the courage to raise one…. – Parade, 6-21-09
    • Obama stays with careful response to Iran crisis: President Barack Obama says he does not want to become a scapegoat for Iran’s leadership as postelection upheaval continues, but Republicans are still saying the new president is being too cautious. “The last thing that I want to do is to have the United States be a foil for those forces inside Iran who would love nothing better than to make this an argument about the United States,” Obama said in an interview to be broadcast Monday. “We shouldn’t be playing into that.” The president spoke Friday during an interview with CBS News’ Harry Smith. The interview will be broadcast on “The Early Show.” – AP, 6-22-09
    • McCain: Obama has ‘done well’ as president so far Sen. John McCain says his opponent in last year’s presidential campaign, Barack Obama, has “done well” in his first five months in the White House…. On the down side, McCain says that Obama’s successes in Congress have come with little or no Republican support…. McCain appeared Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” – AP, 6-21-09
    • Transcript: Sens. Chris Dodd and Lindsey Graham: Exclusive “This Week” Interview with Sens. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. – ABC News, 6-21-09
    • Statement from the President on Iran: The Iranian government must understand that the world is watching. We mourn each and every innocent life that is lost. We call on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people. The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights.
      As I said in Cairo, suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. The Iranian people will ultimately judge the actions of their own government. If the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect the dignity of its own people and govern through consent, not coercion.
      Martin Luther King once said – “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” I believe that. The international community believes that. And right now, we are bearing witness to the Iranian peoples’ belief in that truth, and we will continue to bear witness. – White House, 6-20-09
    • Bill Clinton says Barack Obama on right track: Former President Bill Clinton rallied Democrats on Saturday with a vigorous defense of President Barack Obama, saying that Obama has done what was needed to spark the economy. “I know we need to worry about this debt,” Clinton said. “First we’ve got to build a bridge over troubled waters and give the president’s economic reforms in the finance system time to take hold.” “We are now responsible and we need to get out of the blame business — we’re stuck with what we’ve got — and deal with these challenges,” Clinton said. “We will now be judged by what we do.” – AP, 6-20-09
    • GOP says Dems health overhaul would break the bank: Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky accused the Obama administration and congressional Democrats of rushing expensive and flawed plans that would result in rationing of care. McConnell’s criticism, in the weekly GOP radio and Internet address, came after a rocky start for legislation to revamp the system, with eye-popping cost estimates, partisan anger and divisions within the Democratic ranks.
      “Throughout this debate, the administration’s central argument has been that America needs health care reform for the sake of the economy,” McConnell said. “Yet according to independent estimates, every health care proposal Democrats on Capitol Hill have offered would only hurt the economy.”
      “They say a new government health plan will keep costs low. Well, expecting a government-run system to help the economy is like praying for rain in the middle of a flood,” McConnell said. “The thing you’re asking for is the last thing you need.”
      Even with trillion-dollar price tags, McConnell argued, “The total cost would be much higher, burying us in deeper and deeper debt.” “Against Republican advice, they rushed the stimulus. We shouldn’t rush again on something as important, and costly, as health care,” McConnell said. AP, 6-20-09
    • WEEKLY ADDRESS: President Obama Highlights Tough New Consumer Protections: As we continue to recover from an historic economic crisis, it is clear to everyone that one of its major causes was a breakdown in oversight that led to widespread abuses in the financial system. An epidemic of irresponsibility took hold from Wall Street to Washington to Main Street. And the consequences have been disastrous. Millions of Americans have seen their life savings erode; families have been devastated by job losses; businesses large and small have closed their doors.
      In response, this week, my administration proposed a set of major reforms to the rules that govern our financial system; to attack the causes of this crisis and to prevent future crises from taking place; to ensure that our markets can work fairly and freely for businesses and consumers alike…. – White House, 6-20-09

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    • Obama ready for fight on financial overhaul: President Barack Obama said Saturday that current financial rules exploit consumers and he put critics of his proposed overhaul on notice: “While I’m not spoiling for a fight, I’m ready for one.”… “This is essential,” Obama said. “For this crisis may have started on Wall Street. But its impacts have been felt by ordinary Americans who rely on credit cards, home loans and other financial instruments.”
      “It will have the power to set tough new rules so that companies compete by offering innovative products that consumers actually want and actually understand,” Obama said. “Those ridiculous contracts — pages of fine print that no one can figure out — will be a thing of the past. You’ll be able to compare products, with descriptions in plain language, to see what is best for you.”
      “I welcome a debate about how we can make sure our regulations work for businesses and consumers,” Obama said. “But what I will not accept — what I will vigorously oppose — are those who do not argue in good faith.”
      “These are the interests that have benefited from a system which allowed ordinary Americans to be exploited,” Obama said. The president said he would stand up for his plans, saying: “While I’m not spoiling for a fight, I’m ready for one. The most important thing we can do to put this era of irresponsibility in the past is to take responsibility now.”… – AP, 6-20-09
    • Obama says immigration overhaul is essential: President Barack Obama said Friday he is committed to a comprehensive immigration overhaul that includes a way for illegal immigrants to become U.S. citizens. Obama told the Esperanza National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast and Conference that U.S. borders must be strengthened to thwart illegal immigration. But he also supports giving the millions of people now in the U.S. illegally the chance to become citizens.
      “That is the fair, practical, and promising way forward, and that’s what I’m committed to passing as president of the United States,” Obama said. He added: “The American people believe in immigration, but they also believe that we can’t tolerate a situation where people come to the United States in violation of the law, nor can we tolerate employers who exploit undocumented workers in order to drive down wages.”… – AP, 6-19-09
    • REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT AT YOUNG MEN’S BARBECUE South Lawn – White House, 6-19-09
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    • Obama to fathers: Don’t be like my absent dad: Growing up without a father left a hole in his heart, President Barack Obama told boys at the White House Friday in a remarkably personal Father’s Day weekend message. He implored fathers everywhere — and the kids when they’re older — to be involved in the lives of their own children.
      “This isn’t an obligation,” said the father of two in a message to millions of wayward dads. “This is a privilege to be a father.”
      “I had a heroic mom and wonderful grandparents who helped raise me and my sister, and it’s because of them that I’m able to stand here today,” he told a throng of youngsters and leaders of community organizations. “But despite all their extraordinary love and attention, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t feel my father’s absence. That’s something that leaves a hole in a child’s heart that a government can’t fill.”
      “Just because your own father wasn’t there for you, that’s not an excuse for you to be absent also. It’s all the more reason for you to be present,” Obama told the young men in his audience.
      “You have an obligation to break the cycle and to learn from those mistakes, and to rise up where your own fathers fell short and to do better than they did with your own children,” Obama said. “That’s what I’ve tried to do in my life.”
      “I’ve been far from perfect,” Obama said in measuring himself as a father. “But in the end it’s not about being perfect. It’s not always about succeeding. It’s about always trying. And that’s something everybody can do. It’s about showing up and sticking with it.”

      “Now, my kids aren’t teenagers yet, so I don’t know whether that will maintain itself,” Obama said. “But right now the greatest joy I get is just hanging out with the girls and talking to them.” AP, 6-19-09

    • REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT AT THE ESPERANZA NATIONAL HISPANIC PRAYER BREAKFAST J.W. Marriott Washington, D.C.: The American people — the American people believe in immigration, but they also believe that we can’t tolerate a situation where people come to the United States in violation of the law, nor can we tolerate employers who exploit undocumented workers in order to drive down wages. That’s why we’re taking steps to strengthen border security, and we must build on those efforts. We must also clarify the status of millions who are here illegally, many who have put down roots. For those who wish to become citizens, we should require them to pay a penalty and pay taxes, learn English, go to the back of the line behind those who played by the rules. That is the fair, practical, and promising way forward, and that’s what I’m committed to passing as President of the United States. (Applause.)
      We must never forget that time and again, the promise of America has been renewed by immigrants who make their story part of the American story. We see it in every state of our country. We see it in our families and in our neighborhoods. As President, I’ve been honored to see it demonstrated by the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States.
      Last month, I had the honor of welcoming a group of our service members as citizens for the very first time. In that crowd, there were faces from every corner of the world. And one man from Nicaragua — Jeonathan Zapata — had waited his whole life to serve our country even though he was not yet a citizen. “By serving in the military,” he said, “I can also give back to the United States.” He’s done so in Afghanistan, and he even helped man the 400,000th aircraft landing aboard the USS Kitty Hawk.
      And Jeonathan’s story is not unique either. He’s part of a proud legacy of service. For generations, Hispanic Americans have served with great commitment and valor, and there are now nearly 150,000 Hispanic Americans serving under our flag. And today we are proud — (applause) — today we are proud to welcome several of them who are wounded warriors recovering at Walter Reed. Please join me in honoring their service, and in keeping them and all of our troops in our thoughts and prayers — please. – White House, 6-19-09
    • Obama pokes fun at broadcasters’ annual dinner: President Barack Obama knows a little something about catching flies — knowledge he says he’s using to help win over groups in solving the nation’s health care crisis. “I’m pleased that in our quest to reform the health care system, I have gained the support of the American Medical Association,” Obama told the Radio and Television Correspondents’ Association dinner Friday night. “It proves true the old expression that it’s easier to catch flies with honey. And if honey doesn’t work, feel free to use an open palm and a swift, downward wrist motion.”…
      Obama told the crowd he is working to repair the financial institutions and auto companies. “But you probably wouldn’t understand the concept of troubled industries,” he said, “working as you do in radio and television.”
      “Why hang out with celebrities when I can spend time with people who make me one?” Obama said.
      “I’m sure you’ve all seen the pictures of Rahm on that camel,” Obama said. “I admit, I was a little nervous about the whole situation. I said at the time, ‘This is a wild animal known to bite, kick and spit. And who knows what the camel could do?'”… – AP, 6-19-09
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    • Bush takes swipes at Obama policies: “I know it’s going to be the private sector that leads this country out of the current economic times we’re in,” the former president said to applause from members of a local business group. “You can spend your money better than the government can spend your money.”…
      “Government does not create wealth. The major role for the government is to create an environment where people take risks to expand the job rate in the United States,” he said to huge cheers….
      “The way I decided to address the problem was twofold: One, use every technique and tool within the law to bring terrorists to justice before they strike again,” he said, adding that the country needs to stay on offense, not defense. On Guantanamo, which while in office Mr. Bush said he wanted to close, the former president was diplomatic.
      “I told you I’m not going to criticize my successor,” he said. “I’ll just tell you that there are people at Gitmo that will kill American people at a drop of a hat and I don’t believe that — persuasion isn’t going to work. Therapy isn’t going to cause terrorists to change their mind.”…
      “Clearly, there’s a level of frustration on the Iranian streets,” Mr. Bush said. “It looks like it’s not a very fair election.”….
      “I am told, ‘If you do not move strongly, Mr. President, you will be a president overseeing a depression that will ultimately be greater than the Great Depression,'” Mr. Bush said. “I firmly believe it was necessary to put money in our banks to make sure our financial system did not collapse. … I did not want there to be bread lines, to be a great depression.”….
      He said his administration sought to address the “housing bubble” before the system broke down. “We tried to reform” mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, “but couldn’t get it through the vested interests on Capitol Hill.” Still, Mr. Bush was optimistic, pressing, as he did as president, free trade, open markets and the free enterprise system. “We’ll come out of this better than before,” he said to more applause.
      But he was less than convinced about Mr. Obama’s move to overhaul the health care system.
      “There are a lot of ways to remedy the situation without nationalizing health care,” Mr. Bush said. “I worry about encouraging the government to replace the private sector when it comes to providing insurance for health care.”
      Asked by the evening emcee at the 104th annual Manufacturer and Business Association meeting if he finds the new president’s policies “socialist,” Mr. Bush started — then stopped.
      “I hear a lot of those words, but it depends on –” he said, breaking off. He later offered a more diplomatic assessment: “We’ll see.” Washington Times, 6-18-09

    HISTORIANS’ COMMENTS

    Historians’ Comments

    • Victor Davis Hanson: Understanding Obamaworld: Are you confused by all that has changed since President Barack Obama took office in January? If so, you’re not alone. Perhaps, though, this handy guide to Age of Obama “logic” might be of some assistance.
      1. The Budget. Wanting to cut $17 billion from the budget, as President Obama has promised, is proof of financial responsibility. Borrowing $1.84 trillion this year for new programs is “stimulus.” The old phrase “out-of-control spending” is inoperative.
      2. Unemployment. The number of jobs theoretically saved, or created, by new government policies — not the actual percentage of Americans out of work, or the total number of jobs lost — is now the far better indicator of unemployment.
      3. The Private Sector. Nationalizing much of the auto and financial industries, while regulating executive compensation, is an indication of our new government’s repeatedly stated reluctance to interfere in the private sector. …
      6. Terrorism. Acts of terror disappeared about six months ago. Thankfully, we live now in an age where there will be — in the new vocabulary of the Obama administration — only occasional “overseas contingency operations” in which we may be forced to hold a few “detainees.” At the same time, ongoing military tribunals, renditions, wiretaps, phone intercepts and predator-drone assassinations are no longer threats to the Constitution. And just saying you’re going to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay is proof that it is almost closed. …
      9. Media. The media are disinterested and professional observers of the present administration. When television anchormen and senior magazine editors bow to the president, proclaim him a god or feel tingling in the legs when he speaks, it is quite normal.
      10. George W. Bush. Former President Bush did all sorts of bad things to the United States that only now we are learning will take at least eight years to sort out. “Bush did it” for the next decade will continue to explain the growing unemployment rate, the most recent deficit, the new round of tensions with Iran and North Korea, and the growing global unrest from the Middle East to South America. Once we remember and accept the logic of the above, then almost everything about this Age of Obama begins to make perfect sense. The Union, 6-19-09
    • Morgan State University historian Lawrence A. Peskin: Viewpoint Rewriting the history of America and Islam: President Barack Obama went to Egypt this month to create common ground between America and Islam. In the process, he whitewashed America’s early, troubled history with the Islamic world.In his speech at Cairo University, the president noted that “Islam has always been a part of America’s story.”
      He cited Morocco’s early recognition of American independence in 1778. He also reminded his audience of the U.S.-Tripoli treaty of 1796-97, which denied that the United States bore any “enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity” of Muslims.
      In so doing, the president created a mythic tale of longstanding friendship and understanding on the part of Americans and Islamic North Africans. Although it may have diplomatic uses, this tale has little historical basis.
      President Obama correctly stated that Morocco was the first nation to recognize American independence. However, he omitted the fact that shortly thereafter, Moroccans captured an American ship and its crew to force the United States to sign a pay-for-peace treaty with Morocco’s ruler.
      The payment did stop Morocco from capturing more Americans, but soon its next-door neighbor, Algeria, began capturing American ships. Ultimately it held more than 100 American crew members for ransom, some for a dozen years. Nor did a similar arrangement with Tripoli stop that country from capturing more Americans…. – Baltimore Sun, 6-18-09
    • Julian Zelizer: Congressional Budget Office is threat to health care reform: The most potent threat to the Obama administration’s fledgling health care plan may come not from the insurance industry or skeptical doctors but from the Congressional Budget Office.
      Earlier this week, CBO released preliminary estimates suggesting that the health care proposals — the most ambitious currently under discussion — from the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee would cost $1 trillion and trim the number of uninsured by only 16 million.
      With a few more reports like this, CBO could quickly prove more damaging to the administration’s health care efforts than could Republican attacks about “socialized medicine.”… – Politico, 6-18-09
    • Robert Dallek: Obama Seeks Counsel From Ex-Presidents The president has said he wants to reach out to all of his predecessors: Two other former presidents re-entered the spotlight. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush recently held a joint appearance in Toronto. It was a polite affair that generated little news, suggesting that both men are trying to finally put aside their differences, which former presidents tend to do. “They see themselves as part of a distinct club,” says historian Robert Dallek. “The passions fade away, and they tend to come together and consider themselves as elder statesmen.”… – US News & World Report, 6-18-09
    • Donald Ritchie “Biggest Shift in U.S. Health Care Needs 45-Day Sprint”: The packed schedule will be a particular challenge for the slower, more deliberate Senate. Democrats, who control 59 votes, must be able to secure the backing of 60 senators to overcome the possibility of a filibuster. The fast pace also may be an asset, said Senate historian Donald Ritchie. “Sometimes there’s an advantage in setting a short schedule,” Ritchie said. “That gets people responding to the bill, it’s easier to schedule votes, people are more willing to cut a deal and compromise. Leadership around here often gets their best work done here before a recess when everyone has a plane ticket in their pocket.” – Bloomberg, 6-17-09
    • John Steele Gordon “Financial crisis shifts balance toward regulation”: “In theory, regulation and markets should evolve together. In fact, almost always, regulation comes after disasters” and it isn’t always for the better, said John Steele Gordon, an economic historian and author of the book “The Great Game: The Emergence of Wall Street as a World Power.” “Disasters teach us how to prevent the last disaster,” he said…. – AP, 6-17-09
    • Julian Zelizer & Melissa Lerner: Commentary: Obama can succeed in Mideast: At a time when the Obama administration is dealing with a barely stable economy while trying to address long-term health care, two wars, the environment and the threat of terrorism, many ask whether it is wise for President Obama to try to resolve a problem that has frustrated so many presidents before him.
      With the latest events in Iran, there is even more reason for skepticism that progress towards Arab-Israeli peace is possible.
      Despite conventional wisdom, when presidents have become personally active in shaping American policy in the region and resolved to make the Mideast conflict a top priority, they’ve often succeeded in improving Arab-Israeli relations….
      At the same time, Obama will have to work with the Israeli government — without antagonizing it — in order to gain support for a settlement freeze during the negotiations and to push forward Netanyahu’s promise to make progress towards a viable Palestinian state.
      Finally, Obama can’t take his eye off the domestic front. He must continue to engage the domestic coalitions who are most interested in these policies and ensure they are brought into the deliberations.
      The key will be balance. Obama should take this opportunity to embrace a strategy that is truly even-handed and does not let either side avoid its responsibilities. – CNN, 6-16-09
    • Clive Crook: Is this leadership on health care?: Obama’s hands-off approach to health care reform looks ever more questionable. I’m getting tired of listening to speeches that state uncontroversial goals–widen coverage, curb costs, free doctors from useless paperwork, improve medical outcomes–but have little or nothing to say on how these things might actually be done. It’s one thing to refrain from ramming a fully worked-out blueprint down the throat of a skeptical Congress, another entirely to step back altogether from fundamental questions of design and cost recovery…. – The Atlantic, 6-16-09

    History Buzz June 22, 2009: The State Department Improves the Office of the Historian

    HISTORY BUZZ:

    POLITICAL HIGHLIGHTS:

    BIGGEST NEWS STORIES:

    THIS WEEK IN HISTORY:

    IN THE NEWS:

    OP-EDs & BLOGS:

    • Thomas Sugrue: Responds to criticism of his book, citing the myth of the white backlash Sweet Land of Liberty Democracy (6-15-09)
    • John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr respond to their critics: While we were writing Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America, based on Alexander Vassiliev’s notebooks, we anticipated a hostile reaction from battered but still rancorous remnants of the pro-Communist left in the academic world and partisan pundits. Together they have denied for more than fifty years that Soviet espionage in the United States in the 1930s and 1940s had much significance, denounced claims linking the Communist Party of the USA (CPUSA) with Soviet espionage, and proclaimed the innocence of many of those identified as Soviet agents…. – Washington Decoded (6-10-09)
    • Martin Kramer: Khalidi’s impact on Obama – Sandbox (6-13-09)
    • Deborah Lipstadt was at Holocaust Museum when shooting took place: I write this from my office in the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum where I have been privileged to have had a fellowship for the past semester. Up until Wednesday at 12:50 p.m., it had been a perfect visit. Everything a scholar could hope for: exceptional scholarly resources and a magnificent museum staff…. – Deborah Lipstadt in a commentary at CNN.com (6-12-09)
    • Garry Wills has nice things to say about Bill Buckley – Atlantic (7-1-09)

    REVIEWS & FIRST CHAPTERS:

    • Gillian Gill: Married With Children WE TWO Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals NYT, 6-21-09
    • Gillian Gill: WE TWO Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals, Excerpt – NYT, 6-21-09
    • Donald McRae: Darrow for the Defense THE LAST TRIALS OF CLARENCE DARROW WaPo, 6-21-09
    • Clay Risen: HISTORY A Country Shaken A NATION ON FIRE America in the Wake of the King Assassination WaPo, 6-21-09
    • Karen Greenberg: Before Guantanamo Was Above the Law THE LEAST WORST PLACE Guantanamo’s First 100 Days WaPo, 6-21-09
    • Frank Gannon on Kevin Mattson: Days of ‘Malaise’ Ah, the Jimmy Carter era: presidential scolding, gas lines, Studio 54 and the ‘killer rabbit’ WSJ, 6-20-09
    • David Beito, Linda Royster Beito: Say bias has excluded civil rights leader T.R.M. Howard from pantheon Black Maverick: T.R.M. Howard’s Fight for Civil Rights and Economic Power Harper’s (6-11-09)

    QUOTES:

    • Allan Brandt talks about the decline of big tobacco: “My own view is that in many ways, the tobacco industry invented the kind of special-interest lobbying that has become so characteristic of the late 20th- and earlier 21st-century American politics,” said Allan Brandt, dean of Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. “Today obviously, that lobby is much less powerful and successful than it was a generation ago,” said Brandt, author of “The Cigarette Century: The Rise, Fall, and Deadly Persistence of the Product That Defined America.”… – CNN (6-19-09)
    • Jeffrey Wasserstrom “Debunking the Shanghai myth”: Thus says noted historian Jeffrey Wasserstrom, who debunks the “East meets West” image of Shanghai. This label fails to capture the multitude of Western voices and Chinese viewpoints facing off and converging there, argues the author of Global Shanghai 1850-2010: A History In Fragments, published this year. “Global” Shanghai today is as much a hotpot for East-meets-East as West-meets-West. Yet, Professor Wasserstrom, who teaches history at the University of California, Irvine, himself was once victim to what he calls the “fairy tale versions of Shanghai”. He confesses to having felt “let down” during his first two visits to Shanghai in the 1980s, when he was confronted with “the contrast between the drab city I found…and the exciting one I had conjured up in my imagination”. Malaysian Insider, 6-21-09

    PROFILES & FEATURES:

    • Bradley R. Simpson “Historian Claims West Backed Post-Coup Mass Killings in ’65”: Speaking on the opening day of an international conference in Singapore to discuss arguably the darkest chapter in Indonesia’s history, Bradley R. Simpson, an assistant professor at Princeton University and an expert on Indonesia, said that the US and British governments did everything in their power to ensure that the Indonesian army would carry out the mass killings…. – http://thejakartaglobe.com (6-17-09)
    • Kathryn Olmsted: UC Davis historian catalogs US secrets, lies and conspiracies Real Enemies: Conspiracy Theories and American Democracy, World War I to 9/11 Press Release (6-17-09)

    HONORS, AWARDED &APPOINTED:

    • Henry Louis Gates, Jr. “Historian says Golden Horseshoe started path to success”: Henry Louis Gates, Jr., began his ascent as a renowned historian by winning what he would later call the “the Nobel Prize of eighth graders in West Virginia,” the Golden Horseshoe…. – Charleston Daily Mail, 6-19-09
    • Patricia McMahon Houser: An assistant professor of geography at Central Connecticut State University, is Putnam’s new county historian…. – The Journal News, 6-4-09

    ANNOUNCEMENTS & SPOTTED:

    EVENTS CALENDAR:

    • June 2009: National Archives Continues Year-Long 75th Anniversary Celebration in June with H.W. Brands, Donald Ritchie, Robert Remini – Press Newswire, 5-28-09
    • August 1, 2009: An Evening with Ken Burns: Kens Burns has been making documentary films for more than 30 years. Since the Academy Award-nominated Brooklyn Bridge in 1981, he has gone on to direct and produce some of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made. The late historian Stephen Ambrose said of Burns’ films, “More Americans get their history from Ken Burns than any other source.” This evening will afford Chautauqua an opportunity to hear one of the most influential documentary makers of all time. Chautauqua Institutition. For more info 716-357-6200. – Jamestown Post-Journal, 5-21-09

    ON TV:

    • BBC to launch new series on history of Christianity – Religious Intelligence, 6-19-09
    • C-SPAN2: BOOK TV Weekend Schedule
    • PBS American Experience: Mondays at 9pm
    • History Channel: Weekly Schedule
    • History Channel: “Violent Earth: Nature’s Fury: New England’s Killer Hurricane” – Monday, June 22, 2009 at 2pm ET/PT
    • History Channel: “Life After People: Heavy Metal” – Monday, June 22, 2009 at 8pm ET/PT
    • History Channel: “The Crumbling of America” – Monday, June 22, 2009 at 9pm ET/PT
    • History Channel: “How Bruce Lee Changed the World” – Tuesday, June 23, 2009 at 2pm ET/PT
    • History Channel: “Comic Book Superheroes Unmasked ” – Tuesday, June 23, 2009 at 4pm ET/PT
    • History Channel: “Next Nostradamus” – Tuesday, June 23, 2009 at 8pm ET/PT
    • History Channel: “Life After People: Waters of Death” – Tuesday, June 23, 2009 at 10pm ET/PT
    • History Channel: “Underwater Universe” – Wednesday, June 24, 2009 at 2pm ET/PT
    • History Channel: “Decoding The Past: Mysteries of the Bermuda Triangle” – Wednesday, June 24, 2009 at 4pm ET/PT
    • History Channel: “Rome: Engineering an Empire” – Thursday, June 18, 2009 at 2pm ET/PT
    • History Channel: “Hippies ” – Friday, June 19, 2009 at 2pm ET/PT
    • History Channel: “Modern Marvels: 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s Tech” Marathon- Friday, June 19, 2009 at 4-8pm ET/PT
    • History Channel: “Battle 360” Marathon – Friday, June 26, 2009 at 3-7pm ET/PT
    • History Channel: “Life After People” Marathon – Friday, June 26, 2009 at 8-11pm ET/PT
    • History Channel: “Seven Signs of the Apocalypse” – Saturday, June 27, 2009 at 12pm ET/PT
    • History Channel: “Life After People” Marathon- Saturday, June 27, 2009 at 2-7pm ET/PT

    BEST SELLERS (NYT):

    COMING SOON BOOKS:

    • Douglas Brinkley, Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America, 1858-1919, June 30, 2009
    • Caroline Moorehead: Dancing to the Precipice: The Life of Lucie de la Tour du Pin, Eyewitness to an Era, June 30, 2009
    • Michael McMenamin: Becoming Winston Churchill: The Untold Story of Young Winston and His American Mentor, July 1, 2009
    • Elinor Burkett: Golda (Reprint), July 1, 2009
    • Mike Evans (Editor): Woodstock: Three Days That Rocked the World, July 7, 2009
    • Roger S. Bagnall: Oxford Handbook of Papyrology, July 14, 2009
    • David Maraniss: Rome 1960: The Summer Olympics That Stirred the World (Reprint), July 14, 2009
    • Buzz Aldrin: Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon, July 23, 2009
    • Alice Morse Earle: Child Life in Colonial Times (Paperback), July 23, 2009
    • William A. DeGregorio: The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents, Seventh Edition, August 15, 2009
    • Douglas Hunter: Half Moon: Henry Hudson and the Voyage That Redrew the Map of the New World, September 1, 2009
    • Annette Gordon-Reed: The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family (Paperback), September 8, 2009
    • Jon Krakauer: Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman, September 15, 2009

    DEPARTED:

    June 18, 2009: President Obama & the Financial Overhaul, Health Care Reform and Iran

    THE OBAMA PRESIDENCY:

    IN FOCUS: STATS

    In Focus: Stats

    • Obama change message resonates, poll finds: The Zogby-Scoop44 poll found nearly two-thirds of voters under 30 polled said Obama’s change message has matched his work in the White House, and among those 18-24, 70 percent said they believed this.
      Among voters over 30, slightly more than one in four said they don’t believe Obama’s campaign promises translated into action in office, the poll found. Only 18 percent of those younger than 30 and 5 percent of 18-to-24-year-olds said they shared that view.
      The poll found 43 percent of Republicans said they believe Obama’s actions are in keeping with his promised change. – UPI, 6-19-09
    • Analysis: Deficit could be chink in Obama’s armor: The nonpartisan Pew Research Center reported Thursday that a majority of Americans — 55 percent — are optimistic that Obama will eventually reduce the budget deficit. But that’s a smaller slice than the 61 percent of people who approve of him generally.
      And according to a new New York Times/CBS News poll, 60 percent of Americans don’t believe the president has a strategy for dealing with the deficit. Also, 58 percent in an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll want Obama to make controlling the deficit a higher priority than a speedy economic recovery. And, nearly half expressed a “great deal” of concern about the increase of government intervention in American life that Obama has overseen, from taking over companies to influencing corporate bonuses and seeking to add government-sponsored insurance to the health care system…. – AP, 6-19-09
    • ABC News to air Obama interview on health care: ABC News will present a prime-time interview with President Barack Obama on health care issues next week. The special will air June 24 at 10 p.m. Eastern, on two-hour tape delay. Charles Gibson and Diane Sawyer will moderate the White House discussion with a live audience, also taking questions submitted by viewers. After a break for local news, the discussion will continue on “Nightline.” That morning, Sawyer will interview Obama for “Good Morning America.” Gibson will anchor that evening’s edition of “World News” from the White House Blue Room…. – AP, 6-15-09

    THE HEADLINES….

    The Headlines…

    • Democrats Scramble to Cut Costs From Health Plan: The high cost of securing health insurance for all Americans, the top domestic priority of President Obama, has Congressional Democrats scrambling to scale back their proposals or find ways to trim tens of billions of dollars a year from existing health programs. According to slides presented at a closed-door meeting this week, members of the Senate Finance Committee are debating several new ideas, including “an automatic mechanism” to reduce the growth of Medicare under an expedited procedure like the one used to close military bases…. – NYT, 6-18-09
    • Obama’s Pledge on Donations Faces Reality: When President Obama arrived at the Mandarin Oriental hotel for a fund-raising reception on Thursday night, the new White House rules of political purity were in order: no lobbyists allowed. But at the same downtown hotel on Friday morning, registered lobbyists have not only been invited to attend an issues conference with Democratic leaders, but they have also been asked to come with a $5,000 check in hand if they want to stay in good favor with the party’s House and Senate re-election committees…. – NYT, 6-18-09
    • Republican: Will Sotomayor represent ‘all of us’?: A GOP senator said Thursday he will use hearings on Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court to ask whether she intends to be a justice “for all of us, or just for some of us.”… – AP, 6-18-09
    • Elections in Iran, Illinois? Obama very busy not picking sides: If you ever wondered what Illinois and Iran might have in common, here’s one answer: President Obama is most definitely not picking sides in their elections. So insists the White House. “Our response … on this has been, from the very beginning, consistent,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told a briefing Thursday when asked about the post-election turmoil in Iran. “The American people and this government are not going to pick the next leader of Iran,” he said. “That’s something that the Iranians have to do.” – Reuters, 6-18-09
    • Senate skeptical of financial oversight plan: Senators sharply questioned yesterday whether President Obama’s plan to increase oversight of banks and other financial institutions was enough to prevent another economic meltdown. “They’re very angry, and they are worried. And they are wondering who’s looking out for them,” said Senator Christopher Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat and chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. In testimony before the panel, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner defended the proposal as the nation’s best shot. “It will be very hard, perhaps impossible, for any authority, any individual to anticipate and pre-empt all potential sources of future risk,” Geithner said…. – AP, 6-18-09
    • Senate passes apology for slavery, segregation: The Senate has unanimously passed a resolution apologizing for slavery and racial segregation and sent the measure to the House. Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin first introduced the measure years ago but wanted it passed Thursday on the eve of Juneteenth – a day of celebration commemorating the end of the Civil War and the release of African Americans from slavery. He said the House is to take it up soon and that a formal celebration will be held next month in the Capitol Rotunda…. – AP, 6-18-09
    • Karl Rove: The GOP Can Stop ObamaCare The public is in no mood for drastic changes in current coverage: It’s extremely unlikely that Republicans will be able to pass their own health-care plan in this Congress. But in politics you can’t beat something with nothing, so it is critical that the GOP offers an alternative to President Barack Obama’s government-run monstrosity.
      Americans will listen more closely to Republicans if they make empirical and specific arguments against Mr. Obama’s attempted government takeover of the nation’s health system. But they must also offer proposals that families, small-businesspeople and health-care providers will applaud.
      Fortunately, Sens. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Richard Burr of North Carolina, and Reps. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Devin Nunes of California have devised a plan that will likely appeal to anyone interested in making health insurance more affordable and portable…. – WSJ, 6-18-09
    • Key Iran Adviser Gains Obama’s Ear: President Barack Obama, facing a mounting political crisis in Iran, is increasingly relying on the counsel of a career diplomat who has been a staunch supporter of tough measures to curtail Tehran’s nuclear program. The emergence of Middle East specialist Dennis Ross as a presidential confidant is being scrutinized in Washington for its potential impact on Mr. Obama’s approach to Tehran, as the nuclear issue and electoral crisis play out…. – WSJ, 6-18-09
    • Obama Under Fire Again From Members of His Own Party: Some Congressional Democrats representing rural America are feeling left out when it comes to the President Obama’s ambitious agenda. The Politico newspaper reports from greenhouse gases and climate legislation, to the closing of hundreds of car dealerships, many within his party aren’t exactly feeling the love from the White House…. – Fox News, 6-17-09
    • Wall Street isn’t buying Obama’s reform plan: Banks and other firms are quick to attack Obama’s consumer-friendly overhaul of financial rules. The stage is set for a legislative battle, with Wall Street turning to allies in Congress…. Reporting from Washington — At its core, President Obama’s overhaul of regulations for the financial industry seeks a fundamental change: Make the federal bureaucracy work for consumers, not just Wall Street. And Wall Street, not surprisingly, doesn’t like it. Striking a populist tone, Obama complained in a White House speech Wednesday that average Americans were often baffled by such intricacies as the terms of credit cards, home loans and other financial products. That confusion helped fuel the subprime mortgage meltdown that sent the U.S. and foreign economies reeling…. – LAT, 6-18-09
    • Aggressive timetable for healthcare reform hits snag: A Senate panel will probably delay debate until July. The GOP accuses Democrats of moving too quickly and failing to find money to cover the costs of the massive overhaul…. – LAT, 6-17-09
    • Hillary Clinton fractures elbow in fall: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton fractured her right elbow during a fall Wednesday, her chief of staff said. Clinton was on her way to the White House when she fell and injured her elbow, chief of staff Cheryl Mills said in a statement released late Wednesday…. – AP, 6-17-09
    • 4 ex-senators prepare $1.2T, bipartisan health overhaul plan: Trying to prevent a repeat of the 1990s standoff over health care, four former Senate leaders are preparing a plan that combines ideas from both political parties to guarantee coverage for all. Democrats Tom Daschle and George Mitchell are set to join Republicans Bob Dole and Howard Baker on Wednesday to release a $1.2 trillion proposal that would be fully paid for with a combination of spending cuts and tax increases…. – AP, 6-17-09
    • Strong words on climate change White House report notes apparent effects: Harmful effects from global warming are already here and worsening, warns the first climate report from Barack Obama’s presidency in the strongest language on climate change ever to come out of the White House…. – Boston Globe, 6-16-09
    • Corrected: Obama plan urges review of Fed system: document: The Obama administration’s regulatory reform plan calls for a review of the Federal Reserve System’s structure, which the U.S. Treasury would then consider to propose possible changes, according to a document obtained by Reuters on Tuesday. “We propose a comprehensive review of the ways in which the structure and governance of the Federal Reserve System affect its ability to accomplish its existing and proposed functions,” the document states. It said the review would be led by the central bank’s Washington-based board and would take a look at the governance of the 12 regional Fed banks and their role in financial supervision. The Fed would be called upon to propose recommendations by October 1, the document said…. – Reuters, 6-16-09
    • House passes $106 billion war funding bill: War-funding legislation survived a fierce partisan battle in the House on Tuesday, a major step in providing commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan the money they would need for military operations in the coming months. The $106 billion measure, in addition to about $80 billion for military operations, provides for an array of other spending priorities, including $7.7 billion to respond to the flu pandemic and more than $10 billion in development and security aid for Pakistan and Iraq as well as countries such as Mexico and the nation of Georgia. Democratic leaders pushing the bill on behalf of the Obama administration had to overcome an unusual alliance. Anti-war Democrats opposed continued war spending and Republicans condemned $5 billion in the measure to secure a $108 billion U.S. line of credit to the International Monetary Fund for loans to poor countries…. The vote was 226-202, with only five Republicans voting for the bill and 32 Democrats opposing it…. – AP, 6-16-09
    • Obama Intends to Extend Federal Benefits to Unmarried Partners: President Obama will announce tomorrow that he is extending federal benefits to include unmarried domestic partners of federal workers, including same-sex partners, White House officials said tonight. Obama will sign an executive order implementing the change in the Oval Office, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity to avoid upstaging the president’s announcement. The move would give partners of federal employees access to health care and financial benefits such as relocation fees for moves. The State Department announced a similar extension of benefits last month, with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton calling it “the right thing to do.”… – WaPo, 6-15-09
    • Obama Sought to Enlist a Wide Consensus on Finance Rules: President Obama’s plan to reshape financial regulation, which he will unveil on Wednesday, is the product of weeks of meetings among government officials, financial experts, lawmakers, industry executives and lobbyists, many of whom were invited to help the White House draft the proposal. Mr. Obama told reporters on Tuesday that a “lack of oversight” allowed what he called “wild risk-taking.” He said it led to “very dangerous” conditions that imperiled the global economy…. – NYT, 6-16-09
    • John Aloysius Farrell Democrats Win Youth, But Republicans Have a Chance: OK, young voters. Your turn. The “millennial generation” is the subject of today’s analysis, as we continue to sift through the commentary and statistics presented at the joint Brookings Institution/American Enterprise Institute conference on American political demography last Friday…. Once again, the news is bad for the Republican Party. The kids went Democratic. Big time. By 66 to 31 percent. But it is significant that young voters went 2 to 1 for Audacity since they are, of course, the future. And John Kerry also did well with younger voters in 2004, Keeter noted…. – US News & World Report, 6-16-09
    • GOP weakened by demographic, political forces Experts say changing geographic and demographic trends are further endangering an already-beleaguered Republican party: For the past few months, political analysts and demographers have been poring over the results of the 2008 election and comparing them with presidential results from the past two decades. From whatever angle of their approach – age, race, economic status, geography – they have come to a remarkably similar conclusion. Almost all indicators are pressing the Republicans into minority status. Republicans are still capable of winning individual elections, but until they find a way to reverse, or at least minimize, these broader changes in the country, their chances of returning to majority status will be severely reduced…. – CS Monitor, 6-15-09
    • Senate near bipartisan consensus on care reform: The U.S. Senate is near agreement on a broad bipartisan plan to revamp the costly healthcare system, and legislation is very likely to pass, a leading senator said on Monday. Democratic Senator Max Baucus said the powerful Senate Finance Committee he chairs would propose legislation this week, estimating there was an “85 to 90 percent” chance meaningful healthcare reform would be passed in the Senate with bipartisan support. “I’ll get you 85 to 90 percent (chance) — bipartisan — because enough Republican senators want to do the right thing and have spent a lot of time working on it,” the Democrat told Reuters in an interview…. – Reuters, 6-15-09
    • Obama says Italy will take 3 Guantanamo detainees: Italy has agreed to accept three detainees from Guantanamo Bay, President Barack Obama said Monday, as the administration continues its struggle to find homes for the prisoners so the facility can be shut down early next year. Speaking after an Oval Office meeting with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Obama praised the leader for supporting U.S. efforts to close Guantanamo, saying his assistance “is very important to us.”… – AP, 6-15-09
    • Senate GOP launches health care attack: As President Barack Obama tried to sell the American Medical Association today on his health care overhaul, the top Senate Republicans launched a familiar line of attack. They warned of rationed medical care, lack of patient control and government bureaucracy. “The American people will not stand for rationed health care,” Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl said Monday. “We believe that a one size fits all approach is the wrong approach.”… – Reuters, 6-15-09
    • Analysis: GOP word war asserts ‘socialism’: Republicans are honing an attack line against President Barack Obama in an attempt to play on Americans’ fears of government overreach and economic uncertainties, suggesting he is nationalizing American industry and socializing medicine….
      Democrats dismiss it as conservative sloganeering. And Obama is pushing back hard, lashing out on Monday at opponents to his health-care overhaul efforts as using “fear tactics to paint any effort to achieve reform as an attempt to, yes,; socialize medicine.'” “There is a fear of change — a worry that we may lose what works about our health care system while trying to fix what doesn’t,” he told an American Medical Association conference in Chicago…. – AP, 6-15-09
    • Did Netanyahu pass the Obama test?: In the wake of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s major address Sunday, the Obama administration has publicly been emphasizing the positive nature of the message despite it falling short of US demands that Israel halt settlement growth. The focus on the positive move by Netanyahu is being seen as effort to move past public disagreements with Israel to allay Israeli concerns and find a constructive approach that might include compromise on some points.
      “The Netanyahu government took a big step forward yesterday in acknowledging for the first time the need for a two- state solution,” said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs Monday. “I think the president believes that there is a long way to go and many twists and turns in the road to get there, but is pleased thus far with the progress that’s being made. And I think yesterday’s speech certainly is a big part of that.”
      In his speech, Netanyahu said that “in my vision of peace, in this small land of ours, two peoples live freely, side-by-side, in amity and mutual respect; each will have its own flag, its own national anthem, its own government.” … Jerusalem Post, 6-15-09

    POLITICAL QUOTES

    Political Quotes

    • Bush takes swipes at Obama policies: “I know it’s going to be the private sector that leads this country out of the current economic times we’re in,” the former president said to applause from members of a local business group. “You can spend your money better than the government can spend your money.”…
      “Government does not create wealth. The major role for the government is to create an environment where people take risks to expand the job rate in the United States,” he said to huge cheers….
      “The way I decided to address the problem was twofold: One, use every technique and tool within the law to bring terrorists to justice before they strike again,” he said, adding that the country needs to stay on offense, not defense. On Guantanamo, which while in office Mr. Bush said he wanted to close, the former president was diplomatic.
      “I told you I’m not going to criticize my successor,” he said. “I’ll just tell you that there are people at Gitmo that will kill American people at a drop of a hat and I don’t believe that — persuasion isn’t going to work. Therapy isn’t going to cause terrorists to change their mind.”…
      “Clearly, there’s a level of frustration on the Iranian streets,” Mr. Bush said. “It looks like it’s not a very fair election.”….
      “I am told, ‘If you do not move strongly, Mr. President, you will be a president overseeing a depression that will ultimately be greater than the Great Depression,'” Mr. Bush said. “I firmly believe it was necessary to put money in our banks to make sure our financial system did not collapse. … I did not want there to be bread lines, to be a great depression.”….
      He said his administration sought to address the “housing bubble” before the system broke down. “We tried to reform” mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, “but couldn’t get it through the vested interests on Capitol Hill.” Still, Mr. Bush was optimistic, pressing, as he did as president, free trade, open markets and the free enterprise system. “We’ll come out of this better than before,” he said to more applause.
      But he was less than convinced about Mr. Obama’s move to overhaul the health care system.
      “There are a lot of ways to remedy the situation without nationalizing health care,” Mr. Bush said. “I worry about encouraging the government to replace the private sector when it comes to providing insurance for health care.”
      Asked by the evening emcee at the 104th annual Manufacturer and Business Association meeting if he finds the new president’s policies “socialist,” Mr. Bush started — then stopped.
      “I hear a lot of those words, but it depends on –” he said, breaking off. He later offered a more diplomatic assessment: “We’ll see.” Washington Times, 6-18-09
    • STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT ON THE PRESIDENTIAL MEMORANDUM ON FEDERAL BENEFITS AND NON-DISCRIMINATION, AND SUPPORT OF THE LIEBERMAN-BALDWIN BENEFITS LEGISLATION: I am also proud to announce my support for an important piece of legislation introduced in both Houses of Congress last month — the Domestic Partners Benefits and Obligations Act of 2009. This legislation will extend to the same-sex partners of Federal employees the same benefits already enjoyed by the opposite-sex spouses of Federal employees. The legislation has a number of co-sponsors in both Houses of Congress, but among those many sponsors, I want to recognize one in particular — Representative Tammy Baldwin, who has been a real leader on this issue, and more broadly on the LGBT struggle for equality. Representative Baldwin, I look forward to working with you to achieve the important objectives set out in this bill as it moves through the legislative process. I also look forward to working with the bill’s Senate champions, Senators Lieberman and Collins; I know that they will approach this process with the same spirit of cooperation in pursuit of our shared goals that they bring to all of their work in the Senate…. – White House, 6-17-09
    • New Foundation, New Stability: There’s always been a tension between those who place their faith in the invisible hand of the marketplace and those who place more trust in the guiding hand of the government — and that tension isn’t a bad thing. It gives rise to healthy debates and creates a dynamism that makes it possible for us to adapt and grow. For we know that markets are not an unalloyed force for either good or for ill. In many ways, our financial system reflects us. In the aggregate of countless independent decisions, we see the potential for creativity — and the potential for abuse. We see the capacity for innovations that make our economy stronger — and for innovations that exploit our economy’s weaknesses.
      We are called upon to put in place those reforms that allow our best qualities to flourish — while keeping those worst traits in check. We’re called upon to recognize that the free market is the most powerful generative force for our prosperity — but it is not a free license to ignore the consequences of our actions.
      This is a difficult time for our nation. But from this period of challenge, we can once again tap those values and ideals that have allowed us to lead the global economy, and will allow us to lead once again. That’s how we’ll help more Americans live their own dreams. That’s why these reforms are so important. And I look forward to working with leaders in Congress and all of you to see these proposals put to work so that we can overcome this crisis and build a lasting foundation for prosperity. – White House, 6-17-09

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    (First Lady Michelle Obama hosts the Bancroft Elementary School for the garden harvest of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, June 16, 2009. Offical White House Photographer Samantha Appleton)

    • REMARKS BY THE FIRST LADY AT THE WHITE HOUSE GARDEN HARVEST PARTY First Lady’s Garden: Well, I’ve learned that if it’s fresh and grown locally, it’s probably going to taste better. That’s what I learned. And that’s how I’ve been able to get my children to try different things, and in particular fruits and vegetables. By making this small change in our family’s diet and adding more fresh produce for my family, Barack, the girls, me, we all started to notice over a very short period of time that we felt much better and we had more energy, right? And so I wanted to share this little piece of experience that I had with the rest of the nation, a wider audience, which is what brings us here today.
      This gorgeous and bountiful garden that you saw over there has given us the chance to not just have some fun, which we’ve had a lot of it, but to shed some light on the important — on the important food and nutrition issues that we’re going to need to address as a nation. We have to deal with these issues…. – White House, 6-17-09<object width=”425″ height=”344″><param name=”movie” value=”http://www.youtube.com/v/R1vUBYr0-LE&hl=en&fs=1″></param><param name=”allowFullScreen” value=”true”></param><param name=”allowscriptaccess” value=”always”></param><embed src=”http://www.youtube.com/v/R1vUBYr0-LE&hl=en&fs=1&#8243; type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” allowscriptaccess=”always” allowfullscreen=”true” width=”425″ height=”344″></embed></object>
    • United We Serve: The President is announcing United We Serve — a call to action for all Americans to volunteer this summer and be part of building a new foundation for America, one community at a time: Serve.gov White House, 6-17-09
    • Palin accepts Letterman apology, protest goes on: Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin accepted late-night TV host David Letterman’s apology over a sexually charged joke about her teenage daughter, but it was not enough to stop a protest outside the comedian’s studio on Tuesday. “Of course it’s accepted on behalf of young women, like my daughters, who hope men who ‘joke’ about public displays of sexual exploitation of girls will soon evolve,” Palin said in a statement late on Monday night. “Letterman certainly has the right to ‘joke’ about whatever he wants to, and thankfully we have the right to express our reaction,” she said. On the occasion of a Palin trip to New York, Letterman joked on June 8 that New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez had “knocked up” Palin’s daughter during a family trip to a baseball game. The comedian apologized for the joke on his show broadcast on Monday night…. – Reuters, 6-16-09
    • Obama puts his name behind Dems’ pick for Va. gov.: President Barack Obama plugged his party’s candidate for Virginia governor into his fundraising and organizational pipeline by e-mailing hundreds of thousands of Democrats on Monday. Obama’s political action committee, Organizing for America, blasted out the e-mail in support of R. Creigh Deeds to its vast contact list and Democratic National Committee lists. Obama’s e-mail exhorts his supporters to reprise last year’s efforts for Deeds…. – AP, 6-15-09
    • Cheney: I Hope Panetta Was ‘Misquoted’ in Claiming My Wish for Attack: After the CIA director apparently told The New Yorker that he thinks the former vice president is crossing his fingers for another attack on America, Dick Cheney says he hopes his “old friend” didn’t really say those words….
      “I hope my old friend Leon was misquoted,” Cheney said, in a written statement to FOX News. “The important thing is whether the Obama administration will continue the policies that have kept us safe for the past eight years.”… – Fox News, 6-15-09
    • Berlusconi eyes concrete results for G8 summit: Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, meeting with President Barack Obama on Monday, called for concrete results on financial regulation, climate change and trade at next month’s G8 summit of world leaders. “We want this G8 to reach concrete solutions,” Berlusconi told reporters after meeting with Obama at the White House. “We both agreed on the fact that the G8 will certainly not be able to produce this body of rules, but this is going to be just one of the steps leading to that drafting of rules,” Berlusconi said. “There will be then the G20 summit in Pittsburgh, which will work on it, but the hope is to finally reach a body of rules which can be shared by everybody.”
      Obama, who will visit Russia before attending the G8 meeting in Italy, said he hoped nuclear non-proliferation would also be on the group’s agenda. “Prime Minister Berlusconi, who has strong relationships with the Russians, was able to offer some insight in terms of how to approach reductions in nuclear arsenals,” Obama said. “And that hopefully is going to be a topic at the G8 summit, as well.” – Reuters, 6-15-09

    HISTORIANS’ COMMENTS

    The President signs the memorandum
    (President Barack Obama signs an executive order granting Federal employees with same sex partners more
    benefits in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, June 17, 2009.
    Offical White House Photographer Lawrence Jackson)

    Historians’ Comments

    • Victor Davis Hanson: Understanding Obamaworld: Are you confused by all that has changed since President Barack Obama took office in January? If so, you’re not alone. Perhaps, though, this handy guide to Age of Obama “logic” might be of some assistance…. Once we remember and accept the logic of the above, then almost everything about this Age of Obama begins to make perfect sense. The Union, 6-19-09
    • Morgan State University historian Lawrence A. Peskin: Viewpoint Rewriting the history of America and Islam: President Barack Obama went to Egypt this month to create common ground between America and Islam. In the process, he whitewashed America’s early, troubled history with the Islamic world.In his speech at Cairo University, the president noted that “Islam has always been a part of America’s story.”
      He cited Morocco’s early recognition of American independence in 1778. He also reminded his audience of the U.S.-Tripoli treaty of 1796-97, which denied that the United States bore any “enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity” of Muslims.
      In so doing, the president created a mythic tale of longstanding friendship and understanding on the part of Americans and Islamic North Africans. Although it may have diplomatic uses, this tale has little historical basis.
      President Obama correctly stated that Morocco was the first nation to recognize American independence. However, he omitted the fact that shortly thereafter, Moroccans captured an American ship and its crew to force the United States to sign a pay-for-peace treaty with Morocco’s ruler.
      The payment did stop Morocco from capturing more Americans, but soon its next-door neighbor, Algeria, began capturing American ships. Ultimately it held more than 100 American crew members for ransom, some for a dozen years. Nor did a similar arrangement with Tripoli stop that country from capturing more Americans…. – Baltimore Sun, 6-18-09
    • Julian Zelizer: Congressional Budget Office is threat to health care reform: The most potent threat to the Obama administration’s fledgling health care plan may come not from the insurance industry or skeptical doctors but from the Congressional Budget Office.
      Earlier this week, CBO released preliminary estimates suggesting that the health care proposals — the most ambitious currently under discussion — from the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee would cost $1 trillion and trim the number of uninsured by only 16 million.
      With a few more reports like this, CBO could quickly prove more damaging to the administration’s health care efforts than could Republican attacks about “socialized medicine.”… – Politico, 6-18-09
    • Robert Dallek: Obama Seeks Counsel From Ex-Presidents The president has said he wants to reach out to all of his predecessors: Two other former presidents re-entered the spotlight. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush recently held a joint appearance in Toronto. It was a polite affair that generated little news, suggesting that both men are trying to finally put aside their differences, which former presidents tend to do. “They see themselves as part of a distinct club,” says historian Robert Dallek. “The passions fade away, and they tend to come together and consider themselves as elder statesmen.”… – US News & World Report, 6-18-09
    • Donald Ritchie “Biggest Shift in U.S. Health Care Needs 45-Day Sprint”: The packed schedule will be a particular challenge for the slower, more deliberate Senate. Democrats, who control 59 votes, must be able to secure the backing of 60 senators to overcome the possibility of a filibuster. The fast pace also may be an asset, said Senate historian Donald Ritchie. “Sometimes there’s an advantage in setting a short schedule,” Ritchie said. “That gets people responding to the bill, it’s easier to schedule votes, people are more willing to cut a deal and compromise. Leadership around here often gets their best work done here before a recess when everyone has a plane ticket in their pocket.” – Bloomberg, 6-17-09
    • John Steele Gordon “Financial crisis shifts balance toward regulation”: “In theory, regulation and markets should evolve together. In fact, almost always, regulation comes after disasters” and it isn’t always for the better, said John Steele Gordon, an economic historian and author of the book “The Great Game: The Emergence of Wall Street as a World Power.” “Disasters teach us how to prevent the last disaster,” he said…. – AP, 6-17-09
    • Julian Zelizer & Melissa Lerner: Commentary: Obama can succeed in Mideast: At a time when the Obama administration is dealing with a barely stable economy while trying to address long-term health care, two wars, the environment and the threat of terrorism, many ask whether it is wise for President Obama to try to resolve a problem that has frustrated so many presidents before him.
      With the latest events in Iran, there is even more reason for skepticism that progress towards Arab-Israeli peace is possible.
      Despite conventional wisdom, when presidents have become personally active in shaping American policy in the region and resolved to make the Mideast conflict a top priority, they’ve often succeeded in improving Arab-Israeli relations….
      At the same time, Obama will have to work with the Israeli government — without antagonizing it — in order to gain support for a settlement freeze during the negotiations and to push forward Netanyahu’s promise to make progress towards a viable Palestinian state.
      Finally, Obama can’t take his eye off the domestic front. He must continue to engage the domestic coalitions who are most interested in these policies and ensure they are brought into the deliberations.
      The key will be balance. Obama should take this opportunity to embrace a strategy that is truly even-handed and does not let either side avoid its responsibilities. – CNN, 6-16-09
    • Clive Crook: Is this leadership on health care?: Obama’s hands-off approach to health care reform looks ever more questionable. I’m getting tired of listening to speeches that state uncontroversial goals–widen coverage, curb costs, free doctors from useless paperwork, improve medical outcomes–but have little or nothing to say on how these things might actually be done. It’s one thing to refrain from ramming a fully worked-out blueprint down the throat of a skeptical Congress, another entirely to step back altogether from fundamental questions of design and cost recovery…. – The Atlantic, 6-16-09

    (The official portrait of the Obama family dog, “Bo,” a Portuguese water dog, on the South Lawn of the White House.  Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

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