On This Day in History…. November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was Assassinated in Dallas, Texas

By Bonnie Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor / Features Editor at HNN. She has a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. She blogs at History Musings

IN FOCUS: 47TH ANNIVERSARY OF PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY’S ASSASINATION

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On this day in history… November 22, 1963, John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States (1961-63), was assassinated at 12:30 p.m. by Lee Harvey Oswald, while in a Presidential motorcade in Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas heading towards the Texas School Book Depository. Kennedy was in a open limousine waving at the cheering crowd with First Lady Jackie Kennedy, and Texas Governor John Connally and his wife Nelly when three shots in succession erupted, which hit the President, and the Governor. The motorcade rushed to Parkland Hospital, where President Kennedy was pronounced dead at 46 years, 30 minutes after the shooting. As news of the assassination was first announced on CBS by anchor Walter Chronkite, there was an immediate outpouring of grief by the nation that mourned the lost of an idealized young President. In a new book “The Kennedy Detail” Secret Service agent Clint Hill has said; “It has taken me decades to learn to cope with the guilt and sense of responsibility for the president’s death, and I have made it a practice to keep my memories to myself. I don’t talk to anybody about that day.”

At 2:38 p.m. Vice-President Lyndon Baines Johnson was sworn in as the 36th US president, aboard Air Force One with Jackie Kennedy standing by his side, still wearing the clothes stained with the President’s blood. Police arrested Oswald two hours later. Oswald, a Soviet sympathesizer with ties to the Fair Play for Cuba Committee had shot Kennedy from the school book repository building. Two days later, Jack Ruby, a Dallas nightclub owner fatally shot Oswald, as he was being transferred from Dallas Police Headquarters to the Dallas County Jail; Ruby claimed he wanted to spare Jackie Kennedy any further grief.

Three days later on November 25, 1963 a state funeral was held for the slain President. It was a preceded by a repose of Kennedy’s body in the East Room of the White House for 24 hours on the 23rd. On Sunday, the 24th, the President’s coffin was carried by the same horse drawn carriage as President Franklin Deleno Roosevelt and the Unknown Soldier before him, to the Capitol building where his body laid in state for 18 hours, with 250,000 people visiting his casket.

File:Kennedy salute.gifOn Monday, one million gathered on the route of the processional from the Capitol to St. Matthew’s Cathedral, where the funeral was held. Foreign dignitaries from 90 countries, including 19 heads of state came to pay their respects, and millions of Americans watched the funeral on TV, which was covered by then three big networks; ABC, CBS, and NBC. After the Requiem Mass, as the President’s body was carried from the cathedral, three year old John Jr. saluted his father’s casket giving the mourning nation an iconic image to remember. Kennedy was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, after the service Jackie Kennedy lit an eternal flame that remains burning over the President’s grave site.


This past March historian Ellen Fitzpatrick published her book “Letters to Jackie: Condolences from a Grieving Nation,” speaking to PBS’s Newshour about the purpose of the book and looking back at the memory of President Kennedy, she claimed; “And what I was trying to get at was how Americans in the moment viewed John F. Kennedy. It seemed to me that, in the decades since his death, there’s been so much historical revisionism, much of it appropriate, that dismantled the hagiography that grew up around him in the immediate aftermath of his assassination. But it had become increasingly difficult for students, for younger people, even people of my own generation, to recover that moment, the kind of idealism and faith that people had and the way that President Kennedy was viewed in his time…. So, I was thinking, how can I recapture this? And I went into the archives. I asked the archivist. I remembered the condolence letters. I remembered Mrs. Kennedy thanking the public.”

  • 47th anniversary of JFK’s assassination in PhotosMSNBC, 11-22-10
  • Kennedy assassination: Where were you? (Photos): Pearl Harbor, 9/11 and JFK’s assassination. Today is one of those thankfully few dates in American history that rocked the nation with a tragedy so big it stopped the clocks in people’s memories. Forty-seven years ago, John F. Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas, Texas…. – WaPo, 11-22-10
  • Nov. 22, 1963: The Death of a President Remembering the Fateful Day in Dallas When President John F. Kennedy Was Assassinated: It seems so long ago, and so recent. Those of a certain age will remember where they were 47 years ago today when they heard about the shots ringing out in Dallas. Subsequent assassinations of public figures did not quell the pain felt by the nation when President John F. Kennedy was killed, less than three years after entering office, at the age of 46. Shortly after noon on November 22, 1963, President Kennedy was waving to the cheering crowd as his motorcade passed the Texas School Book Depository on Elm Street when gunfire was heard. The president slumped into the back seat of his open limousine with gaping wounds in his head and neck. He lost consciousness immediately…. – CBS News, 11-22-10

Walter Cronkite announces death of JFK on CBS

  • John F. Kennedy, in memoriam: It’s Nov. 22, and that may never be a normal date for political America. A full 47 years after the assassination of President John Kennedy, his murder continues to attract attention from historians, politicians, popular culture, and, of course, conspiracy theorists — just as it has since that fateful day in Dallas. The USA TODAY website has an interesting retrospective on JFK’s America, including a photo gallery… – USA Today, 11-22-10
  • John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas 47 years ago today: Forty-seven years ago today, President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed while riding in a motorcade through Dallas with his wife, Jacqueline, and Texas officials. Kennedy’s birthplace on Beals Street in Brookline reopened on Sunday for a small ceremony marking his death. The National Park Service, which runs the site, officially closed for the season in October. At the JFK Library in Dorchester, a memorial wreath has been installed in the lobby of the presidential library. The library recently upgraded its internet presence to focus on the date 50 years ago when JFK was elected president. The National Archives has collected hundreds of thousands of documents relating to Kennedy’s assassination and the multiple investigations into the shooting of the president. Lee Harvey Oswald, who was himself murdered on Nov. 24, was charged with shooting Kennedy from the sixth floor of what was then known as Texas School Book Depository in Dallas’ Dealey Plaza. The building is now a major museum. Boston Globe, 11-22-10
JFK Assination

Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson takes the presidential oath of office aboard Air Force One at Love Field in Dallas just two hours after Kennedy was shot. (Cecil Stoughton)

  • Front pages largely ignore today’s anniversary of JFK assassinationUSA Today, 11-22-10
  • JFK Assassination Anniversary: Eternal Flame Flickers but Still Burns: Forty-seven years later, it all seems part of another world defined by black-and-white television, the black-and-white certainties of the Cold War and black-and-white racial relations. Even if he had served two full terms as president, JFK (born in 1917 and afflicted with Addison’s disease) almost certainly would be long dead by now. Few remain who were close to John Kennedy (aside from his daughter, Caroline) following the deaths of Ted Kennedy last year and “ask not” speechwriter Ted Sorensen three weeks ago.
    Today’s Americans – no matter what age – have become hardened by the shock of wrenching events from the 9/11 attacks to the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy and the shooting of Ronald Reagan. But for teenagers born after World War II, this was not how it was supposed to be in 1963. Assassination meant John Wilkes Booth and Mrs. Lincoln’s evening at the theater…. – Politics Daily, 11-22-10
  • John F. Kennedy Assassination Still Intrigues, 47 Years Later New JFK Documentary and Motion Picture Will Probe Grim Day in Dallas: 47 years have passed since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, but the man who served less than a full term in office still casts a long shadow over the American politics and culture even as his relatives have slowly retreated from it. A new movie, as well as a documentary featuring Secret Service agents on duty in Dallas when JFK was shot, ensure that the Kennedy assassination will not fade from our minds any time soon.
    In January, when JFK’s nephew Patrick leaves Congress, it will be the first time since 1944 that no member of the Kennedy clan is on Capitol Hill. The retiring Rep. Kennedy was not even born when his uncle was killed, but the events of that day in Dallas still capture the interest of Americans. The documentary about the Secret Service is set to air Monday night on Discovery…. – ABC News, 11-22-10

Discovery JFK Assassination

  • The John F. Kennedy assassination: Four unanswered questions: The Kennedy assassination, a pivotal moment in American life, has fascinated historians, conspiracy theorists, and filmmakers, among others. Some questions might never be answered….
    Forty-seven years ago today President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. It was an event of only a few seconds, but it was a hinge of history, something of such political and cultural importance that at dusk on Nov. 22, 1963, America was a different country than it had been at sunrise. Sheer shock was part of it. Almost everyone past preschool age at the time can say where they were when they heard the news, as today a new generation will always remember what they were doing on Sept. 11, 2001. Given its importance, the Kennedy assassination over the generations has been a subject of unending fascination to historians, filmmakers, novelists, conspiracy theorists, and ordinary citizens alike. Notable works range from director Oliver Stone’s “JFK,” a dense, purposely chaotic take that depicts the assassination as the work of a conspiracy, to attorney Vincent Bugliosi’s 2007 book “Reclaiming History,” a massive book of over 2,000 pages that attempts not just to refute conspiracy theorists, but to mock them, so that no one will take them seriously again…. – CS Monitor, 11-22-10
  • Young, old visit Dealey Plaza to mark anniversary of JFK assassinationDallas Morning News, 11-22-10
  • 47 years after JFK assassination, Sixth Floor Museum serves visitors who remember and those not yet born: Today, exactly 47 years after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the museum that has chronicled that fateful day finds itself in a delicate balancing act. On the one hand, The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza wants to keep jogging the emotions of those old enough to recall the tragedy. On the other, it needs to find ways to explain the killing – using updated technology – to those who were yet to be born. “We’re at a pivotal moment right now,” said Nicola Longford, the museum’s executive director. “We’re changing from memory to history.”… – Dallas Morning News, 11-22-10
  • JFK’s Secret Service agents reflect on loss of a president: We couldn’t help, but we felt like we failed. It was a terrible feeling. –Jerry Blaine, former Secret Service agent
    After mostly avoiding the spotlight for decades, many of the former U.S. Secret Service agents who were assigned to protect President John F. Kennedy are now offering their accounts of the day he was assassinated, 47 years ago Monday. After the first shot hit the president, former agent Clint Hill says, “I saw him grab at his throat and lean to his left. So I jumped and ran.” Hill is the man seen running toward the limousine in the famous film of the shooting, captured by a bystander named Abraham Zapruder. Hill jumped onto the back of the presidential car, in a desperate attempt to protect the president. “Just before I got to the car, the third shot hit him in the head.” Hill says.”It was too late.”
    First lady Jackie Kennedy had climbed onto the back hood of the car, but Hill moved her back into her seat, and attempted to shield the two of them from any further bullets, as the car sped to the hospital. As the president’s head lay in her lap, Hill heard Mrs. Kennedy say, “Oh, Jack, what have they done to you?”
    A newly detailed account of the assassination is laid out in the new book “The Kennedy Detail,” by former agent Jerry Blaine, written with journalist Lisa McCubbin, based on interviews with many of the agents who covered Kennedy. Former agent Hill, who has rarely granted interviews about the shooting, wrote a foreword…. – CNN, 11-21-10
  • Kennedy bodyguard nearly shot successor: A member of John F. Kennedy’s elite security detail wrote in a new book that he nearly shot the president’s successor Lyndon Johnson, just hours after the late leader was felled by an assassin’s bullet. Gerald Blaine, a member of the US Secret Service, recounted, in his just-published book “The Kennedy Detail,” that on the night of the assassination, he was assigned to protect the newly-sworn President Lyndon Johnson. In an interview with CNN Monday, 47 years after Kennedy’s November 22, 1963 assassination, Blaine discussed how he almost mistakenly shot Johnson.
    “It was about 2:15 in the morning at The Elms, which was Johnson’s residence before he became president. I heard, all of a sudden, a person approaching,” Blaine said. The now-retired secret service agent said that, fearing an attempt against the life of the new president, he raised his gun and put his finger on the trigger, only to see Johnson rounding the corner of the residence. “He turned white, he turned around and walked in — and that was the last that was ever said of it,” Blaine recalled…. – AFP, 11-22-10
  • JFK’s Assassination: ‘Changing From Memory To History’: Most any American who was over the age of five or so on Nov. 22, 1963, has answered this question more than once: Where were you when you heard President Kennedy had been killed? Many of us were at school or at work. Many recall the moment when CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite told the nation that “President Kennedy died at 1 p.m. Central Standard Time — two o’clock Eastern Standard Time, some 38 minutes ago.” Even the usually unflappable Cronkite had to pause for a moment, take off his glasses, and collect himself before going on.
    Today’s Dallas Morning News has a story headlined “47 Years After JFK Assassination, Sixth Floor Museum Adapts To New Era.” It underscores how things are changing as more and more Americans can’t relate to what happened in Dallas because they weren’t even born then. After all, the Census Bureau says nearly 70% of the population is under the age of 50. So, as the Morning News says:
    “On the one hand, The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza wants to keep jogging the emotions of those old enough to recall the tragedy. On the other, it needs to find ways to explain the killing — using updated technology — to those who were yet to be born. “‘We’re at a pivotal moment right now,’ said Nicola Longford, the museum’s executive director. ‘We’re changing from memory to history.’ ”
    According to the Morning News, those who are too young to recall what happened on that day want much more than “artifacts in glass cases” and a plaza that has been “preserved to look like it did the day the president was shot.” They want interactive displays and lots of context. Adapting the museum to a changing population obviously makes sense…. – NPR, 11-22-10
  • First Poster: Katie Holmes as Jackie in ‘The Kennedys’: The eight-part miniseries premieres on The History Channel in 2011. The first promotional poster of Katie Holmes as Jackie Kennedy Onassis has hit the web. Monday is the 47th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. “We have these wonderful seamstresses who are creating beautiful dresses that are obviously replicas of real things [Kennedy] wore,” Holmes has said. “Her great style was both appropriate for every event that she went to and also classic, and also things that were wearable. I feel really lucky to be playing her.” The poster also shows Greg Kinnear as JFK, Barry Pepper as Bobby and Tom Wilkinson as their father, Joseph. The eight-part miniseries premieres in early 2011. It was also recently announced that Leonardo DiCaprio will star and produce a movie about the JFK’s assassination…. – Hollywood Reporter, 11-22-10
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March 1, 2009: Obama Presents the Budget, Announces Iraq Troops Pull Out Date & CPAC Meets

THE OBAMA PRESIDENCY:

Your Weekly Address

White House Photo 2/28/2009

Your Weekly Address

President Obama explains how the budget he sent to Congress will fulfill the promises he made as a candidate, and assures special interests that he is ready for the fight.

Watch the Video

President Obama announces outlines for the FY2010 Budget

White House photo 2/26/09 by Pete Souza

The Budget

Read the outlines of the President’s FY2010 budget — then view a slideshow of behind-the-scenes images.

Read the President's Remarks
See the Slideshow

President Obama

IN FOCUS: STATS

The President Addresses Joint Session of Congress

In Focus: Stats

  • In Conservatives’ Straw Poll, Romney Still Tops: Mr. Romney won the support of 30 percent of those who took the poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
    Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana trailed in second place with 14 percent.
    Followed by Representative Ron Paul of Texas and Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, who both received 13 percent of the vote.
    Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich rounded out the top five.
    Organizers said it was the third time that Mr. Romney had won the poll. NYT, 2-28-09
  • CNN Poll: Palin GOP favorite in 2012 – but pollster says poll has no value:
    The CNN survey showed the Alaska governor to be the preference of 29 percent of those polled. Mike Huckabee scored a close second with 26 percent opting for him.
    Mitt Romney was the favorite for 21 percent of the respondents.
    Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal received nine percent of the poll CS Monitor, 2-27-09
  • Obama’s Speech: 52 Million-Plus TV Viewers: More than 52 million people watched President Obama’s first address to a joint session of Congress in prime time on Tuesday, according to Nielsen Media Research. – NYT, 2-25-09
  • Fact Check on President Obama’s Speech: Fox News, 2-25-09

THE HEADLINES….

Your Weekly Address

The Headlines…

  • Among the Young Conservatives Notes from CPAC, the national conservative conference, where this week youth has been served: With the Republicans soundly defeated in both Congress and the White House last November and Obama approval ratings maintaining impressive heights, the party has appeared weak and divided. However, the conservative coalition at CPAC is both boisterous and united, and none are more enthusiastic about the party’s future than its youngest members. – Newsweek, 2-28-09
  • Problems face Sebelius if she is next health chief: A health care system overhaul, weak finances in Medicare, lapses in food safety. Those challenges and more await Kathleen Sebelius as President Barack Obama’s health secretary. – AP, 3-1-09
  • Leaving Iraq: Shift to south, exit through desert: The U.S. military map in Iraq in early 2010: Marines are leaving the western desert, Army units are in the former British zone in the south and the overall mission is coalescing around air and logistics hubs in central and northern Iraq. Meanwhile, commanders will be shifting their attention to helping Iraqi forces take full control of their own security. – AP, 3-1-09
  • Mideast peace, Russian ties next up for Clinton: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is using her second overseas trip to assess Mideast peace prospects, reconnect with European allies and remind her Russian counterpart that U.S. efforts to rebuild relations with Moscow have their limits. – AP, 3-1-09
  • Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius tapped to lead HHS: Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is President Barack Obama’s choice for secretary of health and human services, a White House source said Saturday. The source, who was not authorized to speak on the record, said Obama will formally announce the nomination on Monday. – AP, 2-28-09
  • The Ghost of John McCain at CPAC: Had Senator John McCain been walking the halls of the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington this week, he might have winced to hear his name taken in vain — over and over again. – NYT, 2-28-09
  • Obama challenges lobbyists to legislative duel: President Barack Obama challenged the nation’s vested interests to a legislative duel Saturday, saying he will fight to change health care, energy and education in dramatic ways that will upset the status quo.
    “The system we have now might work for the powerful and well-connected interests that have run Washington for far too long. But I don’t. I work for the American people…. I know these steps won’t sit well with the special interests and lobbyists who are invested in the old way of doing business, and I know they’re gearing up for a fight. My message to them is this: So am I.” – AP, 2-28-09
  • Obama sets firm withdrawal timetable for Iraq: President Barack Obama consigned the Iraq war to history Friday, declaring he will end combat operations within 18 months and open a new era of diplomacy in the Middle East. “Let me say this as plainly as I can: By August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end,” Obama told Marines who are about to deploy by the thousands to the other war front, Afghanistan. – AP, 2-27-09
  • Guard to pull out of New Orleans after 3 1/2 years: Three and a half years after Hurricane Katrina, the National Guard is pulling the last of its troops out of New Orleans this weekend, leaving behind a city still desperate and dangerous. Residents long distrustful of the city’s police force are worried they will have to fend for themselves. – AP, 2-27-09
  • AP Source: Obama to rescind Bush abortion rule: President Barack Obama plans to repeal a Bush administration rule that has become a flash point in the debate over a doctor’s right not to participate in abortions. The regulation, instituted in the last days of the Bush administration, strengthened job protections for doctors and nurses who refuse to provide a medical service because of moral qualms. – AP, 2-27-09
  • Obama budget gives Dems a roadmap, GOP a target: With ambitious plans to change health care, energy, farm payments, taxes and more, President Barack Obama’s budget gives congressional Democrats goals to reach for. And highlights political targets for Republicans to aim at. “Our work is well cut out for us,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said as she praised a “wonderful blueprint” from the administration that looks beyond reviving a weak economy and restoring order to the credit markets. – AP, 2-27-09
  • House OKs $410B spending, reverses Bush policies: The Democratic-controlled House pushed through a $410 billion measure Wednesday that boosted domestic programs, bristled with earmarks and chipped away at policies left behind by the Bush administration. The vote was 245-178, largely along party lines. – AP, 2-26-09
  • Obama: Financial sector needs stronger regulations: After devoting money and time in search of a rescue for the ailing banking sector, President Barack Obama on Wednesday demanded tough new regulations to keep financial institutions in check and avoid future Wall Street meltdowns. – AP, 2-26-09
  • Examine the Budget Document Yourself: President Obama presented his budget outline for fiscal year 2010 Thursday. The $3.55 trillion spending plan Mr. Obama is undertaking signals a radical change of course that Congress has yet to endorse. – NYT, 2-26-09

Your Weekly Address

White House Photo 2/28/2009

Your Weekly Address

President Obama explains how the budget he sent to Congress will fulfill the promises he made as a candidate, and assures special interests that he is ready for the fight.

Watch the Video

President Obama announces outlines for the FY2010 Budget

  • The Early Word: Budget Blueprint: This morning, President Obama presented the broad outlines of his first budget, which projects a huge deficit number — $1.75 trillion — as well as a combination of cuts in government spending as well as tax increases…. – NYT, 2-26-09
  • Obama budget: Mammoth deficits but headed lower: President Barack Obama charted a dramatic new course for the nation Thursday with a bold but contentious budget proposing higher taxes for the wealthy and the first steps toward guaranteed health care for all — accompanied by an astonishing $1.75 trillion federal deficit that would be nearly four times the highest in history. – AP, 2-26-09
  • The Budget as Political Statement: The word “passion” is not always associated with “budget,” but to read the language in President Obama’s spending plan is to be reminded that a president’s budget is as much a political statement as it is a compilation of charts and graphs. – NYT, 2-26-09
  • Gates: Family would have to OK photos of war dead: The Obama administration is reversing an 18-year ban on news coverage of the return of war dead, allowing photographs of flag-covered caskets when families of the fallen troops agree, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday. – AP, 2-26-09
  • Top lawmakers skeptical of Obama’s Iraq plan: Congressional leaders were skeptical as they awaited details on President Barack Obama’s plan to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq while leaving tens of thousands behind. Senior administration officials were expected to outline a plan that would bring most of the 142,000 forces home by August 2010. As many as 50,000 troops could remain for cleanup and protection operations. – AP, 2-26-09
  • Some US forces will face combat after Iraq pullout: Some of the U.S. forces likely to remain in Iraq after President Barack Obama fulfills his pledge to withdraw combat troops would still have a combat role fighting suspected terrorists, the Pentagon said Wednesday. – AP, 2-26-09
  • Senate Passes D.C. Voting Rights Bill, 61-37: By a vote of 61-37, the Senate passed a bill providing full voting representation for the nation’s capital in the House of Representatives, nearly ensuring that the measure will become law this time around. While advocates were declaring victory already, a court fight almost definitely looms over the constitutionality of giving the District of Columbia voting privileges in the House that are akin to those of the 50 states. – NYT, 2-26-09
  • Governor Jindal, Rising G.O.P. Star, Plummets After Speech: Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana has been a rising star in the Republican Party, but his stock took a hit as he was roundly panned for his televised response to President Obama’s first speech to Congress on Tuesday night. Conservative commentators were among the harshest critics, calling Mr. Jindal’s delivery animatronic, his prose “cheesy” and his message — that federal spending is not the answer to the nation’s economic problems — uninspired. – NYT, 2-25-09

Your Weekly Address

White House Photo 2/28/2009

Your Weekly Address

President Obama explains how the budget he sent to Congress will fulfill the promises he made as a candidate, and assures special interests that he is ready for the fight.

Watch the Video

President Obama announces outlines for the FY2010 Budget

White House photo 2/26/09 by Pete Souza

The Budget

Read the outlines of the President’s FY2010 budget — then view a slideshow of behind-the-scenes images.

Read the President's Remarks
See the Slideshow

President Obama

White House photo 2/27/09 by Pete Souza

Responsibly Ending the War in Iraq

In a speech at Camp LeJeune in North Carolina, President Obama laid out his plan for responsibly ending the war in Iraq, which will end the combat mission by August 2010.

Read the President's remarks

Commerce Secretary-designate Gary Locke

  • Commerce Pick Carries Lengthy China Résumé: Top slots in the Obama administration were filling up fast when Gary Locke was asked by a friend several weeks ago whether he expected to get a job offer from the new president. – NYT, 2-25-09
  • Senate Confirms Solis as Labor Secretary: The Senate official confirmed Representative Hilda L. Solis to be the Secretary of Labor in the Obama administration, after several weeks of delays prompted largely by Republican concerns over her nomination. – NYT, 2-24-09
  • Health care costs to top $8,000 per person: A new government report on medical costs paints a stark picture for President Barack Obama, who is expected to call for a health care overhaul in a speech Tuesday night to a joint session of Congress. – AP, 2-24-09
  • Obama nixes plan to tax motorists on mileage: President Barack Obama on Friday rejected his transportation secretary’s suggestion that the administration consider taxing motorists based on how many miles they drive instead of how much gasoline they buy. – AP, 2-21-09
  • Clinton in China pushes environment, finance: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chinese officials agreed Saturday to focus their governments’ efforts on stabilizing the battered global economy and combating climate change, putting aside long-standing concerns about human rights. – AP, 2-21-09

POLITICAL QUOTES

President Obama at Camp LeJeune

Political Quotes

  • Remarks of President Barack Obama Weekly Address, Saturday, February 28th, 2009, Washington, DC: “I realize that passing this budget won’t be easy. Because it represents real and dramatic change, it also represents a threat to the status quo in Washington. I know that the insurance industry won’t like the idea that they’ll have to bid competitively to continue offering Medicare coverage, but that’s how we’ll help preserve and protect Medicare and lower health care costs for American families. I know that banks and big student lenders won’t like the idea that we’re ending their huge taxpayer subsidies, but that’s how we’ll save taxpayers nearly $50 billion and make college more affordable. I know that oil and gas companies won’t like us ending nearly $30 billion in tax breaks, but that’s how we’ll help fund a renewable energy economy that will create new jobs and new industries. I know these steps won’t sit well with the special interests and lobbyists who are invested in the old way of doing business, and I know they’re gearing up for a fight as we speak. My message to them is this: “So am I.” – WH Blog, 2-28-09
  • Transcript of Rush Limbaugh’s Address at CPAC On conservative conference’s final day, talk radio host delivers impassioned address, drawing immense ovation: ….When we look out over the United States of America, when we are anywhere, when we see a group of people, such as this or anywhere, we see Americans. We see human beings. We don’t see groups. We don’t see victims. We don’t see people we want to exploit. What we see — what we see is potential. We do not look out across the country and see the average American, the person that makes this country work. We do not see that person with contempt. We don’t think that person doesn’t have what it takes. We believe that person can be the best he or she wants to be if certain things are just removed from their path like onerous taxes, regulations and too much government. [Applause]
    We want every American to be the best he or she chooses to be. We recognize that we are all individuals. We love and revere our founding documents, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. [Applause] We believe that the preamble to the Constitution contains an inarguable truth that we are all endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, among them life. [Applause] Liberty, Freedom. [Applause] And the pursuit of happiness. [Applause] Those of you watching at home may wonder why this is being applauded. We conservatives think all three are under assault. [Applause] Thank you. Thank you…..
    Now, let me speak about President Obama for just a second. President Obama is one of the most gifted politicians, one of the most gifted men that I have ever witnessed. He has extraordinary talents. He has communication skills that hardly anyone can surpass. No, seriously. No, no, I’m being very serious about this. It just breaks my heart that he does not use these extraordinary talents and gifts to motivate and inspire the American people to be the best they can be. He’s doing just the opposite. And it’s a shame. [Applause]….
    President Obama is so busy trying to foment and create anger in a created atmosphere of crisis, he is so busy fueling the emotions of class envy that he’s forgotten it’s not his money that he’s spending. [Applause] In fact, the money he’s spending is not ours. He’s spending wealth that has yet to be created. And that is not sustainable. It will not work. This has been tried around the world. And every time it’s been tried, it’s a failed disaster. What’s the longest war in American history? Did somebody say the war on poverty? Smart group. War on poverty. The war on poverty essentially started in the ’30s as part of the New Deal, but it really ramped up in the ’60s with Lyndon Johnson, part of the Great Society war on poverty. We have transferred something like 10 trillion, maybe close to 11 trillion, from producers and earners to nonproducers and nonearners since 1965. Yet, as I listen to the Democratic Party campaign, why, America is still a soup kitchen, the poor is still poor and they have no hope and they’re poor for what reason? They’re poor because of us, because we don’t care, and because we’ve gotten rich by taking from them, that’s what kids in school are taught today. That’s what others have said to the media. You know why they’re poor, you know why they remain poor? Because their lives have been destroyed by the never- ending government hay that’s designed to help them, but it destroys ambition. It destroys the education they might get to learn to be self-fulfilling. [Applause]….
    President Obama, and take your pick of any Democrat, love to say we’ve tried it your way. Meaning Reaganism. We’ve tried it your way. We tried it your way in the ’80s and it didn’t work. We tried it your way eight years, the last eight years and it didn’t work. Excuse me. Excuse me. Have you ever noticed those of you watching around the world in my first international address to the world, Fox is on some international satellites. They’re watching this in the UK right now going (cringing). When Obama talks about past economies, he somehow always leaves out the recession of the ’80s as worse than this one. Why does he leave it out? Because you know why he leaves it out, America? He leaves it out because we got out of that recession with tax cuts. [Applause] For those of you watching at home, I’m not nervous it’s just really hot in here. These people are wired. We got out of the 1980s recession with tax cuts. Do you know that President Obama, in six weeks of his administration, has proposed more spending than from the founding of the country to his inauguration? Now, this is not prosperity. It is not going to engender prosperity. It’s not going to create prosperity and it’s also not going to advance or promote freedom. It’s going to be just the opposite. There are going to be more controls over what you can and can’t do, how you can and can’t do it, what you can and can’t drive, what you can and can’t say, where you can and can’t say it. All of these things are coming down the pike, because it’s not about revenue generation to them, it’s about control. They do believe that they have compassion. They do believe they care. But, see, we never are allowed to look at the results of their plans, we are told we must only look at their good intentions, their big hearts. The fact that they have destroyed poor families by breaking up those families by offering welfare checks to women to keep having babies no more father needed, he’s out doing something, the government’s the father, they destroy the family. We’re not supposed to analyze that. We’re not supposed to talk about that. We’re supposed to talk about their good intentions. They destroy people’s futures. The future is not Big Government. Self-serving politicians. Powerful bureaucrats. This has been tried, tested throughout history. The result has always been disaster. President Obama, your agenda is not new. It’s not change, and it’s not hope. [Applause] ….. – Fox News, 3-1-09
  • Obama challenges lobbyists to legislative duel: “The system we have now might work for the powerful and well-connected interests that have run Washington for far too long. But I don’t. I work for the American people…. I know these steps won’t sit well with the special interests and lobbyists who are invested in the old way of doing business, and I know they’re gearing up for a fight. My message to them is this: So am I.” – AP, 2-28-09
  • Rep. John Boehner of Ohio “Obama budget gives Dems a roadmap, GOP a target”: “The era of big government is back and Democrats are asking you to pay for it,” said Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, the House GOP leader. “The administration’s plan I think is a job killer, plain and simple. And it raises taxes on all Americans while we’re in the middle of a recession.” – AP, 2-27-09
  • President Obama said at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina about “Responsibly Ending the War in Iraq”: “Let me say this as plainly as I can: by August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end. I want to be very clear,” the President said. “We sent our troops to Iraq to do away with Saddam Hussein’s regime – and you got the job done. We kept our troops in Iraq to help establish a sovereign government – and you got the job done. And we will leave the Iraqi people with a hard-earned opportunity to live a better life – that is your achievement; that is the prospect that you have made possible.” – WH Blog, 2-27-09
  • Obama: Financial sector needs stronger regulations: “We can no longer sustain 21st century markets with 20th century regulation…. Wall Street wrongly presumed the markets would continuously rise and traded in complex financial products without fully evaluating their risks…. Let me be clear: The choice we face is not between some oppressive government-run economy or a chaotic and unforgiving capitalism. Rather, strong financial markets require clear rules of the road, not to hinder financial institutions, but to protect consumers and investors, and ultimately to keep those financial institutions strong.” – AP, 2-26-09
  • Senator Robert C. Byrd: Longest-Serving Senator Gives Obama a History Lesson: “I am concerned about the relationship between these new White House positions and their executive branch counterparts. Too often, I have seen these lines of authority and responsibility become tangled and blurred, sometimes purposely, to shield information and to obscure the decision-making process…. At the worst, White House staff have taken direction and control of programmatic areas that are the statutory responsibility of Senate-confirmed officials. In too many instances, White House staff have been allowed to inhibit openness and transparency, and reduce accountability.” – NYT, 2-25-09
  • President Obama said in announcing former Washington governor Gary Locke as his choice to lead the Commerce Department: “Gary knows the American Dream. He’s lived it. And that’s why he shares my commitment to do whatever it takes to keep it alive in our time. It is the task of the Department of Commerce to help create conditions in which our workers can prosper, our businesses can thrive, and our economy can grow. That’s what Gary did in Washington state, convincing businesses to set up shop and create the jobs of the 21st century — jobs in science and technology; agriculture and energy — jobs that pay well and can’t be shipped overseas. That’s what he did by establishing favorable markets abroad where Washington state’s businesses could sell their products. That’s what he did by unleashing powerful partnerships between state and local governments, between labor and business — all with an eye toward prosperity and progress for all those in his state who had dreams of their own.” – WH Blog, 2-25-09
  • McCain, at the White House, Questions Obama About Helicopter: “I want to see if, John, you’ve got some thoughts,” Mr. Obama said.
    Mr. McCain stood and thanked him for holding the summit. “I think it was a fruitful discussion,” he said.
    “Your helicopter is now going to cost as much as Air Force One,” Mr. McCain told him. “I don’t think there is any more graphic demonstration of how good ideas have cost taxpayers enormous amounts of money.”
    Mr. Obama agreed. “The helicopter I have now seems perfectly adequate to me,” he said. “Of course, I’ve never had a helicopter before. Maybe I’ve been deprived and I didn’t know it. But I think it is in example of the procurement process gone amok. And we’re going to have to fix it.” – NYT, 2-23-09
  • Hillary Clinton urges China’s continued investment in US: “I certainly do think that the Chinese government and central bank are making a smart decision by continuing to invest in Treasury bonds,” she said during an interview with the popular talk show “One on One.” “It’s a safe investment. The United States has a well-deserved financial reputation.”… “It would not be in China’s interest if we were unable to get our economy moving,” Clinton said. “So by continuing to support American Treasury instruments, the Chinese are recognizing our interconnection. We are truly going to rise or fall together. We are in the same boat and, thankfully, we are rowing in the same direction.” “Our economies are so intertwined, the Chinese know that to start exporting again to their biggest market, namely the United States the United States has to take some very drastic measures with this stimulus package, which means we have to incur more debt.” – AP, 2-22-09

President Obama addresses the nation's governors

  • WEEKLY ADDRESS BY THE PRESIDENT TO THE NATION, SATURDAY, February 21, 2009: “Because of what we did, 95% of all working families will get a tax cut — in keeping with a promise I made on the campaign. And I’m pleased to announce that this morning, the Treasury Department began directing employers to reduce the amount of taxes withheld from paychecks — meaning that by April 1st, a typical family will begin taking home at least $65 more every month. Never before in our history has a tax cut taken effect faster or gone to so many hardworking Americans…. That work begins on Monday, when I will convene a fiscal summit of independent experts and unions, advocacy groups and members of Congress to discuss how we can cut the trillion-dollar deficit that we’ve inherited. On Tuesday, I will speak to the nation about our urgent national priorities, and on Thursday, I’ll release a budget that’s sober in its assessments, honest in its accounting, and that lays out in detail my strategy for investing in what we need, cutting what we don’t, and restoring fiscal discipline.” – WH Blog, 2-21-09

download .mp4

  • Obama warns mayors not to waste stimulus money: “The American people are watching,” Obama told a gathering of mayors at the White House. “They need this plan to work. They expect to see the money that they’ve earned — they’ve worked so hard to earn — spent in its intended purposes without waste, without inefficiency, without fraud.”…. “If a federal agency proposes a project that will waste that money, I will not hesitate to call them out on it, and put a stop to it,” he said. “I want everyone here to be on notice that if a local government does the same, I will call them out on it, and use the full power of my office and our administration to stop it.” – AP, 2-20-09

President Obama at the Fiscal Responsibility Summit

HISTORIANS’ COMMENTS

Historians’ Comments

  • Niall Ferguson “U.S. Recession May Continue Beyond Next Year, Economists Say”: “I find it quite easy to imagine two consecutive years of contraction,” Niall Ferguson, a financial historian at Harvard University, said in one of 11 assessments by economists. “I don’t rule out two more lean years after that,” he said. – Bloomberg, 3-1-09
  • Robert Dallek “‘Great Society’ Plan for the Middle Class “: “There are striking similarities to Johnson and Great Society,” said Robert Dallek, the presidential historian who has written extensively about Johnson’s promise of an end to poverty, a commitment made in a State of the Union address 45 years ago, and one that he was only able to deliver on in part. “Obama’s rhetoric is not as grandiose,” Mr. Dallek said. But he sees risks as well — the risk that Mr. Obama could reinvent Johnson’s mistake. “Vietnam proved, in a few years, that you really can’t do guns and butter. And I worry that Afghanistan could be the parallel for Obama.” – NYT, 2-28-09
  • Julian Zelizer “Obama at the Podium”: President Obama tried to reassure a shaken nation in his first address to Congress last night. Did it work for you? Was the president specific enough? What did he leave out? We’ll have excerpts from the speech, expert commentary and we’ll hear from you. Commentators have likened Obama’s style to conservative Ronald Reagan, and liberal Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Is Obama transcending ideology? – KUOW, Mp3 Download
  • Deborah Meier and Diane Ravitch: Is Arne Duncan Really Margaret Spellings in Drag?: I have been watching and listening to our new secretary of education, trying to understand his views on the most important issues facing our schools and the nation’s children. I wanted to believe candidate Barack Obama when he said that he would introduce real change and restore hope. Surely, I thought, he understood that the deadening influence of No Child Left Behind has produced an era of number-crunching that has very little to do with improving education or raising academic standards.
    We truly need change and hope. I thought he understood. He chose to keep his own children far from NCLB. He decided to send them to a private school in Washington, D.C., that shuns the principles and practices of NCLB.
    However, based on what I have seen to date, I conclude that Obama has given President George W. Bush a third term in education policy and that Arne Duncan is the male version of Margaret Spellings. Maybe he really is Margaret Spellings without the glasses and wearing very high heels. We all know that Secretary Spellings greeted Duncan’s appointment with glee. She wrote him an open letter in which she praised him as “a fellow reformer” who supports NCLB and anticipated that he would continue the work of the Bush administration. (Recall, Deborah, that the media today defines an education reformer as someone who endorses Republican principles of choice and accountability.) – Education Week, 2-24-09
  • Carl Sferrazza Anthony “Is Michelle Obama really in the kitchen?”: “No question about it, Michelle Obama will launch something significant,” said Carl Sferrazza Anthony, a historian at the National First Ladies’ Library and author of several books on presidential spouses. In fact, he said, Obama may be in a position to do exactly what Clinton couldn’t — sell the idea of healthcare reform. After all, if her husband doesn’t bring it about, many supporters will perceive it as a major failure to deliver on a promise. She is well versed on the issue. Before the campaign shifted into high gear, Obama was an executive at the urban hospital network of the University of Chicago. “She has a very practical, hands-on understanding of the reality of the healthcare crisis,” Anthony said. “She could be a very powerful spokesperson for healthcare reform.” – LAT, 2-23-09

    FIRST LADY

Michelle ObamaDoug Mills/The New York Times First Lady Michelle Obama applauded during the president’s speech to Congress.

First Lady

  • The First Lady’s Official Portrait: The White House posted its formal portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama on its Web site on Friday. – 2-27-09
  • Stevie Wonder Honored at the White House: Mr. Obama presented Mr. Wonder with the Second Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. The prize honors artists whose work transcends distinctions between musical styles and idioms, brings diverse listeners together and fosters mutual understanding and appreciation. Paul Simon was the first recipient.
    President Obama: “I think it’s fair to say that had I not been a Stevie Wonder fan, Michelle might not have dated me. We might not have married. The fact that we agreed on Stevie was part of the essence of our courtship…. When I was first discovering music, just like Michelle, it was Stevie’s albums that I found and his songs became the soundtrack of my youth. Through them I found peace and inspiration, especially in difficult times. I’m not alone. Millions of people around the world have found similar comfort and joy in Stevie’s music, and his unique capacity to find hope in struggle, and humanity in our common hardships. This gift that music affords us, transporting us from the here and now, relieving us of our burdens, even if it’s just for the length of a song.”
    Michelle Obama: ““He’d blast music throughout the house. And that’s where he and I would sit and listen to Stevie’s music together. Songs about life, love, romance, heartache, despair. He would let me listen to these songs over and over and over and over again. Years later, I discovered what Stevie meant when he sang about love, Barack and I chose the song, ‘You and I’ as our wedding song.” – NYT, 2-26-09
  • First Lady Talks About Pollution and Climate Change at the E.P.A.: “You ensure that the water we drink is safe, that the air we breathe is clean, and that the polluted fields and abandoned factories in our neighborhoods all over this nation are cleaned up and restored…. Your work will not only save our planet and clean up our environment; it’s going to transform our economy and create millions of well paying jobs. – NYT, 2-29-09
  • Michelle Obama Goes Sleeveless, Again: It is February and Washington is freezing, but in appearance after appearance, the first lady displays her long, muscular arms. She is sleeveless on the cover of the new Vogue, she was sleeveless when she discussed menus on Sunday in the White House kitchen, and last night she was sleeveless again, in the House chamber for her husband’s first address to Congress. (All of the other women in the room seemed to be wearing long sleeves; a few even wore turtlenecks). If she keeps going at this rate, Mrs. Obama may do to dresses with sleeves what President John F. Kennedy did to men’s hats….. NYT, 2-25-09

Jacqueline Kennedy with Family and Friends in Audience, Washington, D. C.: Mrs. John F. Kennedy along with sister Princess Lee Radziwill, Pamela Tur, Joan Kennedy, and Janet A., during President Kennedy's State of the Union address., © Bettmann/CORBIS, RM, Government, Human relationships, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, Janet A., Mid-Atlantic, North America, Pamela Tur, People, Prominent persons, Support, USA, Virginia Joan Kennedy, Washington, DC

U1361979| Standard RM| © Bettmann/CORBIS

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