Arizona Shootings & Gabrielle Giffords Assassination Attempt — A Nation Reacts

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.


  • TIMELINE-Tucson shooting rampage as it unfolded: Here is a timeline of events leading up to the January 8 shooting rampage in Tucson, when a college dropout sprayed a crowd with semi-automatic fire killing six people and wounding 13 including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Police arrested suspect Jared Lee Loughner who was charged in a federal court Monday on five counts including the attempted assassination of Giffords, who remains in critical condition in hospital. Reuters, 1-14-11


    The President & First Lady after his remarks in Tucson
    • From Bloody Scene to E.R., Life-Saving Choices in Tucson NYT, 1-14-11
    • Gabrielle Giffords’ breathing tube might be removed Saturday: Doctors in Tucson say that if they are able to remove Gabrielle Giffords’ breathing tube, they’ll be able to assess how well she is able to talk. Physicians at University Medical Center may try to remove Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ breathing tube on Saturday, the next major hurdle in her recovery, Dr. Peter Rhee said Friday morning in Tucson. Doing so will finally allow them to assess how well she is able to talk after being shot in the head last Saturday morning in the mass shooting outside a Safeway. Her recovery continues to amaze the doctors who have been treating her. “We couldn’t have hoped for any better improvement than we are seeing now given the severity of her injury,” said Dr. Michael Lemole, a neurosurgeon who has been a key member of the team treating her. During the week, Giffords has passed a number of milestones, including moving her hands and arms, opening her eyes, responding to commands, sitting up in bed and lifting her legs. The medical team stopped placing her in the medically induced coma on Thursday and planned to have her start sitting in a chair for brief periods on Friday…. – LAT, 1-14-11
    • Giffords’ doctors balancing role as rock stars: One is an irrepressible South Korea native who has treated some of the most horrific wartime injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan. The other is a reserved neurosurgeon who happens to be the brother-in-law of television show host Dr. Oz. Together, they have stood in their white lab coats before a gaggle of TV cameras every morning to update the nation about their highest-profile patient to date: Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was critically wounded after being shot point-blank in the head last weekend. It’s a role both are still getting used to. Veteran trauma surgeon Dr. Peter Rhee is boisterous, using phrases like “101 percent” survival to describe Giffords’ prognosis. His willingness to share day-to-day details about her progress and his joking demeanor is a draw to those tuning in for the latest signs of improvement. The yin to Rhee’s yang, neurosurgeon Dr. Michael Lemole is more measured. He speaks of Giffords’ recovery with caveats and has declined to speculate on the one question everyone wants to know: what her life might look like down the road. AP, 1-14-11
    • Tucson bishop buries a close friend: Judge John Roll, a Catholic who had just left Mass when he was fatally shot last week, was buried Friday. ‘A lot of emotion,’ says Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas, who performed the service…. – LAT, 1-14-11
    • Police describe accused Arizona gunman’s night: Jared Lee Loughner, charged with killing six people and trying to assassinate a U.S. congresswoman in Arizona, checked into a motel, bought bullets and had photographs developed on the night before the shooting, police said on Friday. The New York Times said the roll of film had “multiple photos” of the 22-year-old college dropout posing in red G-string underwear with a Glock semi-automatic pistol. FBI sources told Reuters they could neither confirm nor deny the report…. – Reuters, 1-14-11
    • Loughner video with ‘genocide’ and ‘torture’ ramblings is released: The YouTube video, which is no longer on the website, prompted the suspension of the Tucson shooting suspect from Pima Community College last year…. – LAT, 1-14-11
    • Loughner’s ‘Dark Personality’ Eluded Scrutineers in Mental Health System: Jared Loughner’s behavior often caught the attention of those around him in the years before he was accused of a mass shooting in Arizona. It took a massacre to raise the question of why no one intervened… “Why didn’t they make sure the mental health system knew about him?” Ira Burnim, legal director of the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law in Washington, said of the community college Loughner attended, where complaints were filed. Authorities are now scrutinizing Loughner’s past for clues about what led to the attack that killed six and wounded 13, including U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who authorities believe was the target and remains in critical condition after being shot in the head…. – Bloomberg, 1-14-11
    • Tucson says farewell to youngest shooting victim: Hundreds of people gathered to say farewell on Thursday to a bright 9-year-old who loved to dance and play baseball, but was gunned down when she went to learn about politics from her congresswoman. Christina Green was the youngest victim of a shooting spree last Saturday that claimed six lives and left Rep. Gabrielle Giffords battling for her life. Her funeral was the first to be held.
      Hundreds of mourners including a group of leather-clad bikers and several of Christina’s classmates began lining both sides of the road outside St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church ahead of her funeral at 1 p.m.. A church bell signaling noon broke the quiet as mourners waited for the service. Family members escorted the small wooden coffin into the church in silence for the service, which was closed to the news media. They filed out to the solemn strains of a piper…. – Reuters, 1-13-11
    • Christina Green’s Short Life Had a Big Impact A Nation Mourns the Death of an Ambitious 9-Year-Old Who Loved Her Country and Baseball: The nine-year-old girl who was born on Sept. 11, 2001 was carried to her funeral beneath a flag that survived the attack that day on the World Trade Center — a symbol of both tragedy and resilience. The service for Christina Green was private, but in death she’s become a public figure. “In Christina we see all of our children,” said President Barack Obama as he spoke at a memorial service for the Ariz. shooting victims on Jan. 12…. – CBS News, 1-13-11
    • Giffords’s Condition Still Improving: Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, recovering from a gunshot wound to the head, is opening both eyes, moving her arms and legs, and undergoing intense physical therapy, her doctors said Thursday. Doctors at the University Medical Center in Tucson said the congresswoman was rubbing her eyes and yawning, and that her eyes could also track people’s movements—a sign that she could see.
      “This is a major leap forward,” said G. Michael Lemole, chief of neurosurgery at the University Medical Center in Tucson. “This is a major milestone for her, and we are hoping she crosses through many more.”… – WSJ, 1-13-11
    • Silence greets calls for changes in gun laws: Most lawmakers are greeting calls for tougher gun restrictions after the Arizona shootings with silence, reflecting the tilt in recent years toward expanding access to firearms rather than curtailing it. The White House, too, is sidestepping questions on an issue that is among the most toxic in U.S. politics. So far, proposed legislation has focused on prohibiting magazine clips that allow a shooter to fire off numerous rounds of ammunition without reloading. The shooter in Tucson, using a Glock semiautomatic pistol with a 33-round magazine, shot 19 people, six fatally. One of the wounded was a member of Congress, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., now in critical condition…. – AP, 1-13-11
    • 911 tapes log harrowing chronicle of Tucson shootings: A calm male voice surrounded by haunting cries of pain tells a 911 dispatcher of multiple shooting victims outside a Tucson supermarket and of wounds to Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
      “There was a shooting at Safeway at Ina and Oracle where Gabrielle Giffords was, I do believe Gaby Giffords was hit,” the male voice says, with almost animal cries and groans of pain in the background.
      “At the Safeway sir? … Was somebody shot there sir?”
      “It looks like a guy had a semi-automatic pistol, and he went in, he just started firing and then he ran,” said the unidentified male voice, adding that the Congresswoman was “hit.”
      “She’s hit, she’s breathing, she still got a pulse … we got one dead… there’s multiple shot.”
      Responder: “Oh my God.”
      The emergency calls, partially redacted, were released by the Pima County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday, and tell a raw, harrowing chronicle of the bloody events as reported by the witnesses at the scene. Reuters, 1-13-11
    • Arizona shooting survivors may face emotional trauma: Doctors say the physical wounds of the mass shooting, in which six people died and 13 were wounded, are healing, but many of the survivors face a long recovery from the emotional trauma. “As far as putting things back together from a surgical point of view, that’s all been done very well,” says Peter Rhee, trauma chief at University Medical Center. “But we’ve got to bring them back as a whole human being. That’s what we try to concentrate on in a trauma center. More than if you’re just alive or dead.” Hospital psychiatrists and social workers experienced in treating emotional issues, post-traumatic stress and depression are stepping in, Rhee says…. – USA Today, 1-13-11
    • College’s Policy on Students Raises Questions: Many people had a glimpse of the deep delusions and festering anger of Jared L. Loughner, but none seemed in a better position to connect the dots than officials at Pima Community College. How should colleges handle emotionally disturbed students, given their limited budgets and resources? After the release of detailed reports the college kept of Mr. Loughner’s bizarre outbursts and violent Internet fantasies, the focus has turned to whether it did all it could to prevent his apparent descent into explosive violence. In September, Pima suspended Mr. Loughner and told him not to return without a psychologist’s letter certifying that he posed no danger. But it took no steps to mandate that he have a psychiatric evaluation, which in Arizona is easier than in many states. Pima, a low-cost commuter school with 68,400 students, is typical of community colleges in having no mental health center of its own. At residential colleges, the centers can make it easier to connect needy students to psychologists…. – NYT, 1-13-11
    • President Obama in Tucson: “The Forces that Divide Us are Not as Strong as Those that Unite Us”: Last night the President spoke to an emotional crowd at a memorial event in Tucson, Arizona. The grief for the victims of the tragic shooting there was overwhelming, but so too was the admiration for the heroes who risked their lives to prevent even greater loss, as well as the hope for the survivors to see full recoveries. The President asked those in the hall and across America to channel their emotions toward the pursuit of a more perfect union, saying that “If this tragedy prompts reflection and debate — as it should — let’s make sure it’s worthy of those we have lost.”… – WH, 1-13-11TranscriptMp4Mp3
    • Obama Calls for New Era of Civility in U.S. Politics: President Obama offered the nation’s condolences to the victims of the Tucson shooting rampage, urging Americans on Wednesday to draw a lesson from the lives of the fallen and the actions of the heroes and usher in a new era of civility in their memory.
      The president, speaking at a memorial service at the University of Arizona on Wednesday evening, eulogized the six people who were killed here on Saturday and asked Americans to pray for the wounded, including Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who the authorities say was the target of an attempted assassination. He sought to elevate his remarks above the politics of the moment, challenging all Americans to take a lesson from the tragedy.
      The memorial service, which was carried on all broadcast and cable television networks, was a largely upbeat celebration to the lives of the fallen. The officials who delivered remarks before the president were interrupted by applause from the audience of 14,000, which included many students. The crowd included retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, a native of Arizona, as well as Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl and Gov. Jan Brewer, all Republicans.
      Mr. Obama spoke after stopping to visit Ms. Giffords in her hospital room. He said he was told that shortly after his visit, Ms. Giffords opened her eyes for the first time…. – NYT, 1-12-11
    • President Obama Calls for Talk That Heals, Not Wounds: President Obama traveled to Tucson Wednesday to help memorialize those who died in Saturday’s shooting rampage, and to honor those who are still struggling with their wounds. He clearly chose to stay above the fray of the partisan commentary that has been flinging across television and computer screens over the last several days, but he didn’t shy away in joining the call for a more civil discourse…. – PBS Newshour, 1-12-11

    The President & First Lady observe a moment of silence

    • Blood libel comment by Sarah Palin sparkes rebuke from Dems, Sen. Gillibrand: ‘This is unhelpful’: Far from backing down, Sarah Palin defended herself today against critics who linked her rhetoric to the Arizona shootings, accusing them of the long-condemned anti-Semitic slur “blood libel.” Palin opponents noted soon after the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) that left six people dead that Palin had posted a map on her website last fall with gun sights on 20 districts, including Giffords’. She announced it with a tweet: “Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!”
      In her defense, Palin argues that she merely used a map of swing states, just like political operations on both sides of the aisle. Her spokeswoman earler said the targets were actually surveyors’ marks. While she absolved herself, she slammed her critics, linking them to the ancient anti-Semitic charge that Jews mix the blood of gentiles in matzoh.
      “Within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible,” Palin said.
      But her evocation of the slur on Jews in connection with the shooting of Arizona’s first Jewish representative did not sit well with many.
      “This is unhelpful,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) before boarding Air Force 1 with President Obama on his way to Tucson to call for healing. “As leaders, we have to use language that brings people together, not more vitriol that divides us.”
      “Instead of dialing down the rhetoric at this difficult moment, Sarah Palin chose to accuse others trying to sort out the meaning of this tragedy of somehow engaging in a ‘blood libel’ against her and others,” said David Harris, president of the National Jewish Democratic Council. “This is of course a particularly heinous term for American Jews, given that the repeated fiction of blood libels are directly responsible for the murder of so many Jews across centuries — and given that blood libels are so directly intertwined with deeply ingrained anti-Semitism around the globe, even today.”… – NY Daily News, 1-12-11
    • Giffords Staffers Keep Working Amid Grief: Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’s district office here at the corner of North Swan Road and East Pima Street opened for business at 8 a.m. Monday, as usual. But the days since Ms. Giffords and three members of her staff were shot—one was killed—have been anything but normal for the employees at the Arizona Democrat’s office, where a shrine of candles, flowers, balloons and posters sprawls out in front…. – WSJ, 1-12-11
    • Cop stopped Jared Lee Loughner hours before he shot Giffords, others in Tucson massacre: An Arizona wildlife officer pulled over Jared Lee Loughner hours before the unstable loner shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 19 others, officials said Wednesday. Loughner, 22, was stopped after he ran a red light at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, but he was let go with just a warning, officials said. The unidentified officer from the Arizona Game and Fish Department took Loughner’s driver’s license and car registration, but found no outstanding warrants on him – or his vehicle. “He was warned and released because we had no probable cause to hold, or do an extensive search,” said Game and Parks spokesman Jim Paxon. Less than three hours later, police say, Loughner turned Giffords’ meet-and-greet at a grocery store into a bloodbath, killing six people and leaving the Democratic congresswoman in critical condition with a gunshot wound to the head…. – NY Daily, 1-12-11
    • ‘Creepy,’ ‘Very Hostile’: A College Recorded Its Fears: Officials at Pima Community College, where Jared L. Loughner was a student, believed that he might be mentally ill or under the influence of drugs after a series of bizarre classroom disruptions in which he unnerved instructors and fellow students, including one occasion when he insisted that the number 6 was actually the number 18, according to internal reports from the college.
      A campus officer wrote in one report in September, six days before Mr. Loughner was suspended, that he and a fellow officer thought “there might be a mental health concern involved with Loughner.”
      In 51 pages of confidential documents released by the college on Wednesday, instructors, students and others described Mr. Loughren as “creepy,” “very hostile,” “suspicious” and someone who had a “dark personality.”… – NYT, 1-12-11
    • Giffords wasn’t shot because of her Judaism, ADL says: An analysis of Internet musings by Jared Lee Loughner dismisses speculation that the accused Arizona gunman may have targeted U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords because she is Jewish. “In the end, the writings so far revealed seem to indicate no particular leanings about race, and it is difficult to come away from the postings with such a conclusion,” according to the analysis published Tuesday by the Anti- Defamation League. The ADL analysis also said that the writings do not “point to a particular ideology or belief system.” Loughner’s “semi-coherent” writings “are indicative of an individual who has been exposed to a number of different ideas, from across the political spectrum, and has sometimes appropriated external concepts — often seemingly divorced from their original context,” the analysis said…. – JTA, 1-12-11
    • In Arizona, Obama to honor memories, speak of hope: Under high expectations to provide healing, President Barack Obama on Wednesday will try to convert the horror of the Arizona shootings into a moment of national unity centering his memorial speech in Tucson on the lives of the victims and the heroism of those who rushed to stop the madness. The president was crafting his speech on Tuesday, and his aides were reluctant to discuss it even broadly in its unfinished form, other than to say it will emphasize the memories of those lost. Still, Obama’s comments since the shooting on Saturday, his experience in dealing with other tragedies and history’s guide offer signs about how he is likely to respond to this moment. At the service Wednesday night, Obama’s main mission will be to honor those who were killed by describing them in personal terms, so the country remembers how they lived, not how they died. He will seek to assure families in grief that the whole country is behind them. And to those grasping for answers after the assassination attempt on Democratic U.S Rep Gabrielle Giffords, Obama will likely explore how “we can come together as a stronger nation” in the aftermath of the tragedy, as he put it earlier this week. What the speech is not likely to be: An examination of divisive partisan rhetoric, or whether it is connected in any way to the rampage that led to the killing of six people and the wounding of 14 others. Standing amidst the people of a grieving community, Obama is expected to focus on a memorial, not a commentary on political civility. This moment as chief consoler comes to all presidents – often many times. And this will not be Obama’s first…. – AP, 1-11-11
    • Doctor: Giffords has ‘101 percent chance’ of surviving Ariz. Congresswoman is moving both arms, breathing on her own: U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was breathing on her own and moving both arms after being shot in the head, doctors said Tuesday. Giffords still has a breathing tube to prevent infections such as pneumonia, said her neurosurgeon Dr. Michael Lemole. “I’m happy to say that she’s holding her own,” he said. Giffords, a three-time Democrat, remained in critical condition at Tucson’s University Medical Center since Saturday when she was shot during a meeting with constituents outside a grocery store. The attack killed six and injured 14 others. Six remained hospitalized. Giffords previously raised two fingers with her left hand and gave a thumbs-up when responding to doctors’ verbal commands. Although her condition has remained virtually unchanged the past few days, doctors were hopeful. “She has a 101 percent chance of surviving,” said trauma chief Dr. Peter Rhee said. “She will not die. She does not have that permission from me.”… – MSNBC, 1-11-11
    • Arizona governor asks residents to pray for victims: Arizona Governor Jan Brewer asked Arizonans on Tuesday to pray for the victims of a Tucson shooting spree that killed six people and wounded 14. Devoting most of her annual State of the State speech to the rampage, Brewer called it “something dark and ugly”, according to a transcript of the speech released by her office. “There is no way to measure what Tucson and all of Arizona lost in that moment,” Brewer said. “The statistics — six dead, 14 wounded — in no way explain the depth of this tragedy.” After paying tribute to the victims, the governor said: “So I ask you to join me in a moment of silence, to pray for those we’ve lost, the injured and the suffering.”… – Reuters, 1-11-11
    • Family of Ariz. mass shooting suspect speaks: The parents of a man charged with trying to assassinate Rep. Gabrielle Giffords expressed sorrow Tuesday for the “heinous events,” their first public remarks since their 22-year-old son was accused of killing six people.
      “There are no words that can possibly express how we feel,” the family of Jared Loughner said in a statement handed to reporters outside their home. “We don’t understand why this happened. It may not make any difference, but we wish that we could change the heinous events of Saturday. We care very deeply about the victims and their families.”
      The family’s statement came as Tucson residents prepared for a community memorial service Tuesday night and a visit from the president a day later…. – AP, 1-11-11
    • Arizona lawmakers take up funeral protest legislation: The Arizona legislature is expected to pass legislation Tuesday targeting a Kansas church whose members have announced they plan to picket the funerals of the victims of Saturday’s shootings in Tucson. The proposed legislation would make it a misdemeanor to protest within 300 feet of a funeral from one hour before until one hour after a funeral, a spokesman for the state House said. The action, according to House spokesman Daniel Scarpinato, is in direct response to the Westboro Baptist Church’s announcement that it will picket the funeral of Christina Green, the 9-year-old who was among six people killed during Saturday’s attempted assassination of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Arizona…. – CNN, 1-11-11
    • Loughner’s Parents Plead for Privacy, and Express Sorrow: The parents of Jared L. Loughner broke their silence Tuesday, asking the media to protect their privacy as their son stands accused of trying to kill a congresswoman in a rampage that killed six people and left 14 others injured.
      “This is a very difficult time for us,” said the statement, issued Tuesday afternoon by Randy and Amy Loughner. “We ask the media to respect our privacy. There are no words that can possibly express how we feel. We wish that there were, so we could make you feel better. We don’t understand why this happened. It may not make any difference, but we wish that we could change the heinous events of Saturday. We care very deeply about the victims and their families. We are so sorry for their loss.”
      The statement came as friends of Jared Loughner said Tuesday that his behavior had become increasingly erratic over the last year, underscored by his fear that two of his closest friends were planning to kill him, one of those friends said Tuesday. “He did not have many friends,” said Zane Gutierrez, 21, who met Mr. Loughner in high school. “We stopped talking to him in March of 2010. He started getting weird.”… – NYT, 1-11-11
    • Suspect in Arizona shooting held without bail: The nation got its first look on Monday at the 22-year-old loner accused of trying to assassinate Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Jared Loughner, head shaved, a cut above the right temple and his hands cuffed, scanned a packed courtroom and sat down. His attorney, who defended “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski, whispered to him. The judge asked Loughner if he understood that he could get life in prison — or the death penalty — for killing federal Judge John Roll, one of the six who died in the shooting rampage at Giffords’ meeting with constituents on Saturday in Tucson. “Yes,” he said, standing at a lecturn in his beige prison jumpsuit. His attorney, Judy Clarke, stood nearby, as did a U.S. marshal. The judge ordered Loughner held without bail…. – AP, 1-10-11
    • Congresswoman raises 2 fingers, gives thumbs-up: Doctors treating Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords said Monday the congresswoman was responding to verbal commands by raising two fingers of her left hand and even managed to give a thumbs-up. Giffords, 40, is in critical condition in the intensive care unit of Tucson’s University Medical Center after she was shot through the head Saturday during a meet-and-greet with voters outside a supermarket. Two patients were discharged Sunday night. Eight others, including Giffords, remained hospitalized. Recent CAT scans showed no further swelling in the brain, but doctors were guarded…. – AP, 1-10-11
    • Palin, Amid Criticism, Stays in Electronic Comfort Zone: Under criticism that her political rhetoric had helped create a climate for political violence, Sarah Palin addressed the issue in trademark fashion: via e-mail to the conservative commentator Glenn Beck. “Our children will not have peace if politicos just capitalize on this to succeed in portraying anyone as inciting terror and violence,” Ms. Palin wrote to Mr. Beck in an e-mail that he read Monday on his radio program.
      Mr. Beck said he received the message over the weekend, when Ms. Palin and her aides were otherwise ignoring requests for comment about the Tucson shootings from members of the mainstream news media. Such unconventional political communication has served Ms. Palin well in the past two years…. – NYT, 1-10-11
    • Gabrielle Giffords recovery continues in aftermath of Tucson shootingWaPo, 1-10-11
    • While Doctors Are Optimistic, Prognosis for Wounded Congresswoman Is Unclear: It could be a year before extent of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ recovery is evident, experts say… – Business Week, 1-10-11
    • Accused Tucson Shooter Jared Loughner Smirks in Court, Smiles for Mug Shot: Doctors ‘Breathe Sigh of Relief’ as Giffords Has No Significant Brain Swelling… – ABC News, 1-10-11
    • Giffords ‘hero’ intern springs into action after shooting: Daniel Hernandez had been intern for Gabrielle Giffords for less than a week… Hernandez lifted her head to make it easier for her to breathe, applied pressure to her wound… “She was obviously in a lot of pain, so I let her know to squeeze my hand,” he says… An Arizona lawmaker calls intern a hero and says he helped save Giffords’ life… – CNN, 1-10-11
    • At Giffords’s Synagogue, Prayers for Recovery: They spilled into the aisles and the corridor, past the extra rows of folding chairs and the congregants packed into the synagogue’s corners. More than 100 people crowded into a special healing service Sunday morning for Representative Gabrielle Giffords at Congregation Chaverim, where she was married three years ago, for a tearful ceremony. Ms. Giffords’s rabbi, friends and admirers gathered to pray for a swift recovery and to honor a woman many described as an inspiration. If the shooting in Tucson on Saturday of 20 people, including Ms. Giffords, shook the entire nation, it hit this city’s Jewish community especially hard, most of all those who belong to Ms. Gifford’s small Reform temple, hidden among tall cactuses on a quiet suburban street…. – NYT, 1-10-11
    • Palin caught in crosshairs map controversy after Tucson shootings: The controversy, which may have caught the Republican by surprise, is the kind of test candidates commonly face in a presidential campaign. How she navigates it, several Republican strategists said Monday, could be a defining moment for her politically. What makes her challenge unique is that it comes as a result of a national tragedy in which there is no known connection between anything Palin said or did and the alleged actions of Jared Loughner, who is accused of fatally shooting six and severely wounding Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and 13 others.
      “It’s absurd to point fingers at Palin, and people who are doing that are just as guilty of politicizing this tragedy as anyone else,” said Todd Harris, a Republican strategist. “At the same time, to the degree that this is a so-called learning moment for the country, I think the public looks to its leaders and pretty quickly decides who has something to teach and who has something to learn. I think that Palin is missing an opportunity to show that she can be a leader at a higher level than she’s been viewed before.”… – WaPo, 1-10-11
    • Sheriff In Giffords Case Lashes Out About Politics: Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik was thrust into the spotlight to face a nation demanding answers in the aftermath of the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. He didn’t mince words. The rampage, he said, grew in part from extreme political rhetoric, bigotry and hatred, especially in his home state of Arizona. Dupnik said he was angry and heartbroken over the tragedy, and was simply speaking his mind as an American, not a law enforcement official. But in the midst of a national media pressure cooker, his comments raised the question: Did he overstep his authority in making the comments that he did?… – NPR, 1-10-11
    • Loughner’s Meltdown Began in Adulthood, Those Near Him Say:
      The cloudy image of the gunman in Saturday’s horrific shooting in Tucson is starting to come into focus, as neighbors and acquaintances paint a picture of a troubled young man whose disturbing behavior started to flare up in just the last few years.
      Alleged gunman Jared Lee Loughner, charged in the shooting that left six dead and 14 wounded including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, has a minor criminal record dating back to 2007. But his former high school principal, Richard Faidley, told that he didn’t have any major disciplinary problems in school before that.
      But Loughner’s problems have now escalated to the point that his family has barricaded itself in their home, hounded by reporters and spectators who want to know how the 22-year-old could have gone on a killing spree on a sunny Saturday afternoon in Tucson.
      The FBI was forced to wait outdoors Monday while the family removed the plywood it had used to blockade the door. After a few minutes of removing the wood, FBI began another search of the property that has been upended in the orderly and ongoing law enforcement investigation.
      Speaking in her annual state of the state speech, Gov. Jan Brewer said the attack was an assault not merely on individuals, but on “on our republic, on our democracy.” She said despite the impact, Arizona will not be brought down. “In fact, we’ve been lifted up by America’s thoughts and prayers and we’re deeply grateful for them,” she said…. – Fox News, 1-10-11
    • Nihilism or Sarah Palin: What motivated Arizona shooting suspect?: Early reports suggest that the philosophies of shooting suspect Jared Loughner are tangled and largely incoherent – ranging from nihilism to ‘lucid dreaming.’ So far, there does not appear to be clear link to talk radio or hyperpartisanship, though that could change.
      Initial reports about Jared Loughner, the 22-year-old college dropout charged with killing six and gravely wounding Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Ariz., Saturday, so far present a picture of a person inspired by a tangled and in some ways nonsensical web of philosophies more than any one person, political movement, or line of thought.
      Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik suggested Saturday that the shootings might have been influenced by “vitriolic rhetoric” in the political discourse. He went on to single out talk radio and Sarah Palin, who, on her website last fall, targeted 20 House districts for Republican takeovers with cross hairs – including Congresswoman Giffords’s.
      Rep. Robert Brady (D) of Pennsylvania is reportedly preparing a bill that would outlaw the use of threatening rhetoric against lawmakers. The investigation of the incident has clearly not finished, and new revelations are sure to come. But at this early stage, no clear links have emerged between Loughner and the current political climate. Rather, acquaintences and criminologists point to a convoluted worldview that appears largely incoherent – ranging from a fascination with dreams to an apparent penchant for nihilism…. – CS Monitor, 1-10-11
    • Jared Loughner appears in court on murder charges: It remains unclear whether Loughner’s alleged actions were politically motivated, stemmed from mental illness or both. But the nice, skinny kid some classmates remember from Tucson’s Mountain View High School appears to have transformed into an oddball with psychological problems. Rants in Loughner’s name on MySpace and YouTube suggest his alleged attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a Democrat, was a politically motivated rebellion, but former friends, co-workers and mental health specialists suggest a personality gone awry, a social outcast whose instability seems to have fallen through the cracks despite the fears of bewildered peers, bosses and educators. Photographed after his arrest with a shaved head and a jarring smile, Loughner bears little resemblance to the longhaired teen high school pals remember… – USA Today, 1-11-11
    • Arizona suspect could face death penalty Report: Jared Loughner purchased ammo hours before shooting spree: Jared Loughner, head shaved, a cut on his right temple and his hands cuffed, stared vacantly at a packed courtroom Monday and sat down. His attorney, who defended “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski, whispered to him. It was the nation’s first look at the 22-year-old loner accused of trying to assassinate Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. The three-term Democrat lay about a 100 miles away in a Tucson intensive care unit, gravely wounded after being shot through the head but able to give a thumbs-up sign that doctors found as a reason to hope.
      Loughner seemed impassive and at one point stood at a lectern in his beige prison jumpsuit. A U.S. marshal stood guard nearby. The judge asked if he understood that he could get life in prison — or the death penalty — for killing federal Judge John Roll, one of six who died in the shooting rampage at Giffords’ outdoor meeting with constituents Saturday in Tucson.
      The judge ordered Loughner held without bail. The next court hearing was set for Jan. 24…. – MSNBC, 1-10-11
    • Thumbnail Sketches Of Victims In Tucson ShootingNPR, 1-9-11
    • Obama Orders U.S. Flags Lowered, Moment Of Silence For Tucson: President Obama ordered all U.S. flags on government buildings and properties lowered to half mast out of respect for the victims of Saturday’s shootings in Tucson.
      The White House also called for the observance of a moment of silence at 11 am EST Monday, “to honor the innocent victims of the senseless tragedy in Tucson, Arizona, including those still fighting for their lives.”
      The White House also postponed a planned trip to Schenectady, NY Tuesday in which the president was to highlight his administration’s efforts to create the enhance the climate for job creation. White House officials hoped to reschedule the trip.
      The move by Obama and his aides to place on hold some of their plans for the week followed the announcement by the House leadership that they were postponing a vote to repeal the health care law and other business in response to the shootings…. – AP, 1-9-11
    • U.S. sees evidence of assassination plot: Federal authorities filed murder charges Sunday against 22-year-old Jared Loughner, as new evidence suggested the alleged gunman in Saturday’s rampage had fixated on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) while his mental health deteriorated…. – WaPo, 1-9-11
    • Federal Charges Cite Assassination Plan: Prosecutors charged Jared L. Loughner, a troubled 22-year-old college dropout, of five federal counts on Sunday, including the attempted assassination of a member of Congress, for his role in a shooting rampage that left 20 people wounded, six of them fatally, on Saturday morning.
      Evidence seized from Mr. Loughner’s home, about five miles from the shooting, indicated that he had planned to kill Representative Gabrielle Giffords, Democrat of Arizona, according to documents filed in the Federal District Court in Phoenix. Special Agent Tony M. Taylor Jr. of the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in an affidavit that an envelope found in a safe in the home bore these handwritten words: “I planned ahead,” “My assassination” and “Giffords.”
      Mr. Loughner, who is believed to have acted alone, is in federal custody, and is scheduled to make his first appearance before a magistrate judge in Phoenix on Monday…. – NYT, 1-9-11
    • U.S. Files Charges Against Jared Loughner For Tucson Shootings: The federal government formally charged Jared Lee Loughner for a shooting incident in Tucson, AZ that left six people dead and 16 wounded. The charges included two counts of killing a federal employee and one count of trying to assassinate a member of Congress as well as two additional counts of trying to kill federal workers. Prosecutors also said investigators found allegedly incriminating evidence at Loughner’s residence that indicated that he his actions were premeditated…. – NPR, 1-9-11
    • Alleged Tucson Shooter Faces Federal Charges: A Law enforcement official said the man authorities earlier described as a “person of interest” in connection with the mass shootings in Tucson has talked to authorities and was cleared. NPR has confirmed through the Federal Bureau of Investigation that the man in an image taken by a security camera at the shopping center where the shootings occurred has talked with authorities and was cleared of any involvment. Authorities had wanted to talk with the man because he was seen entering the general area of the shootings at about the same time as the alleged guman, Jared Lee Loughner…. – NPR, 1-9-11
    • Giffords known for her openness and Judaism: She gained prominence quickly in that body and in 2006, at 36, she became the first Jewish woman elected to Congress from her state. At the same time, her Judaism was becoming more central to her identity. The turning point came in 2001 following a tour of Israel with the American Jewish Committee, she told The Arizona Star in 2007. “It just cemented the fact that I wanted to spend more time with my own personal, spiritual growth. I felt very committed to Judaism,” she said. “Religion means different things to different people. It provides me with grounding, a better understanding of who I came from.”… – JTA, 1-9-11
    • Memo notes Giffords’ Judaism in motives of alleged attacker: A U.S. Department of Homeland Security memo reportedly notes that Gabriel Giffords is Jewish in describing the motives of the Arizona congresswoman’s alleged assailant. The memo, obtained by Fox News Channel, says that Jared Lee Loughner mentioned American Renaissance, an extremist anti-immigrant group, in some of his own postings. “The group’s ideology is anti-government, anti-immigration, anti-ZOG (Zionist Occupational Government), anti- Semitic,” says the memo sent to law enforcement, which also notes that Giffords, a Democrat, was the first Jewish congresswoman from Arizona…. – JTA, 1-9-11
    • Survival is possible for Giffords: Doctors treating Rep. Gabrielle Giffords said Sunday that while she remains in critical condition, early signs have made them hopeful. Giffords is able to communicate with doctors by following simple commands, such as squeezing her hand, said Dr. Michael Lemole, Jr., chief of neurosurgery at University Medical Center in Tuscon, Arizona. “We are very encouraged by that,” he said, adding, “I am cautiously optimistic.” Brain swelling is the biggest threat Giffords faces now, said Lemole…. – CNN, 1-9-11
    • Massacre suspect “mentally disturbed,” former teacher says: The suspect in the weekend massacre in Arizona was kicked out of an algebra class at a community college in June after repeated interruptions and clearly “needed psychological help,” his instructor said Sunday. Jared Lee Loughner was “physically removed” from the Pima Community College course less than a month after it began, its instructor, Ben McGahee told CNN. McGahee said Loughner sometimes shook, blurted things out in class, and appeared to be under the influence of drugs at times. “I was scared of what he could do,” McGahee said. “I wasn’t scared of him physically, but I was scared of him bringing a weapon to class.”… – CNN, 1-9-11
    • Born on Sept. 11, Claimed by a New Horror: Christina Green was on the student council of her elementary school, so on Saturday her mother’s friend thought she might enjoy seeing government in action: the local congresswoman meeting with constituents outside a supermarket near Christina’s home. “I allowed her to go, thinking it would be an innocent thing,” said the girl’s mother, Roxanna Green, 45. It did not turn out that way. A gunman shot Representative Gabrielle Giffords, leaving her in critical condition, and his fusillade killed six people, including Christina, a 9-year-old who loved animals and volunteered at a children’s charity…. – NYT, 1-9-11
    • 9-year-old killed in US shooting was born on 9/11: Christina-Taylor Green, the nine-year-old who was killed Saturday along with five other people at an Arizona political event, was drawn to politics from the awareness she was born on September 11, 2001, her parents have said. “She was born back east, and September 11 affected everyone there, and Christina-Taylor was always very aware of it. She was very patriotic and wearing red, white and blue was really special to her,” Roxanne Green told the Arizona Daily Star.
      “She was born on 9/11, the day the towers came down in New York City,” her father John Green told Fox News on Sunday. The dark-haired, brown-eyed third-grader was one of 50 babies born on that date featured in a book called “Faces of Hope.” She had gone to the Tucson strip mall with a neighbor on Saturday to meet congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was still in critical condition Sunday after being shot through the head, according to the newspaper.
      Christina-Taylor died in hospital after the shooting. Her neighbor, identified by the girl’s father as Susy Almond, was shot four times and recovering from surgery at Tucson’s University Medical Center, the daily said.
      Six people were killed, including a federal judge, and 14 were wounded in the shooting spree, in which 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner was charged Sunday…. – AP, 1-9-11
    • Suspect’s Odd Behavior Caused Growing Alarm: In a community college classroom here last June, on the first day of the term, the instructor in Jared L. Loughner’s basic algebra class, Ben McGahee, posed what he thought was a simple arithmetic question to his students. He was not prepared for the explosive response.
      “How can you deny math instead of accepting it?” Mr. Loughner asked, after blurting out a random number, according to Mr. McGahee.
      Mr. McGahee, for one, was disturbed enough by the experience to complain to school authorities, who as early as last June were apparently concerned enough themselves to have a campus officer visit the classroom. And what Mr. McGahee described as a pattern of behavior by Mr. Loughner, marked by hysterical laughter, bizarre non sequiturs and aggressive outbursts, only continued.
      “I was getting concerned about the safety of the students and the school,” said Mr. McGahee, who took to glancing out of the corner of his eye when he was writing on the board for fear that Mr. Loughner might do something. “I was afraid he was going to pull out a weapon.”… – NYT, 1-9-11
    • Six dead in shooting that wounds Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords: The Democrat was shot in the head when a gunman opened fire at a meet-and-greet at a supermarket. She is responsive after surgery. The dead include a 9-year-old girl and a federal judge, and at least 12 others are injured…. – LAT, 1-8-11
    • Arizona shooting suspect Jared Loughner may have posted anti-government messages: The 22-year-old suspect in the shooting of U.S. Rep Gabrielle Giffords and others at a Tucson grocery is Jared Loughner, who lives in the same city. On MySpace and YouTube web pages, a man who identifies himself as 22-year-old Jared Loughner posted anti-government messages that talk about mind control and suggested he will soon be adopting a new consciousness. “Goodbye,” Loughner posted on his MySpace account at approximately 5 a.m. Saturday. “Dear friends … Please don’t be mad at me.”… – USA Today, 1-8-11
    • Second suspect sought in Arizona shooting: Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., and several others were shot Saturday morning when a gunman opened fire outside a supermarket where Giffords was meeting with constituents. A 22-year-old suspect was in custody, law enforcement officials said. But at a Saturday evening news conference, investigators said they were looking for an accomplice who may have helped the gunman. Six of the victims died. The Pima County sheriff, Clarence W. Dupnik, said among those killed were John M. Roll, the chief judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, and a 9-year-old girl…. – NYT, 1-8-11
    • Arizona massacre suspect: ‘Kind of a troubled past’: The 22-year-old man under arrest in Saturday’s massacre in Arizona railed against government “mind control” and illiteracy in online missives and had “kind of a troubled past,” as the local sheriff put it. “There’s reason to believe this individual may have a mental issue,” Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik told reporters Saturday night. An Arizona law enforcement source and a U.S. law enforcement source have identified the suspect as Jared Lee Loughner, a 22-year-old former community college student. He was taken into custody after the massacre at a Tucson supermarket that killed a federal judge, a 9-year-old girl and four others and seriously wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was hosting a meeting with constituents at the Safeway…. – CNN, 1-8-11
    • Rep. Giffords Critical After Ariz. Attack: Representative Gabrielle Giffords, an Arizona Democrat, and 17 other people were shot just north of Tucson on Saturday morning when a gunman opened fire outside a supermarket where Ms. Giffords was meeting with constituents for a “Congress on Your Corner” event.
      Ms. Giffords, 40, was described as being in very critical condition at the University Medical Center in Tucson, where she was operated on by a team of neurosurgeons. Dr. Peter Rhee, medical director of the hospital’s trauma and critical care unit, said that she had been shot once in the head, “through and through,” with the bullet going through her brain.
      “I can tell you at this time, I am very optimistic about her recovery,” Dr. Rhee said in a news conference. “We cannot tell what kind of recovery but I’m as optimistic as it can get in this kind of situation.”…. – NYT, 1-8-11
    • Arizona Rep. Giffords shot, at least 5 killed: Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona was shot in the head Saturday when an assailant opened fire outside a grocery store during a meeting with constituents, killing at least five people and wounding several others in a rampage that rattled the nation.
      Giffords was among at least 10 people wounded, and the hospital said her outlook was “optimistic” and that she was responding to commands from doctors despite having a bullet go through her head. The hospital said a 9-year-old child was among the dead, and a U.S. Marshal said a federal judge was also fatally shot in the attack.
      Giffords spokesman C.J. Karamargin said an unspecified number of her staff members were injured in the shooting. Congressional officials said an aide to the Democrat was killed, and President Barack Obama said five people died in all. The reaction to the shooting was swift and rippled across the globe. Obama held a nationally televised news conference to express his condolences. The shooting cast a pall over Capitol as politicians of all stripes denounced the shooting as a horrific act of violence. Capitol police asked members of Congress to step up security in the wake of the shooting, and some politicians expressed hope that the killing spree serves as a wakeup call at a time when the political climate has become so emotionally charged.
      Police say the shooter was in custody, and was identified by people familiar with the investigation as Jared Loughner, 22. Pima County Sheriff’s officials said he used a pistol to carry out the shooting spree. U.S. officials who provided his name to the AP spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release it publicly…. – AP, 1-8-11
    • Authorities Suspect Gunman in Arizona Rampage Posted Pre-Shooting Video Online: Jared Loughner, the 22-year-old man who sources identify to Fox News as the gunman in custody in the deadly shooting rampage Saturday in Arizona, is suspected of posting a series of YouTube videos that show a focus on literacy and currency — as well as his distrust in the government. “Hello, my name is Jared Lee Loughner,” one of the videos says, in words appearing on the screen. “This video is my introduction to you! My favorite activity is conscience dreaming; the greatest inspiration for my political business information. Some of you don’t dream – sadly.”
      The video, posted Dec. 15, later turns more political. “The majority of citizens in the united states of America have never read the united states of America’s constitution. You don’t have to accept the federalist laws,” the video’s titles say. “In conclusion, reading the second United States constitution, I can’t trust the current government because of the ratifications: the government is implying mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar. No! I won’t pay debt with a currency that’s not backed by gold and silver! No! I won’t trust in god!”
      Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was among the people critically wounded in the shooting at a public event in Tucson, and several people were killed, including a federal judge and a 9-year-old boy…. – Fox News, 1-8-11
    • Giffords had been target of violent threats: It is not yet known whether or not the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, an Arizona Democrat, and as many as a dozen other people at a public event in Tucson, was an act of political violence. The AP has reported that the gunman has been identified as Jared Loughner. There’s still uncertainty about Loughner’s motives and politics. But a Youtube video posted under the name Jared Lee Loughner of Tucson proposes creating a “new currency,” and rails against non-English speakers “in District 8” — Giffords’s congressional district.
      But it’s worth noting that Giffords — who in 2006 became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, at 36 — has, for more than a year, been the target of violence-tinged rhetoric from political opponents and of threats that appear to have come from right-wing activists.
      Asked by the New York Post whether his daughter had any enemies, Giffords’s father replied: “The whole tea party.”
      In August 2009, an attendee at a Giffords town-hall meeting dropped a handgun, leading Giffords’s staff to call the police. “We have never felt the need before to notify law enforcement when we hold these events,” her spokesman said at the time.
      After Giffords voted in favor of the health-care overhaul in March, she said that vandals had broken the glass door of her Tucson office. “The rhetoric is incredibly heated, not just the calls but the emails, the slurs,” she told MSNBC at the time. “Things have really gotten spun up.” She added: “We do have these polarized parts of our parties that really get excited, and that’s where … all of us have to come together and say, ‘OK, there’s a fine line here.'”… – Yahoo News, 1-8-11

    • Text Obama’s Remarks in Tucson: Following is a text of President Obama’s prepared address on Wednesday to honor those killed and wounded in a shooting on Jan. 8, as released by the White House….But at a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized – at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do – it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.

      Scripture tells us that there is evil in the world, and that terrible things happen for reasons that defy human understanding. In the words of Job, “when I looked for light, then came darkness.” Bad things happen, and we must guard against simple explanations in the aftermath.

      For the truth is that none of us can know exactly what triggered this vicious attack. None of us can know with any certainty what might have stopped those shots from being fired, or what thoughts lurked in the inner recesses of a violent man’s mind.

      So yes, we must examine all the facts behind this tragedy. We cannot and will not be passive in the face of such violence. We should be willing to challenge old assumptions in order to lessen the prospects of violence in the future….

      That process of reflection, of making sure we align our values with our actions – that, I believe, is what a tragedy like this requires. For those who were harmed, those who were killed – they are part of our family, an American family 300 million strong. We may not have known them personally, but we surely see ourselves in them. In George and Dot, in Dorwan and Mavy, we sense the abiding love we have for our own husbands, our own wives, our own life partners. Phyllis – she’s our mom or grandma; Gabe our brother or son. In Judge Roll, we recognize not only a man who prized his family and doing his job well, but also a man who embodied America’s fidelity to the law. In Gabby, we see a reflection of our public spiritedness, that desire to participate in that sometimes frustrating, sometimes contentious, but always necessary and never-ending process to form a more perfect union.

      And in Christina…in Christina we see all of our children. So curious, so trusting, so energetic and full of magic. So deserving of our love.

      And so deserving of our good example. If this tragedy prompts reflection and debate, as it should, let’s make sure it’s worthy of those we have lost. Let’s make sure it’s not on the usual plane of politics and point scoring and pettiness that drifts away with the next news cycle…. – NYT, 1-12-11

    • Sarah Palin: America’s Enduring Strength: ….The last election was all about taking responsibility for our country’s future. President Obama and I may not agree on everything, but I know he would join me in affirming the health of our democratic process. Two years ago his party was victorious. Last November, the other party won. In both elections the will of the American people was heard, and the peaceful transition of power proved yet again the enduring strength of our Republic.Vigorous and spirited public debates during elections are among our most cherished traditions. And after the election, we shake hands and get back to work, and often both sides find common ground back in D.C. and elsewhere. If you don’t like a person’s vision for the country, you’re free to debate that vision. If you don’t like their ideas, you’re free to propose better ideas. But, especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.

      There are those who claim political rhetoric is to blame for the despicable act of this deranged, apparently apolitical criminal. And they claim political debate has somehow gotten more heated just recently. But when was it less heated? Back in those “calm days” when political figures literally settled their differences with dueling pistols? In an ideal world all discourse would be civil and all disagreements cordial. But our Founding Fathers knew they weren’t designing a system for perfect men and women. If men and women were angels, there would be no need for government. Our Founders’ genius was to design a system that helped settle the inevitable conflicts caused by our imperfect passions in civil ways. So, we must condemn violence if our Republic is to endure…. – Sarah Palin on Facebook, 1-12-11Video

    The American flag flies at half-mast on the U.S. Capitol in Washington Sunday, Jan. 9, 2011.
    • Moment of Silence for the Victims in Arizona: This morning at 11:00AM EST President Obama, the First Lady and White House staff joined many across the country in observing a moment of silence to honor the innocent victims of the senseless tragedy in Tucson, Arizona, including those still fighting for their lives. In addition to staying on top of the investigation and helping wherever possible. The President has been and will continue to be in close contact with those concerned, having made calls to Representative Gifford’s husband, Mark Kelly, the families of Christina-Taylor Green and Gabe Zimmerman, as well as House Leadership and members of the Arizona delegation in both the House and Senate…. – WH, 1-10-11Mp4Mp3
    • President Obama on Tucson, Grief & Courage: PRESIDENT OBAMA: We’ll, I’m very grateful to have my dear friend, Nicolas Sarkozy, here. And I think Nicolas has agreed that at the top I want to just make a few comments about the situation in Tucson, Arizona.Obviously all of us are still grieving and in shock from the tragedy that took place. Gabby Giffords and others are still fighting to recover. Families are still absorbing the enormity of their losses. We have a criminal investigation that is ongoing and charges that no doubt will be brought against the perpetrator of this heinous crime.

      I think it’s important for us to also focus, though, on the extraordinary courage that was shown during the course of these events: a 20-year-old college student who ran into the line of fire to rescue his boss; a wounded woman who helped secure the ammunition that might have caused even more damage; the citizens who wrestled down the gunman. Part of what I think that speaks to is the best of America, even in the face of such mindless violence.

      And so, in the coming days we’re going to have a lot of time to reflect. Right now, the main thing we’re doing is to offer our thoughts and prayers to those who’ve been impacted, making sure that we’re joining together and pulling together as a country. And as President of the United States, but also as a father, obviously I’m spending a lot of time just thinking about the families and reaching out to them. – WH, 1-10-11TranscriptMp4Mp3

    • Presidential Proclamation–Honoring the Victims of the Tragedy in Tucson, Arizona: As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on Saturday, January 8, 2011, in Tucson, Arizona, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half- staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, January 14, 2011. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this

      ninth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth. – WH, 1-9-11

    • Gabrielle Giffords shooting stirs outpouring of concern and support: Leaders react to the shooting of the Arizona congresswoman. Obama: ‘We are going to get to the bottom of this, and we’re going to get through this.’…. – LAT, 1-8-11
    • President Obama: The President Speaks on the Shootings in Tucson: “We Are Going to Get to the Bottom of This, and We’re Going to Get Through This”: As many of you are aware, earlier today a number of people were shot in Tucson, Arizona, including several who were meeting at a supermarket with their congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords. We are still assembling all the facts, but we know that Representative Giffords was one of the victims. She is currently at a hospital in the area, and she is battling for her life.We also know that at least five people lost their lives in this tragedy. Among them were a federal judge, John Roll, who has served America’s legal system for almost 40 years; and a young girl who was barely nine years old.

      I’ve spoken to Arizona governor Jan Brewer and offered the full resources of the federal government. A suspect is currently in custody, but we don’t yet know what provoked this unspeakable act. A comprehensive investigation is currently underway, and at my direction, Director Bob Mueller is en route to Arizona to help coordinate these efforts. I’ve also spoken to the Democratic and Republican leaders in the House.

      Gabby Giffords was a friend of mine. She is not only an extraordinary public servant, but she is also somebody who is warm and caring. She is well liked by her colleagues and well liked by her constituents. Her husband, Mark Kelly, is a Navy captain and one of America’s valiant astronauts.

      It’s not surprising that today Gabby was doing what she always does — listening to the hopes and concerns of her neighbors. That is the essence of what our democracy is all about. That is why this is more than a tragedy for those involved. It is a tragedy for Arizona and a tragedy for our entire country.

      What Americans do at times of tragedy is to come together and support each other. So at this time I ask all Americans to join me and Michelle in keeping all the victims and their families, including Gabby, in our thoughts and prayers. Those who have been injured, we are rooting for them. And I know Gabby is as tough as they come, and I am hopeful that she’s going to pull through.

      Obviously our hearts go out to the family members of those who have been slain. We are going to get to the bottom of this, and we’re going to get through this. But in the meantime, I think all of us need to make sure that we’re offering our thoughts and prayers to those concerned. WH, 1-8-11TranscriptMp4Mp3

    • Sarah Palin, On the tragedy in Arizona: My sincere condolences are offered to the family of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the other victims of today’s tragic shooting in Arizona. On behalf of Todd and my family, we all pray for the victims and their families, and for peace and justice. –
    • Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz): “I am horrified by the violent attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and many other innocent people by a wicked person who has no sense of justice or compassion. I pray for Gabby and the other victims, and for the repose of the souls of the dead and comfort for their families. I beg our loving Creator to spare the lives of those who are still alive, heal them in body and spirit, and return them to their loved ones.
      Whoever did this; whatever their reason, they are a disgrace to Arizona, this country and the human race, and they deserve and will receive the contempt of all decent people and the strongest punishment of the law. – McCain Senate, 1-8-11
    • House Speaker John A. Boehner (R- Ohio): I am horrified by the senseless attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and members of her staff. An attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve. Acts and threats of violence against public officials have no place in our society. Our prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords, her staff, all who were injured, and their families. This is a sad day for our country.
    • House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D- San Francisco): “Our prayers and thoughts are will all of them. … Congresswoman Giffords is a great patriotic American.
    • Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer: I am just heartbroken. Gabby is more than just a colleague, she’s actually a friend. She’s always been a noble public servant.


    • Historian Douglas Brinkley says Tucson will be a place in ‘history like a Selma or Birmingham in the 1960s’: As the shock wanes from the aftermath of Saturday’s Tucson tragedy, how might this event be remembered historically? According to noted historian Douglas Brinkley, a fellow at the Baker Institute and a professor of history at Rice University, it will rank up there with one of the bloodiest times in U.S. history, the Civil Rights Era in Alabama, including the September 15, 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham and the March 7, 1965 “Bloody Sunday” march in Selma.
      “Well you know Tucson now is one of these places people are going to talk about in history like a Selma or Birmingham in the 1960s,” Brinkley said. “It seems like a war zone spot and if you go to Selma or Birmingham today, they cope with that past. They have museums and memorials. This is the beginning of the healing for that community of Tucson and it’s very significant that President Obama’s coming, and hugging people, talking to people – making them know he feels the pain of the entire community and the nation.”… – The Daily Caller, 1-13-11
    • Gil Troy: The Political Fight after the Arizona Gunfight: Right Target, Wrong Trigger: The Tucson, Arizona, rampage left Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords critically wounded, six citizens dead, and millions of Americans jumping to the right conclusions for the wrong reasons. Yes, we need more civility in our politics. But no, we should not use one crazy gunman’s random fixations and horrific violence to trigger the kind of reform modern political culture needs.
      I confess, having written in 2008 Leading from the Center: Why Moderates Make the Best Presidents, calling for centrism and civility, I am tempted to flow with the conventional wisdom this time. Right after this mass shooting at one of Gifford’s “Congress on Your Corner” citizen meet-and-greets, preaching pundits began blaming the vitriol in general, and Republicans in particular. The fact that Sarah Palin’s website featured Giffords’s district in crosshairs in in 2010, supposedly symbolized everything wrong with politics today….
      Recently, in Tucson, Arizona, a sweet nine-year-old girl named Christina Taylor Green was elected to her student council. Born on September 11, 2001, Christina was always a particularly welcome symbol of hope to her friends and family. Last Saturday, a neighbor invited Christina to meet Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and “see how democracy works.” Christina ended up murdered, shot in the chest.
      We should cultivate a politics of civility, not because of the insane murderer but because we all want to show “how democracy works,” in Christina’s memory, to honor Gabrille Giffords’ lifework, and for our common good… – 1-11-11
    • Assassins and American History: Is there a tie between political speech and the violent acts of unbalanced individuals?… – NYT, 1-10-11
    • Robert Dallek, historian: The Means to Commit Mass Murder: Common sense gun control is a more important question than how much all the overstated speech facilitates violence…. – NYT, 1-10-11
    • Jill Lepore, Harvard historian: What Thomas Jefferson Would Say: The U.S. system of government demands both dissent, and tolerance of it…. – NYT, 1-10-11
    • Steven F. Hayward, American Enterprise Institute: Political Attacks, Circa 1800: The vitriol in the 1800 election would make Fox News and MSNBC blush…. – NYT, 1-10-11
    • Steven Mintz, history professor, Columbia University: The Facts About Political Assailants: Assailants of politicians have mostly been paranoid outsiders, unusually sensitive to the political sensations of the time…. – NYT, 1-10-11
    • Kevin Baker, novelist and historian: The Cost of Thuggish Prattle: Attempts on the lives of public figures rarely correspond directly to hate speech, but others have suffered the cost of thuggish prattle about resorting to arms…. – NYT, 1-10-11
    • Julian E. Zelizer, history professor, Princeton University: Toxic Speech in Politics: That people instantly wondered about the connection between political speech and the Tucson shootings is a sign of a toxic political culture…. – NYT, 1-10-11
    • Catherine McNicol Stock, historian, “Rural Radicals”: Violence in the 1930’s: The “shoot the banker” cry in the Depression did not lead to mass killings but to vicious acts like tarring and feathering…. – NYT, 1-10-11
    • UW Professor Mordecai Lee: Shooting Will Impact Democratic Process Expert Predicts Tighter Security For Members Of Congress: “From now on, going to a town hall meeting with a member of congress is going be like going to the airport — you’re going to have to walk through one of those body scans,” said UW Milwaukee Government Affairs professor Mordecai Lee.
      “If we have to put U.S. senators and members of congress in the same secret service bubble that now extends to presidents and presidential candidates, the nature of American politics will change,” he said.
      “You can’t live in a bubble. You can’t view every single person as a potential assassin or a potential assailant. The essence of being a politician is being amongst people,” he said.
      “This is terrible for democracy, but I’m afraid it’s really the only pragmatic answer for these horrible kind of situations,” he said…. – WISN, 1-9-11
    • Gabrielle Giffords shooting fuels debate over rhetoric: Has the nation’s harsh political rhetoric become more than just talk — to the point of being dangerous? The attempted assassination of Arizona Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords as she spoke with voters outside a grocery store in Tucson fueled a debate Sunday over whether the sharp partisanship and anti-government language that now mark American politics have created a climate that makes violence against public officials more likely. As a moderate Democrat who barely won re-election in a state torn by disputes over immigration policy, economic angst and growing mistrust in the government, Giffords was familiar with today’s increasingly nasty political rhetoric. Her opponent last fall accused her of betraying her district. Meanwhile, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin’s website posted a map with crosshairs on 20 Democrat-held congressional districts Palin was targeting for takeover by Republicans in the November elections. Giffords’ was one of them.
      “You can’t say they’re just words; they have consequences,” said South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn, a member of the Democratic leadership. He said he worries about the effect of words on “people who may not be clicking on all cylinders.”
      He cautioned, “We need to take a look at what we’re drifting into here.” However, some Republican leaders and conservative activists rejected the suggestion that their hard-edged language on issues such as health care and immigration could fairly be tied to Saturday’s attack by a gunman in Tucson that left six people dead, including a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl. Giffords, who was shot in the head, was in critical condition Sunday after surgery.
      “This is a terrible politicization of a tragedy,” said Rebecca Mansour, an aide to Palin. “We don’t know (the suspect’s) motive. It doesn’t seem like he was motivated by a political ideology. Craziness is not an ideology.”… – USA Today, 1-9-11
    • Bloodshed Puts New Focus on Vitriol in Politics: The shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords and others at a neighborhood meeting in Arizona on Saturday set off what is likely to be a wrenching debate over anger and violence in American politics. While the exact motivations of the suspect in the shootings remained unclear, an Internet site tied to the man, Jared Lee Loughner, contained antigovernment ramblings. And regardless of what led to the episode, it quickly focused attention on the degree to which inflammatory language, threats and implicit instigations to violence have become a steady undercurrent in the nation’s political culture.
      Clarence W. Dupnik, the Pima County sheriff, seemed to capture the mood of the day at an evening news conference when he said it was time for the country to “do a little soul-searching.” “It’s not unusual for all public officials to get threats constantly, myself included,” Sheriff Dupnik said. “That’s the sad thing about what’s going on in America: pretty soon we’re not going to be able to find reasonable, decent people willing to subject themselves to serve in public office.”… – NYT, 1-9-11

    April 26, 2010: Obama up against Wall Street


    The President speaks in New York


    • Poll: Majority lacks trust in government Can you trust Washington?: Nearly 80 percent of Americans say they can’t and they have little faith that the massive federal bureaucracy can solve the nation’s ills, according to a survey from the Pew Research Center that shows public confidence in the federal government at one of the lowest points in a half-century.
      The poll released Sunday illustrates the ominous situation facing President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party as they struggle to maintain their comfortable congressional majorities in this fall’s elections. Midterm prospects are typically tough for the party in power. Add a toxic environment like this and lots of incumbent Democrats could be out of work.
      The survey found that just 22 percent of those questioned say they can trust Washington almost always or most of the time and just 19 percent say they are basically content with it. Nearly half say the government negatively effects their daily lives, a sentiment that’s grown over the past dozen years. This anti-government feeling has driven the tea party movement, reflected in fierce protests this past week…. – AP, 4-18-10
    • Polls paint murky picture for November: Two independent polls released today paint a different picture of which political party is in better shape heading into November’s congressional elections.
      A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll today shows that 50% of Americans say they would support a Democratic congressional candidate if the election were held today, compared with 46% who say they’d vote for a Republican. That’s a reversal from CNN’s last poll, conducted in March, which showed the GOP with a 4 percentage point advantage.
      Meanwhile, Republicans beat Democrats 48% to 44% in a generic ballot poll conducted by Gallup. The survey, also released today, marks the third week since President Obama’s health care proposal was approved by the House that Republicans have led or tied Democrats, according to Gallup.
      In the CNN poll, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continues to enjoy a higher favorability rating (61%) than Obama (57%), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (38%) and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin (39%)… – Today, 4-14-10
    • Poll Finds Tea Party Backers Wealthier and More Educated: Tea Party supporters are wealthier and more well-educated than the general public, and are no more or less afraid of falling into a lower socioeconomic class, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll. The 18 percent of Americans who identify themselves as Tea Party supporters tend to be Republican, white, male, married and older than 45. They hold more conservative views on a range of issues than Republicans generally. They are also more likely to describe themselves as “very conservative” and President Obama as “very liberal.”… – 4-14-10


    • Is progressive Asheville Obama’s vision for America?: Hip, environmentally aware, self-reliant and undeniably quaint, Asheville, N.C is a progressive’s vision of what America could be. But mountain liberalism comes at a price…. – CS Monitor, 4-24-10
    • Obama lauds auto industry rebound and pushes for financial regulations: The president says the auto bailout will cost taxpayers ‘a fraction’ of what had been feared. In his weekly address, he also urges Congress to pass his regulatory package to help avert new economic crises…. – LAT, 4-25-10
    • Analysis: GOP, Dems compete for populist title: Republicans and Democrats are furiously casting each other as the handmaidens of Wall Street, playing to election-year anger surging on Main Street. Neither party has clean hands when it comes to the financial industry. Both parties have accepted huge amounts of campaign cash from companies like Goldman Sachs. Both welcomed big business’ chief executives to the White House when in power. Both share the blame for deregulating the industry in the 1990s and bailing out Wall Street when the financial sector was on the brink of collapse. Not that either side will acknowledge it. Instead, Republicans and Democrats are using President Barack Obama’s push for tighter controls on the industry to try to gain the political advantage with the proverbial Joe Six-Pack — the voters — ahead of critical midterm congressional elections, when the balance of power in Washington is at stake. “We need to enact a set of updated, commonsense rules to ensure accountability on Wall Street and to protect consumers in our financial system,” Obama said Thursday in New York, tapping into public outrage over excesses that led to the economic meltdown…. – AP, 4-24-10
    • Biden to visit Belgium, Spain May 5-8: Vice President Joe Biden plans to travel to Belgium and Spain next month for meetings with European Union representatives and to address the European parliament. The White House announced the trip on Friday… – AP, 4-23-10
    • Scott Brown: No presidential run in 2012: U.S. Sen. Scott Brown is ruling out a presidential run in 2012 and spurning Tea Partiers by throwing his support – for now, anyway – behind former Bay State Gov. Mitt Romney over conservative darling Sarah Palin. “Absolutely 2012, I’m ruling that out,” Brown said yesterday on NBCs “Today” show. Brown said former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is qualified for the presidency, but said he’s sticking with Romney – while keeping his options open. “I’m going to support Gov. Romney,” he said. “I’m going to see who’s out there in the field and then, you know, make my decision.”…. NBC reporter Jamie Gangel pressed Brown on whether he’s ruling out a presidential run altogether. “I’m not even going to jump at that,” Brown said. “Nice try.” – Boston Herald, 4-24-10
    • Brown: Backs Romney now, thinks Palin qualified: Sen. Scott Brown says he thinks former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is qualified to be president but right now he’s supporting former Gov. Mitt Romney for the 2012 Republican nomination. As for his own ambitions, he say “absolutely in 2012” he’s ruling out any run for the presidency. And in an NBC interview Friday, Brown said “I’m not even going to jump” at a question about whether he would seek the presidency later on. Brown said, “I’ve been here three months … and I’m very focused on doing my job.” Asked if he regretted bolting the Republican caucus recently to support Democrats on a jobs bill, he said, “I don’t really care. .. I’m going to be the independent person I have always been.”… – AP, 4-23-10
    • Obama to Wall St.: ‘Join Us, Instead of Fighting Us’: President Obama talked of Wall Street’s “reckless practices” in his address to the top bankers on Thursday in New York. Addressing leaders of New York’s financial giants, including Goldman Sachs, Mr. Obama described himself as a champion of change battling “battalions of financial industry lobbyists” and the “withering forces” of the economic elite. With his poll numbers sagging, the choreographed confrontation seemed aimed at tapping the nation’s antiestablishment mood as well as muscling financial regulation legislation through Congress. But the president also struck a note of conciliation with an industry that has contributed generously to his party, beseeching bankers to work with him to forge a new regulatory structure. While he spoke, his Democratic allies in Washington moved to force a showdown in the Senate on Monday, scheduling a procedural vote that will test the prospects for bipartisan compromise and Republican resolve to block the president’s plans.
      “I want to urge you to join us, instead of fighting us in this effort,” Mr. Obama said in his address at Cooper Union in Manhattan. “I’m here because I believe that these reforms are, in the end, not only in the best interest of our country, but in the best interest of the financial sector.” NYT, 4-23-10
    • Obama’s NASA Blueprint Is Challenged in Congress: President Obama may have hoped that a speech a week ago at the Kennedy Space Center would sway skeptics to his proposed space policy, but a Congressional hearing on Thursday gave little signs that the lines of contention have shifted yet.
      Opponents like Richard C. Shelby, the Republican senator from Alabama where NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center has been leading the design of the Ares I rocket that the Obama administration would like to cancel, continued to denounce Mr. Obama’s plans. Those plans call for ending NASA’s current Constellation program that was to send astronauts back to the moon and turning to private companies for transportation into orbit. At a hearing of an appropriations subcommittee, Mr. Shelby said that the proposal would abdicate the United States’ leadership in space.
      “Future generations will learn how the Chinese, the Russians, and even the Indians took the reins of space exploration away from the United States,” said Mr. Shelby, the ranking minority member of the commerce, justice and science subcommittee…. – NYT, 4-23-10
    • Aide to Kennedy, Kerry will help Obama pitch health care law Bay State native to assist projects and initiatives: President Obama has chosen Stephanie Cutter, who served as a top aide to Senator Edward M. Kennedy and communications director for Senator John F. Kerry’s presidential campaign in 2004, to be in charge of getting out the word about the benefits of the new health care insurance overhaul. “Stephanie is one of the most respected professionals in public affairs and has an innate understanding of the nexus between policy and communications,” Obama said yesterday in a statement. Cutter will begin her post as assistant to the president for special projects next month. In addition to improving communications on the health care law, she is to assist in other presidential initiatives…. – Boston Globe, 4-22-10
    • Biden explains open mic health care gaffe: “I realized there was a microphone, but I had no idea it was that sensitive,” Biden explained to the hostesses of ABC’s “The View,” who queried him about the incident in an appearance Thursday. “I was whispering in his ear, and after it was over we walked out, and we got in the limo to go over to another event, and he was laughing like the devil,” Biden continued. “I said, ‘What’s so funny, I don’t see what’s funny about this.’ And he said, ‘Well,’ he said, ‘Katie, my secretary, told me that when you said that to me everybody could hear it.'”… – AP, 4-22-10
    • Obamas head to North Carolina for quick vacation: The last time Barack Obama was in Asheville, N.C., he complained he was too busy to play golf. The president plans to fix that this weekend. Obama and his family were to leave the White House at midday Friday and fly to Asheville, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina. On his previous visit, Obama prepared for a debate and rallied supporters during the final month of his presidential campaign…. – AP, 4-23-10
    • Arizona Enacts Stringent Law on Immigration: Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona signed the nation’s toughest bill on illegal immigration into law on Friday. Its aim is to identify, prosecute and deport illegal immigrants. The move unleashed immediate protests and reignited the divisive battle over immigration reform nationally. Even before she signed the bill at an afternoon news conference here, President Obama strongly criticized it.
      Speaking at a naturalization ceremony for 24 active-duty service members in the Rose Garden, he called for a federal overhaul of immigration laws, which Congressional leaders signaled they were preparing to take up soon, to avoid “irresponsibility by others.” The Arizona law, he added, threatened “to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and our communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe.”… – NYT, 4-23-10
    • GOP ramps up attacks on SEC over porn surfing: Republicans are stepping up their criticism of the Securities and Exchange Commission following reports that senior agency staffers spent hours surfing pornographic websites on government-issued computers while they were supposed to be policing the nation’s financial system.
      California Rep. Darrell Issa, the top Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said it was “disturbing that high-ranking officials within the SEC were spending more time looking at porn than taking action to help stave off the events that put our nation’s economy on the brink of collapse.” He said in a statement Thursday that SEC officials “were preoccupied with other distractions” when they should have been overseeing the growing problems in the financial system. The SEC’s inspector general conducted 33 probes of employees looking at explicit images in the past five years, according to a memo obtained by The Associated Press. The memo says 31 of those probes occurred in the 2 1/2 years since the financial system teetered and nearly crashed…. – AP, 4-23-10
    • Financial District workers can’t bear to watch President Obama take Wall Street to task – NY Daily News, 4-23-10
    • Obama Looks to Close Sale on Financial Reform: …It is an approach that he is likely to outline again on Thursday, as the president speaks near Wall Street in a bid to make the closing argument for the regulatory overhaul now before the Senate.
      “Throughout our history there have been times where the financial sector swung way out of balance,” Mr. Obama said on Wednesday in an interview with CNBC and The New York Times, citing the period that led to the Depression as the primary example. “We have gotten into one of those places where we need to update those rules of the road,” he said. “And if we do so, not only is that good for the economy, not only does it protect consumers and investors, it’s also good for the financial sector, because it will rebuild trust.”… – NYT, 4-22-10
    • Bill would shun Obama birth certificate requests: Hawaii lawmakers are moving closer to passing a measure allowing the state to ignore repeated requests for President Barack Obama’s birth certificate. A conference committee unanimously voted Tuesday to advance the bill to final votes in the House and Senate… – AP, 4-21-10
    • Familiar rain sends Olympians indoors to see Obama: The weather problems of the Vancouver Games followed the U.S. Olympians to the White House. Steady rain forced the pleasantries indoors when the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams visited President Barack Obama on Wednesday. Instead of hanging out on the South Portico for the customary public words of support from the president, the 225 or so athletes clustered about in several rooms in the executive mansion to hobnob privately with the first family and Vice President Joe Biden. “It never gets old coming to the White House,” said short-track speedskater Apolo Anton Ohno, whose three medals in Vancouver gave him a U.S.-record eight career Winter Olympic medals. “We get to see something new every time. We actually got to see Obama’s dog today.”… – AP, 4-21-10
    • Justice John Paul Stevens: Justice John Paul Stevens wore a bright red bow tie Tuesday and celebrated his 90th birthday in a way only one other American ever has: as a member of the Supreme Court. There was no mention of the milestone during the court’s public appearance, as the justices issued an opinion and heard an argument. But President Obama took note of the occasion, as Stevens joined Oliver Wendell Holmes as the only men who started their 10th decades on the court.
      Obama said President Herbert Hoover sent Holmes a note that day. “And so do I, on the occasion of your 90th birthday, congratulate both you and our country for your long and esteemed tenure in public service. “For the last 35 years of your remarkable 90, the nation has benefited from the rigor, courage and integrity that have marked your service. . . . With the thoughtfulness and humility of your questions from the bench, and the independence and wisdom you have brought to the judgments the court has rendered, you have stood guardian of the Constitution and the rule of law and helped move this nation towards that more perfect union,” Obama wrote…. – WaPo, 4-20-10
    • President Obama Talking With Possible Court Picks Conversations underway with potential Supreme Court nominees: According to the Associated Press, President Barack Obama has begun conversations with potential Supreme Court nominees, a senior administration official said Tuesday, signaling an upswing in the president’s consideration of an already coalescing list of candidates. Obama’s review will throttle ahead on Wednesday morning when he meets privately with the top Democrat and Republican in the Senate along with the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the panel that will hold confirmation hearings on Obama’s nominee. The president’s nomination is expected over the next few weeks…. – WCTV, 4-20-10
    • House abandons vote bill for US capital: The people of the nation’s capital have waited more than two centuries to get a vote in Congress, and now it looks like Washington’s roughly 600,000 residents will have to wait even longer. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced Tuesday that lawmakers will not take up legislation this week giving District of Columbia citizens a vote in the House of Representatives, and said he was “profoundly disappointed.” The Democrat also said it was unlikely the enfranchisement bill, which became embroiled in a gun rights dispute and other issues, would be considered in the House later this year…. – AP, 4-20-10
    • Senate Takes Steps on Backlog of Nominations: The Senate showed signs on Tuesday of breaking a logjam of nominations being blocked by Republicans over growing objections from the White House and Democrats in Congress. The Senate voted to confirm Lael Brainard on Tuesday to be Treasury under secretary for international affairs, nine months after she was nominated. The vote was 78 to 19. The Senate then moved on to consider four other nominees who have been held up…. – NYT, 4-20-10
    • Wall Street, governments are targets in congressional election: It’s the Democrats versus Wall Street and Republicans against Big Government in the latest battle on the road to November’s congressional elections. Both sides have found easy targets as they try to solidify their support base and also appeal to independent voters who are likely to be the deciding factor in dozens of races for seats in the House of Representatives and the Senate.
      “One of the main reasons our economy faltered was because some on Wall Street made irresponsible bets, with no accountability,” said President Barack Obama.
      “On every front, they want to raise taxes, spend more, have politicians become more powerful, and citizens become less powerful,” said Newt Gingrich, a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2012…. – Reuters, 4-21-10
    • Obama falters on immigration reform promises: Advocates for illegal immigrants fear the White House is doing the bare minimum to appease Latino voters before midterm elections as it focuses on other issues…. – LAT, 4-21-10
    • White House: Obama to return to Calif. for Boxer: A White House official says President Barack Obama will return to California next month to help raise money for Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer and other candidates…. – AP, 4-20-10
    • Obama says Boxer could lose if Dems don’t work: President Barack Obama delivered Democrat-friendly California a stark message Monday: Liberal Sen. Barbara Boxer might lose her re-election race if her supporters don’t work hard. The president’s stern words in a state where he remains popular and Boxer won her last re-election race in a rout underscored the perilous political environment confronting all Democrats in this midterm election year — and showed Obama is all too aware of the dangers.
      “I don’t want anyone here taking this for granted,” he said at a reception at the California Science Center, the first of a trio of fundraisers Monday night for Boxer and the Democratic National Committee. “Unless she’s got that support she might not win this thing, and I don’t think that’s an acceptable outcome. So I want everyone to work hard,” the president said. All incumbents face an uphill battle because of the economy, Obama said, though he insisted it’s turning around…. – AP, 4-20-10
    • Mayor Emanuel? White House chief of staff says he’d like the post if Daley doesn’t run for re-election: He has been equivocal on the subject in the past, but on Monday night White House chief of staff and native Chicagoan Rahm Emanuel made no bones about it: He wants to be the mayor of Chicago. “I hope Mayor [Richard] Daley seeks re-election. I will work and support him if he seeks re-election,” Emanuel told Charlie Rose on the host’s PBS talk show, in an interview broadcast Monday night. “But if Mayor Daley doesn’t, one day I would like to run for mayor of the city of Chicago. That’s always been an aspiration of mine, even when I was in the House of Representatives.”… – Chicago Tribune, 4-19-10
    • Obama Will Eulogize Miners: President Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. will travel to West Virginia this weekend to mourn the 29 miners killed in an explosion this month in the worst mining accident in the United States in four decades, the White House announced Monday. Mr. Obama “will deliver a eulogy honoring the lives of those who perished and offering his deepest condolences” to loved ones, Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, said. – AP, 4-19-10
    • Obama taps Harvard professor to head Medicare: President Barack Obama has nominated Harvard medical professor Donald Berwick to oversee Medicare and Medicaid…. – AP, 4-19-10
    • Senate committee subpoenas Fort Hood documents: In a rare public dispute between a Democratic-led Congress and the White House, a Senate committee on Monday subpoenaed the Obama administration for secret documents and access to witnesses in last year’s mass shooting at the Fort Hood Army base in Texas.
      Congress has been largely supportive of President Barack Obama’s policies and the White House prides itself on increased government transparency. Nonetheless, the chairman and ranking Republican of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee have alleged that the administration is covering up critical details on the case, including whether the government had access to information that could have prevented the shooting.
      “Unfortunately, it is impossible for us to avoid reaching the conclusion that the departments simply do not want to cooperate with our investigation,” wrote Sens. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, in a letter accompanying the subpoena… – AP, 4-19-10
    • Clinton: Look beyond judges for high court pick: Bill Clinton says someone who hasn’t been a judge should be considered for the Supreme Court. But scratch the idea of the ex-president or his wife as a justice.
      Clinton, who has not been a judge, said that at 63, told ABC’s “This Week” that he’s too old to be considered, much as he might enjoy serving on the Supreme Court. He said his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, also might have been interested in past years, but not now…. – AP, 4-18-10
    • Obama’s asteroid goal: tougher, riskier than moon: Landing a man on the moon was a towering achievement. Now the president has given NASA an even harder job, one with a certain Hollywood quality: sending astronauts to an asteroid, a giant speeding rock, just 15 years from now.
      President Barack Obama outlined NASA’s new path during a visit to the Kennedy Space Center on Thursday. “By 2025, we expect new spacecraft designed for long journeys to allow us to begin the first-ever crewed missions beyond the moon into deep space,” he said. “We’ll start by sending astronauts to an asteroid for the first time in history.”… – AP, 4-16-10
    • Report: Gates sent White House memo on Iran policy: A memo from Defense Secretary Robert Gates to the White House warned that the United States lacks a nimble long-term plan for dealing with Iran’s nuclear program, according to a published report. Gates wrote the three-page memo in January and it set off efforts in the Pentagon, White House and intelligence agencies to come up with new options, including the use of the military, The New York Times said in its Sunday editions, quoting unnamed government officials. White House officials Saturday night strongly disagreed with the comments that the memo caused a reconsideration of the administration’s approach to Iran…. – AP, 4-18-10
    • Palin taken aback by Obama ‘superpower’ remark: Sarah Palin criticized President Barack Obama on Saturday for saying America is a military superpower “whether we like it or not,” saying she was taken aback by his comment. “I would hope that our leaders in Washington, D.C., understand we like to be a dominant superpower,” the former Alaska governor said. “I don’t understand a world view where we have to question whether we like it or not that America is powerful.” Obama said earlier this week that the United States must do its best to resolve conflicts around the world before they grow too serious. “It is a vital national security interest of the United States to reduce these conflicts because whether we like it or not, we remain a dominant military superpower, and when conflicts break out, one way or another we get pulled into them,” Obama said. “And that ends up costing us significantly in terms of both blood and treasure.”… – 4-18-10
    • All 41 GOP Senators United in Opposition to Financial Reform Bill: All 41 Republican senators have signed a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid saying they are opposed to the financial regulation bill put forward by Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s office announced today. The letter calls for further negotiations, but it does not go as far as to say all 41 senators would support a filibuster of the legislation.
      “Inaction is not an option. However, it is imperative that what we do does not worsen the current economic climate or codify the circumstances that led to the last financial crisis,” the letter says. “As currently constructed, this bill allows for endless taxpayer bailouts of Wall Street and establishes new and unlimited regulatory powers that will stifle small businesses and community banks.” The letter calls for a “bipartisan and inclusive approach” and asks Reid to support bipartisan negotiations in the Banking and Agriculture Committees…. – CBS News, 4-17-10
    • Bank bill in peril, WH urges part be dropped: In the face of stiff GOP opposition, Obama administration officials want Senate Democrats to purge a $50 billion fund for dismantling “too big to fail” banks from legislation that aims to protect against a new financial crisis. Republicans contend the provision would simply continue government bailouts of Wall Street. The sweeping bill aims to prevent a recurrence of the crisis that nearly caused a Wall Street meltdown in 2008. Beside creating a mechanism for liquidating large firms, House and Senate bills would govern previously unregulated derivatives, create a council to detect systemwide financial threats and establish a consumer protection agency to police lending, credit cards and other bank-customer transactions. President Barack Obama declared Friday that he would veto the bill if it doesn’t regulate the freewheeling derivatives market. “We can’t afford another AIG,” the president said, referring to the giant insurance conglomerate that relied heavily on the complex, sometimes exotic investment instruments. AP, 4-16-10
    • Obama makes hospitals allow gay visitation rights: President Barack Obama issued a memo on Thursday that would require hospitals accepting Medicare or Medicaid funds to allow visitation rights to gay and lesbian partners.
      “It should be made clear that designated visitors … should enjoy visitation privileges that are no more restrictive than those that immediate family members enjoy,” the memo said.
      “Every day across America, patients are denied the kindness and caring of a loved one at their sides — whether in a sudden medical emergency or a prolonged hospital stay,” Obama wrote. “Also uniquely affected are gay and lesbian Americans who are often barred from the bedsides of the partners with whom they may have spent decades of their lives — unable to be there for the person they love and unable to act as a legal surrogate if their partner is incapacitated,” he said…. – Reuters, 4-15-10
    • Obama blames owner for West Virginia mine disaster: U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday put primary blame for last week’s deadly West Virginia coal mine disaster on owner Massey Energy and called for better mine oversight nationwide to prevent more accidents.
      “The people of West Virginia are in our prayers. But we owe them more than prayers. We owe them action,” Obama told reporters in the White House Rose Garden. “This tragedy was triggered by a failure at the Upper Big Branch mine, a failure first and foremost of management, but also a failure of oversight and a failure of laws so riddled with loopholes that they allow unsafe conditions to continue.” “Owners responsible for conditions in the Upper Big Branch mine should be held accountable for decisions they made and preventive measures they failed to take,” he said… – Reuters, 4-15-10
    • Florida Governor Splits With G.O.P. on Teacher Pay: Gov. Charlie Crist has been jawboned and buttonholed as he has traveled around the state in recent days, and his office was deluged with 120,000 messages. Passions have not run so high in Florida, the governor said, since the controversy over ending the life of Terri Schiavo in 2005. This time, the point of contention was eliminating tenure for Florida public school teachers and tying their pay and job security to how well their students were learning. On Thursday, Mr. Crist picked a side, vetoing a bill passed last week by the Florida Legislature that would have introduced the most sweeping teacher pay changes in the nation. The veto puts Mr. Crist, a moderate Republican, at odds with his party base in the Republican-controlled Legislature. His decision has also renewed speculation that he might drop out of the Republican primary for a United States Senate seat and run in the general election as an independent. For months, he has been trailing the more conservative Republican candidate, Marco Rubio, a Tea Party favorite, in polls…. – NYT, 4-15-10
    • Finance Bill Consensus on a Point: No Bailouts: As the Obama administration and Senate Republicans clash over the future of the nation’s financial regulatory system, there is one principle on which they agree: Taxpayers should never again have to bail out giant financial institutions. President Obama says his legislation would let the Treasury Department, with court approval, take over and dismantle failing companies without costing the public a dime. It would resemble the process used since the Depression to take over failing commercial banks… – NYT, 4-15-10
    • Obama makes light of anti-tax protests: President Barack Obama said Thursday he’s amused by the anti-tax tea party protests that have been taking place around Tax Day. Obama told a fundraiser in Miami that he’s cut taxes, contrary to the claims of protesters. “You would think they’d be saying thank you,” he said. At that, many in the crowd at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts stood and yelled, “Thank you!” The fundraiser was one of two Obama held after a speech at Cape Canaveral on his administration’s space policy. The other was hosted by Gloria and Emilio Estefan, a $30,400-per-couple fete that stirred some controversy in the traditionally Republican Cuban-American community. Together, the events raised $2.5 million for the Democratic National Committee…. – AP, 4-16-10
    • Obama Reports $5.5 Million In Income: Brisk book sales lifted President Obama’s income to $5.5 million in his first year in office, an amount that dwarfs that of his recent predecessors while in power and reflects the public’s continued willingness to pay to read his autobiographies. On tax day, the White House released 2009 returns showing that Obama’s income more than doubled from the year before. He collected $2.7 million in 2008, and $4.2 million in ’07. The returns show Obama paid nearly $1.8 million in federal taxes and another $163,000 in Illinois state taxes. A total of 40 charities received $329,100 from the Obama family in 2009, with the biggest chunk of that ($100,000) going to the United Negro College Fund and to CARE, an organization that combats world poverty…. – LAT, 4-15-10
    • Discarded Palin contract sparks investigation: A document fished out of a California state university trash bin last week has prompted a state investigation into the university’s foundation arm and its refusal to disclose details related to Sarah Palin’s upcoming speech at the school. On Tuesday, California Attorney General Jerry Brown said his office would look into the finances of the California State University, Stanislaus Foundation, as well as allegations that the nonprofit organization violated public disclosure laws by keeping details of Palin’s contract secret. Palin is scheduled to speak at a June 25 gala hosted by the foundation to mark the university’s 50th anniversary… – AP, 4-14-10
    • White House to host Olympic athletes next week: America’s Olympic athletes are preparing for another honor — a visit to the White House. Members of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams will be the guests next week of President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama… – AP, 4-14-10
    • Obama’s nuclear summit yields early dividends: President Barack Obama’s nuclear summit has paid early dividends: China’s agreement to work with the U.S. on possible sanctions against Iran and Ukraine’s decision to rid itself of nuclear bomb-making materials. Obama opened the global security summit Monday night after two days of meetings with selected presidents and prime ministers of the 47 countries assembled to recharge efforts to keep nuclear material out of terrorist hands. It ends Tuesday with a joint declaration to guide future work toward locking away and cleansing the globe of materials still too easily accessible to terrorists…. – AP, 4-13-10
    • In Appeal for Diplomacy, Obama Invokes the Mushroom Cloud: Nearly a decade ago, a President of the United States used the specter of a nuclear blast to argue his case for invading a foreign country. “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud,” President Bush’s then National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice told CNN in 2002, a sound bite that came to define the rationale for a pre-emptive war in Iraq despite the lack of proof that it presented a WMD threat.
      This week, another U.S. President, Barack Obama, invoked mushroom-cloud imagery to argue for a major diplomatic initiative. “If there was ever a detonation in New York City, or London, or Johannesburg, the ramifications economically, politically and from a security perspective would be devastating,” Obama said Sunday. He was speaking just hours before the start of the Nuclear Security Summit, arguably the largest diplomatic gathering on U.S. soil since the U.N.’s founding conference in San Francisco in 1945…. – Time, 4-13-10

    ELECTIONS 2010, 2012….

    • Potential clouds over Fla. Senate front-runner: Now that Republicans have made him the U.S. Senate front-runner, Marco Rubio is trying to weather potentially damaging revelations about his credit card use, double billing for airfare and murky finances. A few months ago, the former Florida House speaker seemed an unlikely bet to beat Gov. Charlie Crist in the party’s Senate primary. And in those months, Rubio’s lavish spending has come under scrutiny of federal investigators. In that same stretch, his poll numbers have soared, carrying him well ahead of Crist and forcing the once seemingly unbeatable governor to consider running as an independent for Senate. Crist has until Friday to decide…. – AP, 4-25-10
    • Candidate for Obama’s old US Senate seat undaunted: Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias appears undaunted by the shuttering of his family’s bank, saying his bid to keep President Barack Obama’s old Senate seat in Democratic hands will move forward with renewed purpose. Regulators shut down Broadway Bank on Friday when it became clear that the failing institution would not raise about $85 million in new capital by a Monday deadline…. – AP, 4-24-10
    • GOP calls on members to oppose Charlie Crist if he runs as independent: Florida’s Republican Party says its members would have to oppose Gov. Charlie Crist’s campaign for U.S. Senate if he jumps from the GOP to an independent bid for the office…. – Miami Herald, 4-23-10
    • Possible GOP tide drawing has-beens into campaigns: Republicans once saddled with the burden of President George W. Bush’s unpopularity are now experiencing a boon from another struggling president: Barack Obama…. The time seems ripe for Republicans, who largely remain unified against Obama’s domestic agenda, including health care overhaul. Both the president and his signature legislative achievement remain unpopular at this point in a midterm election year, according to a recent AP-GfK poll. Voters’ opinions also have turned against Democrats and their stewardship of the economy; Obama’s approval rating is at a new low. That bodes well for — and feels familiar to — some Republicans….
      Just 49 percent of people now approve of the job Obama’s doing overall, and less than that — 44 percent — like the way he’s handled health care and the economy, according to an AP-GfK poll. The news is worse for other Democrats. For the first time this year, about as many Americans approve of congressional Republicans as Democrats — 38 percent to 41 percent — and neither has an edge when it comes to the party voters want controlling Congress. AP, 4-20-10
    • California Democrats close convention with eye on tough races ahead: The party, which has dominated most state elections for a generation, is facing stiff challenges from wealthy Republicans and strong GOP momentum across the nation…. – LAT, 4-19-10
    • McCain and Brewer Continue Lead in Arizona: The latest poll out of Arizona show Republicans continuing to make inroads in the state’s upcoming election contest. The poll, released Friday, shows U.S. Senate challenger J.D. Hayworth continuing to eat into incumbent Senator John McCain’s lead. A Rasmussen Reports polls released Friday says McCain is leading his primary challenger 47 percent to 42 percent. The polling organization had McCain with a seven-point lead last month, down from a 22-point lead in January…. – State Column, 4-18-10
    • Romney Endorses Rubio Over Crist in Florida Race: Two years after he was shunned by Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida during the state’s Republican presidential primary, former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts endorsed Marco Rubio, Mr. Crist’s opponent in Florida’s Republican Senate primary, on Saturday. The Rubio campaign announced the endorsement on its Web site.
      “While I respect Governor Crist, Marco Rubio’s proven record of conservative, principled and idea-driven leadership is what Florida needs now,” Mr. Romney said in a statement posted on the Web site. “Marco Rubio will be a reliable spokesman against the Washington culture of higher spending, higher taxes and higher debt.”
      Mr. Romney also said that his Free and Strong America political action committee would make the maximum $5,000 contribution to Mr. Rubio’s primary election campaign…. – AP, 4-17-10
    • Jerry Brown calls for debate with GOP rivals: The candidate for governor issues the challenge at the California Democratic convention as the party looks to counter the national GOP tide.
      “Campaigning and democracy is not about buying hundreds of millions of dollars of 30-second TV ads,” Brown told the delegates, vastly exaggerating her spending. “When we live in a democracy, we’re not consumers of advertising. We’re agents of democratic choice. We’re actors in a historical drama.”… – LAT, 4-18-10
    • GOP Hits Stride in Campaign Funding: Republicans are turning their political momentum into money in the bank. GOP candidates are starting to catch up to their Democratic opponents in fund-raising efforts and have pulled ahead in some key races, finance reports for the first three months of the election year show. The reports, filed with the Federal Election Commission before a Thursday deadline, offer evidence the GOP is heading into election season with the tools to make big gains in Congress. Republican voters are far more enthusiastic about going to the polls this fall than are Democrats, and the GOP recently took a rare lead in Gallup’s so called generic ballot, which asks voters which party should win in their district. In the nine most competitive Senate races, the reports show Republican candidates, as a group, ahead of Democrats during the January-to-March period, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis. That marks a reversal from 2009, when Democrats held the financial advantage in those races…. – WSJ, 4-17-10
    • DNC to put up $50M for midterms: The Democratic National Committee plans to put up $50 million for House, Senate and gubernatorial races in November, a top party official says. The official told Politico in a story published Friday aides are deciding how to target the contribution and what the split will be between cash and services. The money is to start flowing in June. The DNC plans both record amounts of cash and field staff “with a special emphasis on base turnout — youth, African-Americans, Latinos and first-time voters,” the official said. President Barack Obama, who got heavy support from those groups in 2008, will help energize his base, he added…. – UPI, 4-16-10
    • Romney’s fund-raising outpaces potential rivals: Mitt Romney, Harvard Business School grad and ace venture capitalist, has put a greenback spin on Sarah Palin’s signature call of “Don’t retreat, reload.” Romney, a former GOP presidential candidate who is said to be considering another run in 2012, has loaded the coffers of his political action committee with $1,447,228.70 in the first quarter of the year, according to a news release from his Free and Strong America PAC. That fund-raising far outpaces the efforts of two potential opponents in 2012: Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, at $566,000, and Palin, at about $400,000. Since leaving her post as governor of Alaska eight months ago, Palin has made millions of dollars in speeches and television deals, but most of that money was not funneled to her PAC, SarahPac. Palin spoke at a tea party rally on Boston Common yesterday…. – 4-15-10


    The President delivers the Weekly Address

    • Weekly Address: Good News from the Auto Industry: As the auto industry and financial markets begin to stabilize, the President says the government’s emergency interventions are now winding down. He pledges that real reform, particularly on Wall Street, must now begin. WH, 4-24-10
    • Text Obama’s Speech on Overhauling Financial Regulation: Following is a transcript of President Obama’s speech in New York City on Thursday promoting the need to overhaul financial regulation in the United States, as released by the White House…
      …In the end, our system only works — our markets are only free — when there are basic safeguards that prevent abuse, that check excesses, that ensure that it is more profitable to play by the rules than to game the system. And that is what the reforms we’ve been proposing are designed to achieve — no more, no less. And because that is how we will ensure that our economy works for consumers, that it works for investors, and that it works for financial institutions — in other words, that it works for all of us — that’s why we’re working so hard to get this stuff passed.
      This is the central lesson not only of this crisis but of our history. It’s what I said when I spoke here two years ago. Because ultimately, there is no dividing line between Main Street and Wall Street. We will rise or we will fall together as one nation. (Applause.) And that is why I urge all of you to join me. I urge all of you to join me, to join those who are seeking to pass these commonsense reforms. And for those of you in the financial industry, I urge you to join me not only because it is in the interest of your industry, but also because it’s in the interest of your country. NYT, 4-22-10
    • Transcript: “This Week” with Former President Bill Clinton: TAPPER: You’ve made some news over this weekend. You gave a speech on Friday talking about — on the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing which is coming up. How public officials have a responsibility to be careful with their words. This prompted a response from — from Rush Limbaugh
      Rush Limbaugh: “With this comment you have just set the stage for violence in this country. Any future acts of violence are on your shoulders, Mr. Clinton.”
      TAPPER: Do you have any response?
      CLINTON: Doesn’t make any sense. The only point I tried to make is that when I went back and started preparing for the 15th anniversary of Oklahoma City, I realized that there were a lot of parallels between the early ’90s and now, both in the feeling of economic dislocation, and the level of uncertainty people felt. The rise of kind of identity politics. The rise of the militia movements and the right wing talk radio with a lot of what’s going on in the blogosphere now.
      And in the right wing media, and with Oath Keepers, the 3 percenters, the — all these people, you know, who are saying things like, “If Idaho wants to succeed from the union,” the militia group out there says, you know, “We’ll back them.” One leader of one of these groups said that all politics was just a prelude to civil war. And then the politicians of course have not been that serious, but a lot of the things that have been said, they — they create a climate in which people who are vulnerable to violence because they are disoriented like Timothy McVeigh was are more likely to act.
      And the only point I tried to make was that we ought to have a lot of political dissent — a lot of political argument. Nobody is right all the time. But we also have to take responsibility for the possible consequences of what we say. And we shouldn’t demonize the government or its public employees or its elected officials. We can disagree with them. We can harshly criticize them. But when we turn them into an object of demonization, you know, you — you increase the number of threats.
      But I worry about these threats against the president and the Congress. And I worry about more careless language even against — some of which we’ve seen against the Republican governor in New Jersey, Governor Christie.
      I just think we all have to be careful. We ought to remember after Oklahoma City. We learned something about the difference in disagreement and demonization…. – ABC News, 4-18-10
    • WEEKLY ADDRESS: President Obama Says We Must Move Forward on Wall Street Reform: Remarks of President Barack Obama As Prepared for Delivery The White House April 17, 2010
      …So my hope is that we can put this kind of politics aside. My hope is that Democrats and Republicans can find common ground and move forward together. But this is certain: one way or another, we will move forward. This issue is too important. The costs of inaction are too great. We will hold Wall Street accountable. We will protect and empower consumers in our financial system. That’s what reform is all about. That’s what we’re fighting for. And that’s exactly what we’re going to achieve. – WH, 4-17-10
    • Transcript: Scott Brown remarks at Republican State Convention: …People are yearning for candidates who believe in our free enterprise system, who want a government that is accountable and transparent, who will make job creation their main focus and who understand that a competitive America is one where taxes are low and government does not overspend and does not try to dominate or interfere in our everyday lives.
      That’s the message the voters of Massachusetts sent when the elected me to the U.S. Senate.
      For months now, the American people have been telling this White House and this Congress exactly what they want…. but Washington still hasn’t been listening!
      While many families in Massachusetts and across are America hurting and struggling to make ends meet, cutting costs and tightening their belts, Washington is doing the exact opposite – they are continuing their reckless spending spree, raising taxes driving up our national debt to an astronomical level to almost 13 trillion. And what is their answer? Their answer is to print more money.
      Well, will you tell me how your kids, grandkids and great grandkids are going to repay that debt?
      And on Beacon Hill, the political machine that runs this state is making the same mistakes. Higher and higher taxes, rising unemployment, chronic budget deficits, corruption, cronyism and patronage . . . this is the sad legacy of the one-party political monopoly in Massachusetts.
      There’s one way to put a quick end to it, and that’s to elect Charlie Baker as our next Governor and give him some foot soldiers to help him sustain a veto. We need more state representatives and senators to help. We need balance and THAT is REAL change… – Boston Herald, 4-17-10
    • Sarah Palin: Where Is Obama’s ‘Faith In American Exceptionalism?’: “The truth is this: by his actions we see a president who seems to be much more comfortable with an American military that isn’t quite so dominant and who feels the need to apologize for America when he travels overseas,” Palin wrote. “Could it be a lack of faith in American exceptionalism? The fact is that America and our allies are safer when we are a dominant military superpower – whether President Obama likes it or not.” – Huff Post, 4-15-10
    • Obama: America a Superpower ‘Whether We Like It or Not’: In a little-noticed remark at the close of the two-day nuclear security summit in Washington, D.C., this week, President Obama suggested the United States was somehow burdened by its military might.
      “Given the progress you have cited in recent days on your foreign policy agenda, to what extent do you feel like you have gained political capital with which to take further to the international stage for the rest of this year, to perhaps rejuvenate some initiatives in trouble spots such as the Middle East and elsewhere?”
      “What we can make sure of is, is that we are constantly present, constantly engaged, and setting out very clearly to both sides our belief that not only is it in the interests of each party to resolve these conflicts but it’s also in the interest of the United States. It is a vital national security interest of the United States to reduce these conflicts because whether we like it or not, we remain a dominant military superpower, and when conflicts break out, one way or another we get pulled into them. And that ends up costing us significantly in terms of both blood and treasure.”… – Fox News, 4-15-10
    • O’Connor expects tough road for high court nominee: Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor said Monday a fight is inevitable over whoever becomes President Barack Obama’s choice to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens. O’Connor chatted with an audience of about 300 law students, faculty and community at the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas. She is spending two days on the campus sharing her experiences with students.
      She spoke with fondness of Stevens as “a remarkable man.” “He’s still so active physically and mentally,” O’Connor said. “I hope we don’t end up at odds in the selection of a new justice. I don’t know how that can be avoided.”… – AP, 4-12-10


    • Julian Zelizer “Inaction on immigration reform a travesty”: Republicans and Democrats in Congress seem to have found one issue on which they agree. Neither party wants to get near immigration reform, the new “third rail” in American politics — an issue so politically charged that politicians risk their careers by touching it.
      Although President Obama has repeatedly stated his support for immigration reform, there is still little evidence that the Democratic Party or the GOP is prepared to join colleagues like Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, to fight for legislation.
      If Congress is unable to pass immigration reform, it will create more opportunities for states to move forward with the kind of harsh restrictionist measures passed by the Arizona Senate on Monday. The failure of Congress to pass immigration reform has been a national travesty…
      President Obama has stated his support for liberalized immigration reform, but thus far his party has not taken action. We will have to see whether Obama is willing to demonstrate the same kind of political courage he did with health care, when he took on another issue that everyone thought to be a third rail in politics. – CNN, 4-21-10
    • Douglas Brinkley “Race issues still haunt Obama”: With an African-American in the Oval Office, is this a good time to honour the 19th century soldiers who fought for slavery? “It’s idiocy,” says historian Douglas Brinkley. “I don’t think you can understand the Confederacy or the Civil War unless you understand slavery. And so I think that was an unacceptable omission. I think the governor’s now acknowledged that.” Historian Brinkley says in fact, Republicans are hoping that a few kind words about the Confederacy will help them rally white voters in South who supported Mr Obama but can be roused by an appeal to regional pride. “Barack Obama won North Carolina and Virginia. The Republicans have no formula to regaining power in 2012 without those two states.” The Republicans, according to Brinkley, “are trying to make a play for those two states.” But the former head of the Republican Party, Governor Haley Barbour of the southern state of Mississippi, says the controversy “is trying to make a big deal out of something that doesn’t matter for diddly” (a colorful way of saying it doesn’t matter at all)…. – Next, 4-19-10
    • Julian E. Zelizer “Why controlling nukes is good politics”: In the week leading up to the meeting of world leaders in Washington, President Obama has been demonstrating a strong commitment to nuclear arms control.
      Last week, he signed the first major agreement with the Russians since 2002, which reduces the number of nuclear warheads and long-range missiles.
      Obama released the Nuclear Posture Review, saying the United States would not use nuclear weapons against countries that complied with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, even if they attacked with conventional weapons. At the same time, the president said the countries that refused to abide by the treaty could be subject to nuclear reprisal….
      The president must remind fellow Democrats, as well as Republicans, that historically the public has tended to strongly support nuclear weapons treaties, and the presidents who pursue them.
      When national security is on the table, Democrats tend to get nervous politically, particularly if they support a position that can be characterized as too dovish. But when it comes to nuclear weapons, President Obama is on a path that is politically sustainable.
      During the Cold War, presidents from both parties learned that the American public tends to prefer politicians who are willing to take risks to reduce nuclear stockpiles rather than those who beat the drums of war. CNN, 4-13-10
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