The Fix: White House

President Obama is in another selfie -- with the Malaysian Prime Minister

The prime minister of Malaysia is getting a piece of the presidential selfie action. Call it selfies, world leaders edition.

Mohd Najib Tun Razak posted a photo of himself and President Obama on Twitter Sunday. Malaysia is one of four countries Obama is visiting in Asia this week.


That snap followed the selfie that Red Sox slugger David Ortiz snapped with Obama -- that turned out to be a publicity stunt. Then there was the photo of two dudes riding in the back of a car -- except it was Obama and Vice President Biden, and the car is a limo nicknamed "the beast" with eight-inch thick armor plated doors. And then the Internet went nuts.

And, to think, we declared the selfie dead weeks ago.

President Obama has granted clemency fewer times than any modern president

President Obama has granted clemency fewer times than any modern president

The Obama administration announced an effort this week to increase the number of clemency applications it receives, a change that is likely to trigger thousands of petitions.

The move is meant to foster equity in a criminal justice system where thousands of low-level, nonviolent inmates — many of whom were arrested on drug charges — are serving unduly long sentences because of federal sentencing guidelines.

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All the times President Obama was amazed by a robot

All the times President Obama was amazed by a robot

It's almost as if President Obama can't get enough robot encounters.

Maybe its because the White House has made a big push to promote K-12 science education with their White House science fair, or maybe its because we're rapidly hurtling toward a world in which robots become self-aware -- see this pic of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and a life-sized robot from earlier this week -- but either way, the president has managed to spend time with quite a few robots during his time in office.

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Why no one knows where the White House food comes from

Why no one knows where the White House food comes from

While the Obamas have brought their own vision of healthy eating and exercise to the White House, each first family--and the people who work for them-- shape the place. Get it? Shape?

Here are 10 things you (probably) didn't know about what's consumed, and burned off, inside the White House.

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Justin Bieber isn’t getting deported. Yet.

Justin Bieber isn’t getting deported. Yet.

Score one for the Beliebers.

The Obama administration has refused to comment on an official White House petition calling for for pop singer Justin Bieber to be deported and his green card revoked. (Despite what seems to be his omnipresence at parties and clubs throughout the United States and run-ins with the law here, Bieber is actually Canadian.)

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Ever wonder what the White House briefing room is really like? Here’s a view from the second row.

Ever wonder what the White House briefing room is really like? Here’s a view from the second row.

On Thursday, President Obama showed up in the White House briefing room to tout the latest enrollment numbers for his health care law. And I had a second row seat.

Since 1970, the media has gathered in the briefing room most days the President in is Washington -- usually to listen to the White House's spin of the day courtesy of press secretary Jay Carney and to ask him questions. (When the president travels the briefing is done on Air Force One.)

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The one sentence from President Obama’s press conference that Democrats should pay attention to

The one sentence from President Obama’s press conference that Democrats should pay attention to

President Obama delivered a statement in the White House press briefing room touting the signup successes of the Affordable Care Act. He also took four questions from reporters -- running the gamut from the situation in Ukraine to the ACA to the possibility of immigration reform. But, for Democrats running for office this November, there was one line in particular worth paying close attention to.

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President Obama threw a shaka sign at the Wounded Warrior Project bike ride

President Obama threw a shaka sign at the Wounded Warrior Project bike ride

President Obama, Vice President Biden and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinsheki welcomed participants of the annual soldier ride, a nearly 60-mile bike ride that benefits the Wounded Warrior Project, to the White House on Thursday. "Biking nearly 60 miles in three days would be a challenge for anybody, but for all of you this is a lot more than a bike ride -- this is a mark of how far you’ve come," Obama said.

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People are photoshopping the Obama-Biden selfie. And the results are amazing.

People are photoshopping the Obama-Biden selfie. And the results are amazing.

Photoshop. What would we do without its magic? The prolific photo-editing program is responsible for everything from slimming down already tiny celebs to helping the Internet go GIF crazy to making just about anyone with the program and a few pictures think they're a photo editor. Or a comedian.

And that takes us to the latest use of Photoshop sweeping the Internet: people strategically placing things or people into the selfie that President Obama and Vice President Biden took last night. Here are a few we dug up. (Seen one we didn't include? Send it to katie.zezima@washpost.com.)

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Barack Obama and Joe Biden took a selfie today. Yes, for real.

Just two dudes, hanging out in the back of a car.

Except those two dudes are the president and vice president of the United States, and the car is a limo nicknamed "the beast," complete with armor plated, eight-inch-thick doors.

"Pals," the caption reads. Obama and Biden both traveled to Oakdale, Pa., Wednesday.

Could this be the selfie to end all selfies? You decide.

How to write the perfect profile of a White House staffer, in 6 easy steps

How to write the perfect profile of a White House staffer, in 6 easy steps

On Friday, a profile of White House press secretary Jay Carney and his wife, ABC senior national correspondent Claire Shipman, hit the Internet. It was quickly gobbled up by the people of the Internet, and, just as quickly, spit back out in a series of blog posts lampooning its uselessness -- and wondering why Carney and Shipman agreed to do it in the first place.

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What riding on Air Force One is really like

What riding on Air Force One is really like

I started covering the White House for The Washington Post about a month ago. But Friday was my first trip with the president -- and on Air Force One -- as he (and I) jetted to New York to deliver a speech (and for a date night with first lady Michelle Obama).

It turns out that riding Air Force One is, in lots of ways, like flying commercial. You need to get there hours early. You send your items through a metal detector and get wanded down. The inside of the cabin is, well, the cabin of a plane, but with some much nicer touches, like real towels and hand lotion in the bathroom.

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People don’t care about campaign finance. Someone tell the president and his party.

People don’t care about campaign finance. Someone tell the president and his party.

President Obama has been sounding the alarm to Democrats about the midterm elections. He's trying to energize the base, warning that Democrats get "clobbered" in midterm elections and urging a major push to get people to the polls.

At a Houston fundraiser Wednesday night -- at a mansion with a pool flanked by palm trees, which a reporter there described as "a sight from Versailles" -- Obama lambasted the amount of money that Republicans were pouring into super PACs and what he believes are deliberate efforts to dissuade Democrats from voting.

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Women of America: President Obama wants to lower your dry cleaning bill

Women of America: President Obama wants to lower your dry cleaning bill

Speaking at the White House's East Room during a pay equity event on Tuesday, President Obama unwittingly touched on the third rail of household errands in America when he talked about , wait for it, dry cleaning.

"We’ll talk about dry cleaners next, right," Obama said, prompting laughter from the audience, which was full of women, "because I know that -- I don’t know why it costs more for Michelle’s blouse than my shirt." Asked about the disparities between what men and women pay for dry cleaning during the daily briefing a little more than an hour later, White House press secretary Jay Carney replied: "It's terrible."

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President Obama is in Michigan to talk minimum wage today. Here’s why.

President Obama is in Michigan to talk minimum wage today. Here’s why.

When asked why President Obama chose to travel to Ann Arbor, Mich., (Go Blue!) to give a speech on the minimum wage Wednesday, White House press secretary Jay Carney responded, "We love Michigan, everybody here." But there's more to it than that.

Obama wants to increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour by 2016. Congressional Democrats support the proposal, Republicans -- wait for it -- do not.

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The President Obama-David Ortiz selfie -- and 10 other awesome pictures of the Red Sox at the White House

The President Obama-David Ortiz selfie -- and 10 other awesome pictures of the Red Sox at the White House

The Boston Red Sox were at the White House Tuesday morning to celebrate their 2013 World Series championship. (The Nationals will be doing this next year.)

"Beards or no beards, it is an honor to welcome the 2013 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox to the White House," said Obama. "I think for the nation as a whole, there was something about this particular squad that was special, that will go down in history."

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President Obama: (Still) huge in Europe

President Obama: (Still) huge in Europe

President Obama's trip last week underscored one thing: He's more popular abroad than he is at home.

Crowds lined the streets of Brussels, The Hague and Rome to catch a glimpse of Obama's motorcade. The crowd watching Obama's speech at the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels was described as "star-struck."

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Obamacare’s final push to enroll African Americans

Tick-tock goes the Obamacare clock.

On Thursday, the White House announced that 6 million Americans have signed up for health care coverage. The administration pushed hard for minorities to sign up on the exchanges. With just days left before the deadline for enrollment, the administration and its allies are still pushing toward their original goal of 7 million enrollees. Watch to see who's on the receiving end of this sprint to the finish line.

Just how popular was Michelle Obama’s visit to China?

Just how popular was Michelle Obama’s visit to China?

According to a tally by the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, photos, videos and stories about Michelle Obama's visit to China garnered more than 1 billion page views.

Yes, that's billion with a B.

It's probably not too far-fetched of a notion, according to Cheng Li, director of the John L. Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution.

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The 5 photos you need to see of President Obama’s meeting with Pope Francis

The 5 photos you need to see of President Obama’s meeting with Pope Francis

As our colleague Scott Wilson writes, President Obama met with Pope Francis at the Vatican for a little less than an hour Thursday. The two men warmly greeted one another outside the Papal Library and continued inside for their meeting. Here are five photos from the much-anticipated meeting.

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When the White House official transcript is wrong -- and how it gets fixed

When the White House official transcript is wrong -- and how it gets fixed

Anytime President Obama speaks publicly, a transcript of what he says is published. The transcriptions are compiled by official presidential stenographers who travel with Obama. The finished products are then disseminated to the press. The transcripts are both historical record and fact-checking help for reporters. This is a good thing.

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Obama goes ‘Between Two Ferns’ (Video)

President Obama is the latest guest for the hilarious Funny Or Die web video series "Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis."

For those unfamiliar, the series mimics low-budget interview shows, with the host and his famous guest often trading passive-aggressive digs at each other.

Enjoy!

Follow @AaronBlakeWP !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p '://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, 'script', 'twitter-wjs');

MORE: Obama's best moments from "Between Two Ferns"

A politician’s guide to winning the Internet (and influencing people)

It used to be easy to get the American public to pay attention to presidents. You could get the nation huddled around their radio while catching them up on what was new in D.C.. You could get all three television networks to run your speech in primetime. You could give an interview to one of the weekly news magazines. Easy, right?

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Future Wes Andersons talk movies, tech at the White House

Future Wes Andersons talk movies, tech at the White House

Updated: 5:45 p.m.

The White House is hosting a Student Film Festival today, the first ever and the latest effort in his ConnectED project -- a presidential partnership with private companies to expand technology and broadband access to 99 percent of students in the United States within five years.

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President Obama and Vice President Biden went running at the White House. In ties.

Do you want to see President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden run around the White House to promote First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign? Of course you do.

Our favorite moment? Biden telling Obama "you're hard to keep up with."

(Also, worth noting: This is all part of the Obama Administration's long-running effort to shape perception of the president -- and the vice president -- using the technology to directly communicate with the public.)

Here's the minute-length video:

And, if that video is too long for your attention span, here's the one GIF you need from the run.


Image courtesy of Masuma Ahuja

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How ‘Wuthering Heights’ explains the relationship of Barack Obama and John Boehner

How ‘Wuthering Heights’ explains the relationship of Barack Obama and John Boehner

In Wuthering Heights, Catherine says of Heathcliff: “My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary ... He's always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being.” Based on the serialized romance novel political reporters have been writing since 2010, Emily Bronte's might as well have been writing about President Barack Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner, because the Gothic romance they share is exactly the same. Both men like golf, cigarettes, and Merlot. They have had a tempestuous relationship, and often say mean things about each other in public, before doing an about-face and renewing their devotion to each other in the press.

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No, Obama’s ambassador picks aren’t qualified. But that’s nothing new.

No, Obama’s ambassador picks aren’t qualified. But that’s nothing new.

Republicans have taken to attacking President Obama's ambassador picks, after The Fix and others reported that a few of them have basically flubbed their confirmation hearings. (This includes acknowledging they don't know much about or haven't visited the countries they're set to serve in. Ouch.)

"The Daily Show" eviscerated Obama for this Wednesday, and now the Republican National Committee is out with this handy graphic:

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Obama’s love affair with executive orders — or not (in 1 chart)

Obama’s love affair with executive orders — or not (in 1 chart)

President Obama served notice in his State of the Union address that he will be using more executive orders in the weeks and months ahead due to Congress's failure to act on his priorities.

Republicans, naturally, are crying foul, with one House member going so far as to call him a "socialist dictator" and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) labeling Obama's tenure an "imperial presidency."

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Sunday show roundup: All eyes on Christie, Gates

Sunday show roundup: All eyes on Christie, Gates

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's bridge scandal dominated the Sunday morning political talk shows, although much of the chatter also revolved around former defense secretary Robert Gates's new memoir in which he harshly criticizes President Obama's wartime leadership.

While Christie's scandal was the focus of most shows, lawmakers had little to say about the scandal in which a top aide orchestrated a traffic jam in an apparent act of political revenge.

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Return of the debt ceiling battle: Coming soon to a Congress near you

Return of the debt ceiling battle: Coming soon to a Congress near you

Now that the Senate is on the verge of signing off on a bipartisan budget plan that has already cleared the House, we can wave goodbye to all the partisan fiscal battles that have become commonplace in Washington, right?

Nope.

Why? Because, the debt ceiling. Just ask Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), one of the two main architects of the budget deal that appears to set to pass.

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Why fixing HealthCare.gov won’t fix the fight over Obamacare

Why fixing HealthCare.gov won’t fix the fight over Obamacare

Democrats and Republicans disagree about a lot when it comes to President Obama's signature health-care law. But on one point, there is consensus: Obamacare is about much more than HealthCare.gov.

That's precisely why improving the Web site, as the Obama administration announced Sunday it had done by its self-imposed Nov. 30 deadline, won't spare it a prolonged political battle that promises to spill over into 2014.

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How President Obama can stop the bleeding on Obamacare

How President Obama can stop the bleeding on Obamacare

President Obama is at the lowest point of his presidency.

That’s according to a slew of new national polls released over the past week, all which show the disastrous rollout of HealthCare.gov and the president’s misleading “if you like your insurance, you can keep it” pledge are dragging down his numbers to record lows.

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The five biggest takeaways this week from the budget and debt ceiling standoff

The five biggest takeaways this week from the budget and debt ceiling standoff

What a difference a week makes.

The government is no longer shut down and the nation is no longer at risk of defaulting on its obligations. Rewind to a week ago, and the picture looked very different, with Republicans and Democrats at an impasse over the budget and debt.

But Washington found its way out of the standoff at the 11th hour during a very revealing week that spoke volumes about the current state of politics. Below are five biggest things we learned from the fiscal battle that has came to an end -- for now, at least -- Wednesday night.

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Kinda, sorta paying attention to the government shutdown? Read this and get caught up.

Kinda, sorta paying attention to the government shutdown? Read this and get caught up.

The federal government shutdown is in its fourth day.

Unless you've shielded yourself from news media completely (and you wouldn't be reading The Fix if you had!) you already knew that.

But what's going in the political debate over funding the government? A lot. And sometimes it all moves too fast to keep up with, blow by blow.

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'We're winning': A 'game'-changer?

'We're winning': A 'game'-changer?

The GOP is now focused like a laser on an anonymous White House official's comment that the administration is "winning" the shutdown debate.

From The Wall Street Journal:

Said a senior administration official: "We are winning It doesn't really matter to us" how long the shutdown lasts "because what matters is the end result."

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The shutdown won't end anytime soon. Here's why.

The shutdown won't end anytime soon. Here's why.

If Day 1 of the government shutdown told us anything, it's that this situation isn't going to resolve itself anytime terribly soon.


President Obama held a press event in which he accused Republicans of pursuing "an ideological crusade to deny affordable health insurance to millions of Americans," adding: "In other words, they demanded ransom just for doing their job."

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American exceptionalism, explained

American exceptionalism, explained

From the right, President Obama has often been attacked for failing to embrace the concept of “American exceptionalism.” And now, Russian President Vladimir Putin contends that Obama has gone overboard with it.

Which raises the question: What is American exceptionalism, anyway?

It is actually an old idea, one that until recently was rarely talked about outside of think tanks and academia. But in the Obama era, American exceptionalism has opened up a new political battlefront.

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Letterman’s top 10 things you don’t want to hear in an Oval Office speech (VIDEO)

“Number two: By now you’ve seen and evaluated my underpants photo.”

Should President Obama have canceled his Syria speech?

Should President Obama have canceled his Syria speech?

Minutes after President Obama began speaking to the country last night, one thing became very clear: He didn’t have any new argument to offer Americans for why Syria needed to be punished for using chemical weapons against its own people.

In so doing, Obama violated a critical rule of politics: Don’t make a big speech -- a president speaking in prime time is by default a “big” speech -- if you don’t have something appropriately big to say.

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4 takeaways from President Obama’s Syria speech

4 takeaways from President Obama’s Syria speech

President Obama just concluded his primetime address to the country, a speech in which he largely remade arguments he had offered over the past 96 hours for why it is in America’s interest to consider a military strike against Syria.

Obama spoke for roughly 15 minutes, but the speech will be analyzed for a LOT longer than that. My takeaways on what he said -- and why he said it -- are below.

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Time isn’t on the White House’s side on Syria resolution

Time isn’t on the White House’s side on Syria resolution

Here’s what White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough had to say about The Fix’s whip count showing a majority of the House either against or leaning against voting for a use of force resolution on Syria: “We have been working this now for several days while members are in their states and in their districts, so I think it’s too early to come to any conclusions.”

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What Ted Cruz could mean for the 2016 presidential race

What Ted Cruz could mean for the 2016 presidential race

This much is clear from the events of the last two days: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) wants to put questions about his citizenship and eligibility to run for president behind him, as evidenced by the release of his birth certificate and promise to renounce his Canadian citizenship.

Combined with the fact that Cruz has made two trips to Iowa this year (with a third slated for October) and is headed to New Hampshire on Friday, and the question of what it would mean for 2016 if Cruz runs for president is worth asking.

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Hillary Clinton's voting rights speech is essential for her future. Here's why.

Hillary Clinton's voting rights speech is essential for her future. Here's why.

As Hillary Rodham Clinton weighs a second presidential run, there are certain steps she needs to take along the way to a decision. She took a couple of them in San Francisco Monday afternoon in a speech about voting rights.

Clinton can afford to keep a low public profile more than the other potential 2016ers. But she simply can't be a non-factor on the big issues of the day. If she were to do that, she'd face criticism that she was absent from the political debate for a couple of years, assuming she makes an announcement after the 2014 midterms.

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What to watch for at President Obama's press conference

What to watch for at President Obama's press conference

President Obama will field questions from reporters today at 3 pm, the first time he has held a formal press conference since April 30.

Given that we've waited 101 days -- but who's counting?! -- for Obama to take more than a handful of questions from reporters, it's worth doing a bit of handicapping as to what to watch for in the proceedings today.

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When Bill Clinton considered Ben Bradlee for the Medal of Freedom

When Bill Clinton considered Ben Bradlee for the Medal of Freedom

As David Nakamura reports, The Post's Ben Bradlee is set to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the highest civilian award in the United States.

But it's actually not the first time Bradlee has been considered for the award.

As John Harris explained in his 2005 book "The Survivor" — and as Mark Leibovich re-reported in the just-released book "This Town" — Bill Clinton once considered Bradlee for the honor as well.

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The long and forbidden 'bromance' of Obama and McCain — in 12 headlines

The long and forbidden 'bromance' of Obama and McCain — in 12 headlines

Remember that couple in high school that kept breaking up and saying awful things about each other but then getting back together anyway? That's President Obama and Sen. John McCain.

Obama cemented the latest reunion between the two this week when he remarked on their "bromance" during an appearance on "The Tonight Show."

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Why no one should be surprised that Jay Leno asked President Obama "real" questions

Why no one should be surprised that Jay Leno asked President Obama 'real' questions

The overwhelming sentiment coming out of President Obama's interview with "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno can be summed up like this: "Wow, Jay really asked serious questions."

Russia, Edward Snowden and the NSA were part of the conversation. So too was the increased terror alert. And Hillary Clinton's presidential prospects. There was relatively little "Hey how are the wife and kids" chatter that many people expected. (Leno did ask Obama how he spent his birthday; it wasn't a totally dry interview.)

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What a Martin O'Malley presidential campaign would sound like — in 113 words

What a Martin O'Malley presidential campaign would sound like — in 113 words

MILWAUKEE — Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) hasn't announced his 2016 presidential campaign just yet. But he sure sounds like he's getting closer to doing it.

"By the end of this year, I think we're on course to have a body of work that lays the framework of a candidacy for 2016," O'Malley told reporters on the sidelines of the National Governors Association meeting here.

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Obama's 'grand bargain' not going anywhere

Obama's 'grand bargain' not going anywhere

President Obama will propose a new "grand bargain" on tax reform in Chattanooga, Tenn. today. But this attempt at a deal is basically DOA.

What Obama's proposing: a corporate tax overhaul, with the profits used to fund domestic stimulus. But while there's been bipartisan agreement on the need for corporate tax reform, Republicans want it to be paired with individual tax reform. And they want it to be revenue neutral, as it was in Obama's April budget. In this proposal they don't see enough concessions to make it a bargain at all.

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The only constant in today's politics: Pessimism

The only constant in today's politics: Pessimism

There is a lot of uncertainty in politics. But this much is clear: for the past 20 years, Americans have taken a consistently pessimistic view of the direction of the country.

Six in 10 Americans say they think things have gotten pretty seriously off on the wrong track, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Just 36 percent say things are headed in the right direction.

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Meet President Obama's new economic message. Same as his old economic message.

Meet President Obama's new economic message.  Same as his old economic message.

You could be forgiven if you thought you had heard President Obama's speech on the economy today before. Because you have. For most of the 2012 campaign. (Don't trust us, read Obama's 2012 acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention.)

Things are getting better in areas like private sector job creation, home construction, energy independence and health care. But, the country isn't all the way back yet. Republicans are looking out for the wealthiest Americans at the expense of the middle class. Times need to change.

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The full Obama speech on Trayvon Martin and race in America (VIDEO)

Much has been written about President Obama's impromptu remarks about the Trayvon Martin case in Florida and, more broadly, race in America, on Friday.

The one and only David Maraniss offered his take today. Dan Balz has chimed in. And, yes, we had our thoughts too.

Amid this sea of words, it's worth re-watching or, for many people, watching the 18 minute (or so) speech by Obama. As we tweeted at the time, Obama's remarks were among the most personal and, therefore, the most insightful of his presidency. It's well worth checking out.

President Obama's remarkably personal speech on Trayvon Martin and race in America

President Obama's remarkably personal speech on Trayvon Martin and race in America

Going all the way back to the days when he was just an Illinois state senator, Barack Obama has largely eschewed talking publicly about his life as a black man in American society. Until today.

"Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago," President Obama said in remarks in the White House briefing room aimed at addressing the case of a young black man shot under controversial circumstances in Sanford, Florida.

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President Obama's Cabinet: Who's survived

President Obama's Cabinet: Who's survived



Janet Napolitano's departure from the Department of Homeland Security means the team that came with President Obama into the White House is dwindling. Here's who's survived, what they're doing, and how long they'll be doing it.

* Eric Holder - Napolitano was seen as next in line for attorney general, so her departure for California is a sign that Holder isn't going anywhere soon. Holder is still considered the most likely Cabinet member to bow out. But critics have predicted his resignation multiple times, and so far he's held on.

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When presidents meet -- in eight images and videos

When presidents meet -- in eight images and videos

Updated at 11:47 a.m.

Note: We originally posted this item in April. With presidents Obama and Bush set to meet once again at a wreath-laying ceremony in Tanzania on Tuesday, it's worth another look back at some of the most memorable occasions during which presidents have crossed paths with one another.

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President Obama's approval ratings really don't change all that much

President Obama's approval ratings really don't change all that much

In a piece a week ago, we argued that for all the talk of President Obama's dipping poll numbers the truth of the matter was that his approval (and disapproval) marks have varied very little since he took office.

But, we wondered, how did the relatively small movements in Obama's approval ratings compare to other past presidents? Now, thanks to the good people at Hamilton Place Strategies, a GOP economic consulting firm, we have the answer.

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5 takeaways from President Obama's climate speech

5 takeaways from President Obama's climate speech

What did we learn from President Obama's climate speech Tuesday? Here are five takeaways.

1. He won't duck the climate implications of Keystone XL, even though he may still end up approving it. Obama declared, "Our national interest will be served only if this pipeline does not significantly exacerbate the climate problem." That means the administration will be analyzing whether approving the project will generate more greenhouse gas emissions than blocking it would. However in its draft environmental impact assessment, the State Department indicated that even if the president denies a permit to TransCanada to build the project, the oil in Alberta may be shipped to the U.S. by rail, leading to comparable emissions. So Obama's final decision will largely depend on how his deputies crunch the numbers.

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Jay Carney and the art of the dodge

The good folks over at Yahoo have done it again.

A new interactive infographic from Fix friend Chris Wilson and Rachel Rose Hartman looks at transcripts of all 444 briefings Jay Carney has conducted as White House press secretary, identifying "13 distinct strains in the way he dodges a reporter's question."

A couple of the most interesting findings:

* Carney has referred questions to someone else nearly 1,400 times

* He has said he doesn't know the answer more than 1,900 times

* He has refused to speculate more than 500 times

No matter how you feel about Carney, it truly is a fascinating look at the job of White House press secretary.

The remarkable consistency of President Obama's job approval numbers

The remarkable consistency of President Obama's job approval numbers

Here's the truth about President Obama's job approval numbers: They don't move around all that much.

New numbers from Pew Research Center tell that story. Forty nine percent of respondents approved of the job President Obama while 43 percent disapproved. Those numbers are remarkably unchanged from where Obama stood in a January Pew poll despite the fact that the past five and a half months have seen the failure of the White House's attempt to change gun laws, the IRS scandal, evidence of an improving economy, the NSA revelations and plenty of other "major" news events.

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How Germany feels about Obama -- in 2 magazine covers

How Germany feels about Obama -- in 2 magazine covers

President Obama returns to Berlin today to deliver a speech at the Brandenburg Gate, five years after a speech by then-candidate Obama drew more than 200,000 people (and made its way into a negative ad from Arizona Sen. John McCain).

To see how big a difference five years makes, check out the divergent covers of Der Spiegel, the influential weekly German magazine.

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Sunday show roundup: Surveillance and Syria dominate the conversation

The government's sweeping surveillance efforts and the U.S. posture toward the violent conflict in Syria dominated the discussion across the Sunday show landscape.

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough defended the surveillance techniques, and said President Obama does not believe the tactics have violated Americans' privacy. Meanwhile, on Syria, several Republicans in Congress expressed dissatisfaction at the Obama administration's response.

Read about it all and more over on Post Politics:

Denis McDonough: Iranian election a 'potentially hopeful sign'

Republicans criticize Obama on Syria

Denis McDonough: Obama does not feel Americans' privacy has been violated

Sen. Marco Rubio: Immigration bill needs improvements

Mike Rogers: Examples of thwarted terror plots will spur Americans to support surveillance

Dick Cheney: Rand Paul is wrong on government surveillance

Jeb Bush: Parents 'split' over prospect of 2016 run

In marking anniversary of Equal Pay Act, Obama extols gay rights

In marking anniversary of Equal Pay Act, Obama extols gay rights

President Obama made a point Monday of commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act, calling for more action to close the wage gap between men and women.

Making a reference to his own daughters, the president noted that women now earn 77 cents for every dollar a man does, on average."Over the course of her career, a working woman with a college degree will earn on average hundreds of thousands of dollars less than a man who does the same work," Obama said. "Now, that's wrong. I don't want that for Malia and Sasha. I don't want that for your daughters."

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The story of Michelle Obama and her heckler

The story of Michelle Obama and her heckler

Michelle Obama's altercation with a lesbian activist this week sparked a debate about the merits of heckling. The popular first lady's many fans loved the way she stood her ground, and an outburst from an irate LGBT activist struck many as surprising given President Obama's record of support for gay rights.

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How do you handle a heckler? Well, it depends.

How do you handle a heckler? Well, it depends.

In the wake of Tuesday's night's heckling incident with the first lady -- when Michelle Obama threatened to leave if the activist didn't stop speaking -- it's worth noting that she and her husband react differently to harassment depending on the circumstances.

In this most recent case, the first lady took a hard line when Ellen Sturtz, a lesbian activist, interrupted her remarks during a Democratic Party fundraiser in a private residence in Northwest Washington to demand that President Obama sign an anti-discrimination executive order.

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The biggest environmental decision facing Obama you've never heard of

The biggest environmental decision facing Obama you've never heard of

If you want to get a sense of how contentious the decision is over whether the Obama administration is going to block a planned copper and gold mine near Bristol Bay, consider this: the Environmental Protection Agency has just decided to allow the public another month to weigh in on a scientific review of the project they released a year ago.

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Greetings from Asbury Park: Barack Obama and Chris Christie -- in 8 pictures

Greetings from Asbury Park: Barack Obama and Chris Christie -- in 8 pictures

President Obama and Chris Christie stood side by side today for the first time since last fall when the New Jersey governor warmly welcomed the sitting incumbent in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and during the heat of the fall campaign, a visit some Republicans believe cost them a chance at the White House.

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Obama to name Furman chair of economic advisers

Obama to name Furman chair of economic advisers

Jason Furman, a longtime economic adviser to President Obama, will become the next chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, according to sources familiar with the decision who asked not to be identified because it has not been publicly announced.

Furman, who now serves as assistant to the president for economic policy and the principal deputy director of the National Economic Council, has advised Obama on economic matters since his first presidential bid. Furman played a crucial role in crafting the administration's massive American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009, as well as a slew of other key policies on issues ranging from autos to energy efficiency.

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A White House counsel known for her shoes

A White House counsel known for her shoes

It may say more about Washington than White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler that she's known in the West Wing for her fabulous shoes.

Ruemmler first attracted attention for her glam heels as a Justice Department prosecutor trying Enron executives Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling in 2006, when she sported what The Wall Street Journal described as "stunning 4-inch bright pink stiletto spikes."

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Jay Carney's charm offensive

Jay Carney's charm offensive

Maybe it was a birthday resolution. Or perhaps a survival strategy.

Whatever the case, embattled White House press secretary Jay Carney, who turned 48 on Wednesday, struck a different tone with reporters during his daily briefing. Gone was the combative and, at times, dismissive Carney who had mockingly referred to a reporter as "petulant" a day earlier.

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President Obama's bad week, in one chart

President Obama's bad week, in one chart

It doesn't take a political genius to grasp that President Obama has just weathered one of the worst weeks of his time in office.

But, sometimes a picture tells the story better than all the words we've written on it this week. Below is a chart produced by TargetPoint, a Republican consulting firm, using their National Dialogue Monitor to track national conversation on May 15 and 16. ("The National Dialogue Monitor tracks every time a politician, celebrity, organization, issue or corporation is mentioned across all media channels -- television, radio, newspapers, magazines, blogs, websites, and social networks," according to an explanation on the firm's website.)

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Why House Republicans and Eric Holder hate each other

Why House Republicans and Eric Holder hate each other

We may not have learned much about the AP phone records case from Wednesday's House Oversight Committee as Attorney General Eric Holder repeatedly said he could not answer questions. One thing we did learn: House Republicans really, really, really don't like Eric Holder. And the feeling is mutual.

"I don't, frankly, think I've always been treated with respect, and it's not even a personal thing," he said toward the end of the hearing. "That's one thing. But I am the attorney general of the United States."

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Would a media shield law have protected the AP?

Would a media shield law have protected the AP?

In response to the outcry over a Justice Department seizure of the phone records of Associated Press journalists, President Obama has asked Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to reintroduce federal shield law legislation to protect the press from subpoenas.

Had it been law, the DOJ may well have gotten hold of the AP records anyway. But the process would have played out differently.

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Jay Carney's tough day

Jay Carney's tough day

Washington Post White House reporter David Nakamura was in the press briefing room today and got a close-up look at the grilling press secretary Jay Carney endured at the hands of the press corps. He wrote about what he saw below.

White House press secretary Jay Carney insists that President Obama is committed to "unfettered" media scrutiny of his administration. For an hour Tuesday, at least, the White House got it. Big time.

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Obama on civil liberties: Saying one thing, doing another

Obama on civil liberties: Saying one thing, doing another

For a former constitutional law lecturer who came to office pledging renewed respect for civil liberties, President Obama, now more than ever, appears at odds with his resume and pre-election promises.

New revelations that Obama's Justice Department secretly obtained phone records of AP journalists, including home and cell phones, have served to highlight the administration's aggressive approach to the press targeting reporters who have benefited from government leaks and the officials suspected of providing them.

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The remarkable similarities between Barack Obama and George W. Bush

The remarkable similarities between Barack Obama and George W. Bush

Barack Obama and George W. Bush are more similar than you might think -- at least when it comes to where they stand in the eyes of the public at similar times in their terms as president.

In a new Pew Research Center poll, President Obama's ratings in May 2013 are near mirror images of those for Bush in Pew polling conducted in July 2005. Fifty-six percent of those surveyed called Obama a "strong leader," while 55 percent said the same of Bush of 2005. Forty-nine percent said Obama is able to get things done, while 50 percent said that of Bush in May 2005. (By contrast, 64 percent of respondents said Bill Clinton was able to get things done in an August 1997 Pew poll.)

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Obama's plan for restructuring government? Forget about it.

Obama's plan for restructuring government? Forget about it.

Now that President Obama has nominated hotel magnate Penny Pritzker as Commerce Secretary and longtime staffer Michael Froman as the U.S. trade representative, one might ask: whatever happened to last year's plan to combine the government's trade, investment and commerce functions into one department?

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As Obama visits, Mexicans' view of the U.S. is improving

As President Obama heads to Mexico, a recent Pew poll found that public opinion of the U.S. in the country is at its highest in years. Check out this chart from Max Fisher at WorldViews:

What happened?

The main driver seems to be immigration policy. After Arizona passed its controversial immigration law in 2010, Mexican opinion of the U.S. plummeted from 62 percent to 44 percent. Since hitting that nadir, it has gone back up, including a 10-point jump in the past year. Last summer, Obama halted deportation for some young immigrants, and this year, Congress has begun work on bipartisan immigration reform.

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Why is immigration going so much better for Obama than the budget?

Why is immigration going so much better for Obama than the budget?

One of the most important questions for President Obama and Congress is why the 2012 election produced so much bipartisan support for an overhaul of immigration laws and so little for a sweeping budget deal.

On the surface, there's no obvious reason why it should be so much harder to do a budget agreement than an immigration deal. Obama won a decisive electoral victory in 2012 in a campaign in which immigration, taxes and spending were all major issues. Polls showed Americans sided with Obama on those issues, and they continue to do so today. According to Washington Post-ABC News polls from March, 57 percent of Americans supported a pathway to citizenship, while 56 percent supported replacing the deep spending cuts known as sequestration with a plan to limit tax deductions for the wealthy. That's Obama's proposal.

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President Obama's speech at the White House Correspondents Dinner (VIDEO)

The political/media world gathered Saturday night for the annual White House Correspondents Dinner. The Fix was there -- and tweeted about it! -- but just in case you missed President Obama's speech (and you shouldn't) it's below.

The Fix goes to the White House Correspondents Dinner!

It's White House Correspondents Dinner weekend in Washington, that time when Hollywood descends on the nation's capitol and we all spend time awkwardly taking photographs of them. Also, President Obama and comedian Conan O'Brien will give speeches. (Check out our best Correspondents Dinner moments here.)

The Fix loves celebrities and awkwardness -- heck, we basically majored in the latter in college -- so this is an event tailor-made for us. Below is our Twitter feed where we will be sending pictures and random thoughts throughout the night. You can also follow all of the action on the Grid, the Post's amazing interactive interface.

Tweets by @TheFix
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Five memorable White House Correspondents' Dinner moments (VIDEO)

Five memorable White House Correspondents' Dinner moments (VIDEO)

The weekend of the White House Correspondents' Dinner is nearly upon us. The "nerd prom," if you like, is the annual Washington black tie event at which the president and the media who cover the White House gather for an evening of jokes and dinner. (The Reliable Source tells you everything you need to know about the event here.)

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Anger, joy, duty: 7 striking images when presidents meet

With the five living presidents meeting Thursday in Texas, we asked presidential historian Michael Beschloss to give us a sense of these presidential gatherings. Beschloss, author of nine books and contributor to the PBS NewsHour and NBC News, had only to look at his Twitter feed, which features images such as this, from the opening of the George H.W. Bush library in 1997.

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What President Obama can learn from female Senators

What President Obama can learn from female Senators

President Obama will dine with all 20 female senators at the White House Tuesday night, crashing a regular gathering among the women of the Senate.

And, according to Debbie Walsh of Rutgers University's Center for American Women and Politics, the very fact that the women of the Senate get together at all could teach the broader Congress and White House a lesson about political civility. The gathering "might not seem like that high a bar [but] it makes them stand out," said Walsh "This is something that's missing in the Capitol right now."

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How the failure on guns narrows President Obama's second-term window

How the failure on guns narrows President Obama's second-term window

The failure of a package of gun control measures last week not only robs President Obama of what was expected to be a major legislative accomplishment of his second term, it also ramps up pressure for him to find a way to succeed in upcoming fights on immigration and the federal budget.

"The President's success hinges on getting a budget deal that further reduces the deficit," said Democratic consultant Steve Murphy. "Looking at the polling, it's clear the American people are demanding it get done, and they are holding both sides responsible."

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How the ban on earmarks killed the gun bill

How the ban on earmarks killed the gun bill

For the past three months the White House sought to strengthen the nation's background check system for gun sales by making a two-part argument: it was the right thing to do, and 90 percent of Americans supported the idea.

It seemed to be a strong case. But, the realities of Congress -- geography, electoral cycles etc. -- complicated its persuasiveness. And, the ban on earmarks killed it.

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Jay Carney tries to keep hope alive on guns

Jay Carney tries to keep hope alive on guns

One in an occasional series of observational pieces keyed off the White House daily briefing.

The rest of Washington might have already declared a bipartisan gun control measure dead before it lost 54-56, but White House press secretary Jay Carney was having none of it shortly before the vote.

Appearing somewhat emotional at times during his mid-day briefing, Carney repeatedly failed to deliver a post-mortem on the proposal by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WVa.) and Pat Toomey (R-Penn.) to strengthen background checks on gun sales, which needed 60 votes to overcome Republican opposition.

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How controversial are President Obama's judicial nominees?

How controversial are President Obama's judicial nominees?

As the White House makes a concerted push to change the conservative makeup of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, it's worth asking, are his judicial nominees really controversial?

Let's look at the facts.

Overall, President Obama's judicial nominees wait an average of 116 days on the Senate floor for a vote, according to the White House, more than three times longer than President George W. Bush's judicial nominee average wait time of 34 days.

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Know who won't be watching the Supreme Court oral arguments on gay marriage? President Obama.

One in an occasional series of observational pieces keyed off the White House daily briefing.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest scored a political point Monday when Reuters White House correspondent Jeff Mason asked whether the president would be watching the historic oral arguments on gay marriage at the Supreme Court this week.

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How blocking Cabinet nominees became common practice

How blocking Cabinet nominees became common practice

Over the past few weeks three different senators have put the nominations of three picks by President Obama — the head of the Central Intelligence Agency, Interior Department and Labor Department — in jeopardy.

In none of these instances — CIA director John Brennan, Interior Secretary-designate Sally Jewell and Labor Secretary-designate Thomas Perez — did the senators suggest the president's nominees were unqualified. And in the case of Jewell, Sen. Lisa Murkowski's (R-Alaska) objection had nothing to do with the nominee herself. So the question is, why has it become so common for senators to throw up roadblocks in the confirmation process?

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Why the Easter Bunny and White House tours have become the public face of sequestration

Why the Easter Bunny and White House tours have become the public face of sequestration

Officials at Hanford Nuclear Reservation notified 237 employees Monday they will be laid off next week. An air traffic controller at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport who just won an award for saving a pilot's life learned this week she will be furloughed.

But when it comes to what now defines the current budget standoff between President Obama and congressional Republicans, it's all about White House tours and the Easter Bunny.

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The White House situation room: Not just for crises anymore

The White House situation room: Not just for crises anymore

One in an occasional series of observational pieces keyed off the White House daily briefing.



The fact that President Obama has chosen to discuss the issue of cybersecurity with top American business executives in the Situation Room is not cause for panic.

They just ran out of spaces to meet in the White House.

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For Obama and House Republicans, a rare visit


President Barack Obama (2R) meets with (L-R) House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), and Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) in the Cabinet Room of the White House July 11, 2011 in Washington, DC

As President Obama makes his way over to the Capitol Wednesday for a meeting with the House Republican Conference, it's worth noting how rarely this sort of group hug happens.

Last year, the president didn't meet a single time with the GOP Conference.

On June 1, 2011, a group of House Republicans went to the White House to meet with the president in the East Room.

The meeting before that took place a year and a half earlier, when Obama journeyed to a Republican members' retreat in Baltimore on Jan. 29, 2010.

And if you're looking for the last time the president met with the entire House GOP conference in the Capitol, that takes you back to Jan. 27, 2009, not too long after he first won the presidency.

They must miss each other very much.

How Obama's Cabinet will shape his second term

How Obama's Cabinet will shape his second term

Now that President Obama has the bulk of his Cabinet filled, a question looms: what does he aim to do with his new team?

Here's a look at the men and women who will shape the president's second-term agenda, as well as his legacy:

National Security Team

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When Jay Carney liked hard-nosed Bob Woodward

When Jay Carney liked hard-nosed Bob Woodward

Bob Woodward has been a thorn in the White House's side this week.

And there was a time when White House press secretary Jay Carney liked that just fine.

Witness this piece, which Carney wrote as a reporter for Time magazine in 2007. At the time, Woodward was reporting that then-CIA Director Michael Hayden had contradicted the Bush administration's claims of progress in the governance of Iraq during an appearance before the Iraq Study Group.

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The Violence Against Women Act's most interesting votes

The House on Thursday voted to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, ending an extended political battle over a measure the Senate has already passed and President Obama has agreed to sign.

But for some House Republicans, this may not be the last word they hear about it.

The legislation clears the way for funding to help prosecute sexual assault and domestic abuse crimes, as well as assist victims of such crimes. Some Republicans opposed the measure for a variety of reasons, ranging from a belief that states should handle such matters to concerns over protections extended to gays and lesbians and expanding the authority of tribal courts. Other Republicans supported the measure.

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RESOLVED: President Obama doesn't (really) care about campaign finance reform

RESOLVED: President Obama doesn't (really) care about campaign finance reform

Here's a novel concept: For all of the rhetoric he has devoted to the need to reform how campaigns are funded, President Obama has done little to, you know, actually bring about those reforms. And, it can be argued relatively convincingly that Obama has actually done plenty to exacerbate the influence of money in politics.

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President Obama is enjoying a second political honeymoon. But how long will it last?

President Obama is enjoying a second political honeymoon. But how long will it last?

President Obama is enjoying a sort of second political honeymoon in the wake of his re-election victory last November with a series of national polls showing his job approval rating climbing from the middling territory where it lagged for much of the last several years.

In the latest Real Clear Politics rolling average of all national polling, Obama approval is at 52 percent while his disapproval is at 43 percent. That may not seem like much but it marks a significant improvement over where he was for much of 2010 and 2011.

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Chuck Hagel was bad. And it doesn't matter.

Chuck Hagel was bad.  And it doesn't matter.

Former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel was, at turns, halting, befuddled and, often, just plain bad during his confirmation hearing to be the next Secretary of Defense. And it almost certainly won't keep him from becoming the next man to lead the Pentagon.

Let's start with what Hagel did wrong. He appeared to be taken completely aback by the aggressiveness of the questioning from many of his former Republican colleagues on long-hashed over topics like his posture toward Iran and Israel as well as his past statements regarding the surge in Iraq.

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The 10 nastiest moments of the Obama-Hillary primary (VIDEO)

The 10 nastiest moments of the Obama-Hillary primary (VIDEO)

President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were all warm and fuzzy Sunday night during an interview aired on "60 Minutes."

But as we've noted before, it wasn't always that way.

On "60 Minutes," Obama dismissed the tension between the two in 2008 as more of a staff-level thing. But while it's true that the staff didn't get along (and some of the clips below show that), there was no shortage of tense moments between the candidates as well.

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President Obama to Republicans: I won

President Obama to Republicans: I won

President Obama took questions from the White House press corps for the better part of 50 minutes on Monday morning but the entire message of his news conference could be summed up in two words: I won.



Time and again, Obama referenced the 2012 election as a validation of his approach to governance -- from how the debt ceiling shouldn't be used as a bargaining chip to the possibility of a government shutdown.

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Joe Biden's on a roll

Joe Biden's on a roll

To (kind of) quote Jacobim Mugatu: "Joe Biden. So hot right now."

The Vice President, long one of the most maligned public figures operating in national politics, is on something of a roll of late.

Consider:

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Meet the new President Obama

Meet the new President Obama

President Obama's pick of Jack Lew to replace Tim Geithner as the Treasury secretary is the latest in a rapid series of moves to reshape his Cabinet that provides a telling glimpse into the incumbent's changing philosophic approach on the cusp of his second term.

The Lew pick follows the naming of John Kerry as Obama's pick as secretary of state, Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense and John Brennan as the CIA director in the last two weeks. (Labor Secretary Hilda Solis also announced she was leaving on Wednesday.)

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Will 2013 be Joe Biden's year?

Will 2013 be Joe Biden's year?

President Obama delivered a statement at the White House late Tuesday night praising Congress for passing a deal to avert the fiscal cliff. Flanking him was Vice President Biden, the man who hammered out that deal.

It was a signature moment for a vice president who's experienced a roller-coaster first term. And it solidified Biden's standing as a key player in two of the administration's most immediate legislative priorities following the 2012 election.

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How Pete Souza became President Obama's secret weapon

How Pete Souza became President Obama's secret weapon

You probably have never heard of Pete Souza.

But, Souza, the White House official photographer, plays an absolutely critical -- and often under-estimated -- role in the shaping of "Barack Obama", the image of the president presented to the public.

And, in an election in which Obama's likability seemed to trump policy concerns that many voters held about him, it's not an exaggeration to say that Souza was a major cog in the machine that got the incumbent re-elected.

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What Susan Rice's withdrawal means

What Susan Rice's withdrawal means

The decision by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice to withdraw her name from consideration to be the next Secretary of State is a bow to political reality as it defuses a near-certain showdown between the Obama Administration and Republican Senators over her potential nomination.

"I deeply regret the unfair and misleading attacks on Susan Rice in recent weeks [but] her decision demonstrates the strength of her character, and an admirable commitment to rise above the politics of the moment to put our national interests first," said President Obama in a statement released moments after the news was broken by NBC.

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The history of presidential inaugural addresses in 1 cool chart

President Obama's second inaugural address is still more than a month off but it will be a speech of significant import as he begins to frame not only his second term agenda but also what he wants his legacy in office to look like.

It will also be compared not only to his first inaugural address the only thing we remember about that one was how unbelievably cold it was and to all of the presidential inaugural addresses that have come before it.

That's where this awesome chart comes in. It details every inaugural address by length (words), term of the president and what ultimately became of the guy who gave the speech. Our favorite obviously is William Henry Harrison who gave an 8,445 word inaugural address and died 30 days later. (Harrison's untimely demise is the subject of one of the great "Simpsons" songs of all time.)

GOP leaders make fiscal cliff' counteroffer

GOP leaders make  fiscal cliff' counteroffer

Make sure to sign up to receive "Afternoon Fix" every day in your e-mail inbox by 5(ish) p.m.!

EARLIER ON THE FIX:

#FixCaption: We have a winner

Brian Schweitzer, 2016 dark horse

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5 things to watch for at President Obama's news conference

5 things to watch for at President Obama's news conference

President Obama will take questions from the White House press corps for the first time since August(!) this afternoon. It's also his first extended public dialogue since winning a second term convincingly eight days ago.

The Fix loves a good news conference -- best one ever: Mark Sanford after returning from the "Appalachian Trail" -- and in anticipation of Obama facing the press corps, we offer up a few things to keep an eye on.

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President Obama, David Petraeus and the perilous politics of our split-screen world

President Obama, David Petraeus and the perilous politics of our split-screen world

In his mind's eye, President Obama likely envisioned the 48 hours after Nov. 6 as days of celebration -- having scored a convincing victory and a second four-year term.

Instead, Obama was forced to confront the resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus after he acknowledged an extramarital affair and the resultant uproar in Congress about why they didn't know moreearlier. (In Obama's defense, he was only informed about the Petraeus situation on Thursday morning.)

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David Plouffe defends Obama administration’s response to attack in Libya

White House senior adviser David Plouffe on Sunday defended the Obama administration’s handling of the Sept. 11 attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya, which it initially labeled a spontaneous assault but more recently said was an act of terror with links to al-Qaeda. 

“Obviously you are going to know more two weeks after an event than a week after an event,” Plouffe said on NBC’s “Meet The Press.”

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Scott Walker on Mitt Romney: ‘I want to see fire in the belly’

Scott Walker on Mitt Romney: ‘I want to see fire in the belly’

Echoing his sentiment from a Friday interview, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) said Sunday he wants to see “more passion” from Mitt Romney and more of the enthusiasm he witnessed when Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) was first tapped by the former governor to be his running mate.

“I want to see fire in the belly,” Walker said of Romney on “Fox News Sunday,” adding that he wants to see the Republican nominee “lit up and ready to go.”

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Mitt Romney had the ‘Worst Week in Washington’ — again

Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” comment at a May fundraiser, which came to light this week, sealed his second straight “Worst Week in Washington.”

Cillizza writes:

Modern politics has killed at least two things: privacy and context.

Mitt Romney (re)learned that lesson this past week when an amateur video from a fundraiser went viral. It shows him telling a group of well-heeled donors that, among other things, “there are 47 percent who are with [President Obama], who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them.

Whoopsie.

For a campaign that has struggled to play offense since the GOP convention late last month in Tampa, the “47 percent” video couldn’t have taken off at a worse time.

By later in the week, Romney seemed to have decided that pivoting from the “47 percent” controversy was smarter than doubling down on it. “My campaign is about the 100 percent of America,” Romney told a crowd at the University of Miami on Wednesday.

Republicans insist that Obama’s comments about not being able to make change from Washington will refocus the campaign on the president’s first-term failures, but that’s for next week, not this one.

This week’s damage has certainly eroded Romney’s support: Gallup polling showed that 36 percent of registered voters said the “47 percent” comments made them less likely to support Romney, while 20 percent said it made them more likely to back him. Forty-three percent said the comments would not affect their vote.

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Democrats well-positioned for fall campaign stretch run in Virginia

Democrats well-positioned for fall campaign stretch run in Virginia

Virginia is both a key presidential battleground and the site of an ultra-competitive Senate race that could well decide which party wins the upper chamber majority. In both contests, Democrats appear to hold the high ground with just under seven weeks to go until Election Day.

Beginning with the presidential race, recent polling shows that President Obama is well positioned for the fall stretch run. He leads Mitt Romney 52 percent to 44 percent in a Washington Post poll released Tuesday, and 50 percent to 46 percent in a Quinnipiac University/New York Times/ CBS News poll released on Wednesday. The Real Clear Politics average of recent polling in the state shows Obama with a three-point advantage over Romney.

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What the Wisconsin collective bargaining ruling means

What the Wisconsin collective bargaining ruling means

A Wisconsin’s judge’s Friday decision to strike down Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) signature legislation that curbed collective bargaining for most public employees could leave a mark on the political sphere, as it comes just over seven weeks before Election Day.

Walker says he is confident the state will successfully appeal the ruling, but regardless of the ultimate fate of the law — known more commonly as Act 10 — here are a few quick takeaways of what Friday’s development could mean on the campaign trail in a state that is being contested at the presidential and Senate levels:

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How Paul Ryan’s presence on the GOP ticket affects House races (and how it doesn’t)

How Paul Ryan’s presence on the GOP ticket affects House races (and how it doesn’t)

Nearly five weeks after Mitt Romney tapped Paul Ryan (Wis.) as his vice presidential running mate, House Democrats remain publicly gleeful that the House budget chairman was added to the GOP ticket. Spurred by their belief that his selection has elevated a very winnable public debate over the future of Medicare, they are declaring Romney’s selection of Ryan an unmitigated setback for down-ballot Republicans.

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Bill Clinton, Democratic National Convention star

Bill Clinton, Democratic National Convention star

Bill Clinton’s speech was the highlight of last week’s Democratic National Convention, according to the results of a Pew Research Center for the People & the Press poll released Monday.

Nearly three-in-10 Americans (29 percent) who watched at least a little of the coverage of the Charlotte convention said Clinton’s address was the highlight of the gathering, while just 16 percent said President Obama’s speech was the highlight. First lady Michelle Obama, who gave aprime-timeaddress on the first night of the convention, was not far behind thepresident, with 15 percent choosing her address as the highlight.

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Why is Obama looking so strong in Ohio?

Why is Obama looking so strong in Ohio?

When Mitt Romneycampaignsin Ohio on Monday afternoon, he’ll do so in a state where he has some work to do. Recent polling has shown President Obama holding a slight lead in the Buckeye State, which has long been considered a must-have for Romney to win the White House in November.

If Obama wins Ohio, Romney will have to defy history to win the White House: No Republican has ever been elected president without carrying the Buckeye State. There is still plenty of time for Republicans to turn the tables (and we should underscore that the race remains very close), but right now, the president has put himself in a good position to claim the state’s 18 electoral votes.

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Villaraigosa: Democratic convention will set up clear choice

Villaraigosa: Democratic convention will set up clear choice

Democratic NationalConvention Chairman Antonio Villaraigosa said Sunday that Democrats will aim to cement the choice voters have before them in thepresidentialelection when the party’s conventionconvenesin Charlotte, N.C.

“We want to crystallize the path before us — the choices the American people have this election,” Villaraigosa, the mayor of Los Angeles, said on CNN’s “State Of The Union.”

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People want smaller government — and they think Mitt Romney does too

People want smaller government — and they think Mitt Romney does too

Mitt Romney will accept the Republican presidential nomination this week not only with a significant advantage in campaign cash but also a philosophical leg up on President Obama: Most Americans in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll want a shrunken federal government, and most believe Romney wants that too.

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Artur Davis: ‘I know what Joe Biden was doing yesterday’

Artur Davis: ‘I know what Joe Biden was doing yesterday’

Artur Davis weigh on Biden’s “chains” comment, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will talk about Medicare in Ohio, and Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) concedes.

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EARLIER ON THE FIX:

How Tommy Thompson’s win in Wisconsin changes the Senate majority fight

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Ann Romney: Releasing more taxes would mean more attacks

Ann Romney: Releasing more taxes would mean more attacks

Ann Romney says she and her husband, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, have “nothing” they are hiding in their financial record, but won’t be releasing  more tax returns publicly because it will only prompt more attacks.

“We have been very transparent to what’s legally required of us,” Ann Romney told NBC’s “Rock Center” in an interview scheduled to air Thursday evening. “There’s going to be no more tax releases given.”

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Biden: Romney’s approach to financial regulation will ‘put y’all back in chains’

Biden: Romney’s approach to financial regulation will ‘put y’all back in chains’

Campaigning in southern Virginia on Tuesday, Vice President Biden told an audience that Mitt Romney’s approach to regulatingthe financial industry will “put y’all back in chains,” a remark that triggered a flurry of Republican criticism, includinga sharp rebuke from the presumptive GOP presidential nominee.

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Paul Ryan makes solo debut in Iowa

Mitt Romney talks Medicare in Florida, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) makes his solo debut in Iowa, and Bill Clinton enters the fray in Connecticut's 5th District.

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Can Paul Ryan deliver Wisconsin for Romney?

Mitt Romney took the historically rare step Saturday of selecting a running mate from one of the most competitive states in the presidential race.

But it's unclear that the pick will -- or was even designed to -- help Romney secure the vote in Wisconsin.

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White House refuses to back Reid’s tax attack

Jay Carney won’t join Reid’s tax attack against Romney, Mica cries foul over an Adams ad, and first lady Michelle Obama will sit down with Jay Leno.

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How President Obama changed the gun debate

The Fix wrote Friday that gun control policy was unlikely to change in the wake of the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting.

A majority of Americans now oppose more strict restrictions on guns, and tragic — and high profile — shootings have done little impact on those numbers.

What has impacted the numbers in the gun control debate? Interestingly enough, President Obama’s election in 2008.

In both Washington Post and Pew polling, opposition to gun control ticked up significantly after President Obama’s election. Support for gun control has been steadily eroding for years, but these jumps were larger than the changes that occured before and after the election.

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When politics stops — and how it never really does

In a speech today addressing the tragic shootings in Aurora, Colorado, President Obama said that “there are going to be other days for politics...This, I think, is a day for prayer and reflection.”


US President returns early to the White House in Washington,DC on July 20, 2012 after cancelling a campaign stop in Florida. Obama and his rival Mitt Romney suspended their campaigning out of respect for the victims of a shocking shooting at a Colorado movie theater that left 12 people dead and over 50 injured. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM
He’s right. Both Obama and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney canceled planned campaign rallies, pulled negative ads and generally refrained from doing anything that appeared even remotely political.

But, to assume that politics ever truly stops in this country — even in moments of national tragedy and mourning like this one — is a mistake. Politics and political campaigns don’t happen in a vacuum. Every external event — from the joyous to the tragic — is a piece of the broader political puzzle.

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Eric Holder calls photo ID laws ‘poll taxes’

Eric Holder fires up the NAACP crowd, Ben Quayle ups the ante, Mitt Romney turns outsourcing around on Obama, and Crossroads GPS drops $2.5 million.

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President Obama: A man of many slogans

Did you know that President Obama’s official reelection campaign slogan is “Forward”?
President Obama delivers remarks in Parma, Ohio. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty)

You can be forgiven if you didn’t. After all, Obama’s campaign and the White House have offered a series of slogans over the course of the last two year as the incumbent has tried to sell his policies and position himself politcally for his reelection race this fall.

But the man who was so defined by two slogans in his 2008 campaign — “Hope” and “Change We Can Believe In” — has yet to really strike slogan gold this time around.

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President Obama’s massive swing state spending edge

President Obama has spent more than $91 million on television ads in eight swing states as of July 6, a massive sum that dwarfs the $23 million former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has disbursed on campaign commercials in those same places. Only heavy spending by Republican super PACs is keeping Romney within financial shouting distance of the incumbent on television at this point.

The data, which was provided to the Fix by a Republican media buyer, paints a fascinating picture of Obama’s overwhelming ad advantage in each of the states — Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, Ohio, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Virginia — where both campaigns are spending.

The spending disparity between the campaigns is particularly pronounced in three of the swingiest states: Florida, Ohio and Virginia.

In Florida, Obama has spent $17 million on TV ads as compared to $2 million for Romney. In Ohio, it’s $22 million for Obama to $6.5 million for Romney; and in Virginia, Obama has spent $11 million on TV ads to less than $3 million for Romney.

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Texas case puts voter ID laws to test

Voter ID laws face a high-profile test this week as the U.S. District Court in Washington, DC hears arguments about Texas’ controversial new regulations.

The case pits Texas against Attorney General Eric Holder, who has earned the ire of Republicans across the country for challenging new
Attorney General Eric Holder speaks during a news conference in New Orleans, on June 28. (Bill Haber - AP)
voting restrictions. Republicans say the Justice Department should be more concerned about fraud; the DOJ counters that these laws suppress minority turnout.

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President Obama’s troubling trend line on jobs

President Obama’s troubling trend line on jobs

The news from the Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning that the economy added just 80,000 jobs in June and the unemployment rate stayed stuck at 8.2 percent suggests that any hope that President Obama will be able to run for reelection bolstered by an improving financial picture is rapidly disappearing.

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The June jobs report and President Obama’s summer swoon(s)

The three summers of President Obama’s first term in office have been decidedly unkind to him on the economic front, a trend that puts even more importance on this morning’s June jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


MAUMEE, OH - JULY 05: U.S. President Barack Obama arrives to speak at a campaign event at the Wolcott House Museum Complex July 5, 2012 in Maumee, Ohio. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
In each of the past three summers, the unemployment rate has bumped upwards while the job creation numbers have either leveled off or dipped downward. That trend — plus the fact that we are 123 days before the election — makes the BLS’s 8:30 announcement of the utmost political importance.

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Does Mitt Romney have a staff problem?

Talk of a shakeup in Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign is running rampant, with the expectation within the Republican political class that the former Massachusetts governor will add seasoned hands rather than part ways with any of his current senior staffers.


Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney finishes speaking about the Supreme Court ruling on health care in Washington, Thursday, June 28, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

At the heart of the critique of the Romney campaign, which began with a tweet from News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch and has continued with a stinging Wall Street Journal op-ed and harsh words for the campaign from the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol today, is the idea that the presidential candidate’s staff may not be up to the task of running the sort of race it will take to beat President Obama.

“The campaign needs to show the GOP elite world and the media a lot of competence going forward or this shake-up talk will only get louder and continue,” predicted one Republican adviser watching from the sidelines.

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Americans split on Supreme Court decision

Public opinion on last week’s Supreme Court ruling on the sweeping federal health care reform law is as sharply divided along partisan and ideological lines as are views of the law itself, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Supporters of President Barack Obama's health care law celebrate outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Thursday, June 28, 2012, after the court's ruling was announced. AP Photo/David Goldman) (David Goldman - AP)

Most Americans agree on one thing related to the court’s upholding the law – that they feel “strongly” about the outcome - but the consensus ends there.

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How John Roberts became the story

In a 2010 Pew poll less than three in ten Americans knew that John Roberts was the Chief Justice of the United States. But, his pivotal role in Thursday’s Supreme Court decision to uphold President Obama’s health care law might well turn Roberts into a more household name.

According to Google data, searches for Roberts soared between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. eastern time Thursday, far outdistancing other terms like “individual mandate” and “SCOTUS”.

Here’s a chart from the good people at Google detailing the top five rising search terms over that critical three hours on Thursday.

On ‘Fast and Furious’ vote, Congress affirms all the bad things people already think of them.

The House vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for his withholding of documents related to Operation “Fast and Furious” brought brisk — and heated — rhetoric from the two parties.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) called the vote an “abuse of power”. House Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) said that “no Justice Department is above the law and no Justice Department is above the Constitution, which each of us has sworn an oath to uphold.”

And yet, for all of that amped-up oratory from top leaders in their respective parties, the likely effect of today’s vote — to the extent there is one — is to convince people that all the bad things they think about Congress are, well, true.

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Natoma Canfield, the cancer survivor Obama cited

In his remarks on the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of his health-care reform law, President Obama devoted a sizable portion of his remarks to a little-known Ohio woman: Natoma Canfield.

“There’s a framed letter that hangs in my office right now. It was sent to me during the health-care debate by a woman named Natoma Canfield,” Obama said. “I carried Natoma’s story with me every day of the fight to pass this law.”

Canfield told Obama that after she was diagnosed with cancer, her insurance rates kept going up until she lost her coverage.

“It was amazing, just amazing,” the 52-year-old Medina, Ohio, resident told The Fix. She watched Obama’s announcement on mute, from a restaurant, with the words crawling across the screen. I couldn’t believe the president of the United States had my letter framed on his wall.”

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Poll: Obama, Romney lack clear plans for nation

Majorities of Americans say neither President Obama nor Mitt Romney has a clear plan to fix the nation’s problems, according to a Gallup poll released Wednesday, a signal that neither candidate has made a successful case to be president in 2013.


FILE - In 2012 file photos President Barack Obama, left, Talks to reporters in Washington on June 8 and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign stop in Cincinnati, Ohio, on June 14 (AP Photo/Scott Applewhite, left, and Evan Vucci, file)
Fifty-nine percent of the public says Obama, who has been in office more than three years, lacks a clear plan to fix the country’s problems. Slightly fewer, 53 percent, say the same of Romney.

And, the problems for both candidates go deeper than that. Even as both outline their vision on the campaign trail, many Americans will be leery of trusting them: Six in 10 say Obama and Romney each change their positions on issues for political reasons.

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President Obama booed over Red Sox joke

President Obama (re)learned a political lesson as old as time on Monday night: Don’t mess with the Boston Red Sox in Massachusetts. Like, ever.

The president was reportedly booed at a fundraiser in Boston after making reference to a trade this week between his hometown Chicago White Sox and the BoSox.

“Finally Boston, I just want to say: Thank you for Youkilis,” Obama said, referring to longtime Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis, who was traded to the White Sox on Sunday.

It didn’t go over well with the crowd. Reporters in the room said Obama was booed, as did the White House transcript and Obama himself.

“I didn’t think I’d get any boos out of here,” Obama said. ”I should not have brought up baseball. I understand. My mistake. My mistake. You gotta know your crowd.”

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Democrats: No trouble raising money for convention

Democrats say there’s no truth to a Bloomberg report that the party is struggling to raise funds for its Charlotte, N.C., convention.

In a story on planners’ decision not to hold a kick-off event at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, Hans Nichols wrote:

The move comes as party planners are grappling with a fundraising deficit of roughly $27 million, according to two people familiar with the matter who requested anonymity to discuss internal party politics. With a party ban on direct contributions from corporations, the host committee has raised less than $10 million, well short of its $36.6 million goal, said one of the people.

Democrats denied that there was any fundraising problem, or that money had anything to do with the decision to move the free kick-off event from the Speedway to Uptown.

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A crisis of economic confidence?

A crisis of economic confidence?

New weekly tracking numbers from Gallup show that economic confidence in the country is at its lowest ebb since late January, a bad sign for President Obama as he seeks to convince the public that the financial health of the country is getting slowly but surely better.

The latest Gallup Economic Confidence Index, which combines how people feel about the current economic conditions in the country and what the future holds for the economy, stands at -26.

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Could President Obama run against the Supreme Court?

Could President Obama run against the Supreme Court?

Let’s say that later this morning (or on Thursday), the Supreme Court rules that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional, thereby invalidating — whether in part or in total — the signature legislative accomplishment of President Obama’s first term.

The initial reactions are predictable. Republicans would be triumphant, Democrats depressed. And, as we have written before, it’s not entirely clear that anything — up to and including the Supreme Court’s decision — can drastically alter public opinion regarding Obama’s health care law.

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John Bryson, Commerce Secretary, explained

In light of Commerce Secretary John Bryson’s decision to resign his office today, we are re-posting our explainer on who he is and what the Commerce Department does. The post, which first ran on June 12, is below.

ORIGINAL POST

Commerce Secretary John Bryson has taken a medical leave of absence after getting involved in three traffic accidents Saturday during what officials say was a seizure. His deputy, Rebecca Blank, will take over as acting secretary.

Bryson’s accident(s) has drastically raised the profile of the Commerce Department, which has long been one of the more minor members of a President’s Cabinet.

So, what does the Commerce Secretary do?

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Is President Obama baiting House Republicans?

Is President Obama baiting House Republicans?

In the past six days, President Obama has sent a very clear message to Republicans in Congress. And that message goes like this: Bring it on.

His decision to stop actively deporting young illegal immigrants, which was announced last Friday, and his action Wednesday to invoke executive privilege over documents tied to the “Fast and Furious” program both amount to a finger in the eye of House GOPers.

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The political fight on health care is over. Republicans won.

The political fight on health care is over. Republicans won.

While official Washington waits with bated breath for the Supreme Court to announce its decision on the constitutionality of President Obama’s health care law, a new study from the Pew Research Center makes it abundantly clear that the political fight over health care is already over. And Republicans won.

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Why Republicans can’t write off Hispanics

Much has been made in the last 96 hours of President Obama’s decision to stop deporting young illegal immigrants and its impact on the 2012 election.

And while the short-term political impact of how the announcement could impact Obama’s strength among Hispanic voters is significant, it pales in comparison to the long-term political effect if Hispanics become a solidly Democratic voting bloc in the way that African-Americans have.

Since 1992, Republicans have lost ground with with black and Asian-American voters while largely holding steady(ish) with Hispanics. The only gains they have made are with white voters; 40 percent of whites voted for George H.W. Bush in 1992, while 55 percent of white voters chose John McCain in 2008.

Here’s the full vote breakout — courtesy of our partners @postpolls — of the vote by race from 1992 to 2008.

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A silver lining in May jobs report for President Obama

A silver lining in May jobs report for President Obama

President Obama continues to struggle to recover politically from a disastrous May jobs report that showed that just 69,000 jobs were created in the month while the national unemployment rate ticked up to 8.2 percent.

Obama and his campaign team have spent much of the two and a half weeks since the release of the jobs report fighting back against chatter — much of it from within their own party — that the president badly needs a course correction when it comes to his economic messaging.

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Why President Obama’s golf habit doesn’t matter

President Obama achieved a milestone (of sorts) on Sunday: He played his 100th round of golf since being sworn in three and a half years ago.


President Barack Obama swings to hit the ball out of a sand trap while playing golf at the Vineyard Golf Club, in Edgartown, Mass., on the island of Martha's Vineyard, Friday, Aug. 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

CBS News’ Mark Knoller, the (un)official keeper of the White House records, commemorated the moment with — what else — a tweet:

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Is success possible for a president?

Being president ain’t what it used to be.


U.S. President Barack Obama waves to photographers from inside his vehicle after arriving to Los Cabos international airport to attend the G-20 Summit in Baja California Sur, Mexico, Sunday, June 17, 2012. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
Over the last decade, the splintering of the media has combined with the rise of social networking (and microblogging), a sustained pessimism in the electorate and record levels of partisanship to make success a virtually unachievable goal for any president.

As we wrote in our Monday Fix newspaper column:

“The last week in politics is illustrative of the massive communications challenges a president faces. The week began for President Obama with news from the West Coast that his Commerce secretary, John Bryson, had been involved in a series of car accidents reportedly due to a medical condition.

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President Obama made a political decision on immigration. So what?

In the immediate aftermath of President Obama’s decision to stop deporting young illegal immigrants on Friday, Republicans stayed silent as they sought to calculate the right response — one that would walk the fine line between alienating their political base and sending (another) negative signal to the Hispanic community they badly need to court.

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney eventually released a statement and then followed up on it during an appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation” — his first non-Fox News Channel Sunday show interview during the campaign to date.

Here’s what Romney told “Face” host Bob Schieffer:

“ I think the timing is pretty clear, if [Obama] really wanted to make a solution that dealt with these kids or with illegal immigration in America, than this is something he would have taken up in his first three and a half years, not in his last few months.”

Schieffer followed up by asking Romney if that meant that the president’s motivations were solely political. “Well, that’s certainly a big part of the equation,” responded Romney.

Romney’s right. And it doesn’t matter a bit.

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Steve King threatens to sue over Obama immigration order

Steve King threatens to sue over Obama immigration order

Already, at least one Republican has fallen right into President Obama’s hands.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) announced Friday that he plans to sue the president for issuing an executive order blocking deportations of some young immigrants.

“I expect to bring a lawsuit against the president of the United States to suspend his executive order,” King told the Des Moines Register. He made similar comments to Mike Huckabee in a radio interview, noting that he successfully sued then-Gov. Tom Vilsack in 1999 over an executive order that barred discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgender government employees.

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Republicans struggle to respond to Obama’s immigration decision

Updated at 4:21 p.m.

Just hours after word leaked out that the Obama administration would stop deporting young illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States by their parents, the issue is already causing headaches for the Republican Party.

The party, which has previously split over its own president’s efforts on illegal immigration reform, is similarly stuck when it comes to Obama’s decision.

And at a time when party unity is paramount, the move is exposing fissures.


This photo provided by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Wednesday, March 28, 2012, in New Jersey, shows agents taking a person into custody during operation Cross Check III. (AP Photo/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement)

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President Obama: Pot-stirrer

Whatever you want to say about President Obama, you have to give him some credit for one thing: He’s not afraid to stir the pot in the runup to the 2012 election.


President Obama speaks at a campaign event at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio, on Thursday. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
First it was his administration’s decision to force religious institutions to provide birth control to their employees; then it was the president coming out (so to speak) in support of gay marriage; and now it’s the administration’s announcement that it will cease deporting young illegal immigrants who were brought to this country by their parents.

To the skeptic, all three decisions will seem politically motivated. But as with the first two, it’s not exactly clear just who the illegal immigration decision will wind up benefitting.

About the only thing that’s clear is that a can of worms has been opened.

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Barack Obama as the Colorado Rockies

President Obama’s problems heading into the November election are less rooted in the ongoing economic struggles in the country than in a widespread sense of unmet expectations among those who backed him in 2008, according to a recent focus group conducted by Democratic pollster Peter Hart in Colorado.


Colorado Rockies center fielder Carlos Gonzalez is unable to catch a double by New York Yankees batter Mark Teixeira in the third inning of their MLB interleague baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, June 25, 2011. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine
Writes Hart in a memo describing the focus group results that was sent to reporters Thursday night:

“People are disappointed in economic conditions and the amount of debt the President has racked up, but he hasn’t lost these voters because of these problems. They sense that this is all a show. There is no roadmap, no program, and no conviction of where the President wants to lead the country. Participants say that Obama reminds them of their hometown baseball team, the Colorado Rockies (lots of promise but not a pennant).”

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Jamie Dimon, Democrat?

In a Capitol Hill hearing Wednesday, Democrats pushed JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon on the bank’s $2 billion trading loss while Republicans courted his opinion on financial regulation.


Jamie Dimon, chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co., arrives to a Senate Banking Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, June 13, 2012. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
But the differing treatment Dimon received from the two parties this week is not reflected in Dimon’s own political preferences. Most of his donations, in fact, go to Democrats.

From 1989 to 2009, the banker and his wife gave over half a million dollars to Democrats, according to a Center for Responsive Politics analysis. That’s 12 times what they gave to Republicans during that same time frame.

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What is Obama’s best economic message?

Americans express tepid support for President Obama’s economic agenda and little confidence that he has the right priorities when it comes to spurring economic renewal, setting up the challenge as he seeks to re-frame the debate.

So, what should Obama’s economic message be — both in his speech in Ohio today and going forward in the campaign?

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President Obama’s mythical black voter problem — in three charts

A new North Carolina poll conducted by the automated pollster (and Democratic affiliated) Public Policy Polling has set the political world on its head — suggested that not only has former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney made up significant ground on President Obama in the swing state but that the incumbent is losing roughly one in every five black voters in the Tarheel State.

Here’s the problem: There’s no evidence — outside of this single PPP poll — that Obama is suffering any significant erosion among African American voters.

The story of Obama’s continued — and sustained — strength in the black community can be told in three charts, all of which examine Washington Post-ABC News polling conducted over the first three-plus years of Obama’s presidency. (HUGE thanks to the Post polling team for building out these charts; do yourself a favor and follow them on Twitter @postpolls.)

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Obama’s ‘08 economic advantage disappears

Roughly four in 10 voters assess the economic proposals offered by President Obama and Mitt Romney favorably in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, a sharp contrast to the wide lead the incumbent enjoyed over John McCain on the issue in the 2008 presidential race.

In the latest Post-ABC poll, 43 percent of voters express favorable opinions about Obama’s economic agenda, while 40 percent say the same of Romney.

Compare that relative parity on economic plans to the 20-point edge Obama held over McCain in a 2008 election eve poll, and you begin to grasp the challenge before Obama when it comes to winning the economic argument this fall.

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How many fundraisers is too many for President Obama?

President Obama will attend six fundraisers today in Maryland and Pennsylvania, a series of cash collection events that bring his total number of fundraisers held for his reelection bid up to 160, according to figures maintained by CBS News’ Mark Knoller.

That, again according to Knoller, is more than double the 79 events that President George W. Bush had held at this same time in the 2004 presidential race.

(Sidebar: Knoller is a national treasure. If you don’t follow him on Twitter, you should rectify that problem immediately.)


President Barack Obama waves before speaking at the Fox Theater in Redwood City, Calif., Wednesday, May 23, 2012. The president spoke at various fund-raising events in Colorado and California Wednesday. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Republicans have seized on Obama’s rapid fundraising pace as evidence that he is far more dedicated to raising money and winning reelection than to performing the actual job for which he was elected in 2008.

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Why Europe won’t save Obama

Why Europe won’t save Obama

President Obama’s goal at last Friday’s press conference, according to those who know him best, was simple: Explain to a confused American public why the struggles in Europe are having ripple effects across the global economy — up to and including the United States.

“One concern is Europe, which faces a threat of renewed recession as countries deal with a financial crisis,” said Obama at the start of his prepared remarks. “Obviously this matters to us because Europe is our largest economic trading partner. If there’s less demand for our products in places like Paris or Madrid it could mean less businesses — or less business for manufacturers in places like Pittsburgh or Milwaukee.”

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President Obama tries to change the subject

President Obama tries to change the subject

President Obama’s decision to make remarks — and take questions from reporters — Friday morning on the economy was a seemingly obvious attempt to pivot away from his worst week, politically speaking, in months.

It almost certainly won’t work, however, because Obama offered little new in terms of policy and adopted a largely presidential — rather than a political — approach to the questions reporters posed to him.

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President Obama to make 10:15 a.m. statement on economy

At the end of a truly terrible week, President Obama is trying to seize some control over the news with a 10:15 a.m. statement on the economy.

Obama is expected to push Congress to pass his jobs plan, saying it would put construction workers, teachers and police and firefighters back to work.

The plan, which would be paid for with increased taxes on the rich, has long been stalled in Congress. Obama will also discuss the debt crisis in Europe and how it affects the economy at home.

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Wisconsin recall: Winners and losers

Wisconsin recall: Winners and losers

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) decisive victory against Democrats seeking to recall him on Tuesday amounts to a major moment in national politics due to the massive amounts of national money and attention the race garnered.

Any time there are such high stakes in an election, there are people who win big and people who lose big. And we at the Fix love nothing more than sifting through the results to go beyond the obvious “bests” and “worsts” of the night to find a few winners and losers you might not have thought of.

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Ed Rendell, Obama antagonist

Ed Rendell, Obama antagonist

In the past few weeks, Ed Rendell has emerged as the leading Democratic antagonist to President Obama.

Consider just a few of the apostasies voiced by the former Pennsylvania governor in that time:

* Rendell called Obama’s attacks on Mitt Romney’s time at Bain Capital “disappointing”, adding: “I think Bain is fair game, because Romney has made it fair game. But I think how you examine it, the tone, what you say, is important as well.”

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Obama’s foreign policy image: from dove to tough guy

Former president George W. Bush said during the unveiling of his official portrait Thursday at the White House that President Obama can now look at his picture in times of peril and ask, “What would George do?”

It was a joke.

But when it comes to foreign policy, the image of Obama is starting to look a little like the 43rd president. Namely: a tough guy.
President Obama is joined by former president George W. Bush in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington in this January 16, 2010 file photo. (REUTERS/Larry Downing/Files)

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Solyndra, explained

Solyndra is back in the news, with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney making a surprise appearance Thursday at the California headquarters of the failed energy company. Republicans have repeatedly argued that the Obama Administration’s investment in Solyndra is part of a failed energy policy and, worse, shady dealings by the White House.


Republican U.S. presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney speaks at the former Solyndra headquarters and factory in Fremont, California, May 31, 2012. REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach

So, what exactly happened with Solyndra?

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Why the first Friday of the month matters so much

Every day in a presidential campaign matters, because there just aren’t that many of them left. (It’s 158 days until the election — but who’s counting?) But some days matter more.

Political strategists — and economic policy wonks — have the first Friday of every month between now and November circled in red pen on their calendars (if those things still exist), because it’s the day that the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases the previous month’s jobs report.

Today is one of those days. And the May jobs report, which will be released at around 8:30 a.m. eastern time, is the start of a critical three-month period leading up to the national party conventions that will set the economic terms of the fall campaign.

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“So Joe Biden says to Karl Rove...”: A Fix caption contest

One image from today’s unveiling of the official portrait of former President George W. Bush at the White House really caught our eye. It was of Vice President Joe Biden leaning back in his seat to say something to Republican political svengali Karl Rove.

Here’s the photo as captured by Washington Post White House reporter David Nakamura:

While we probably won’t ever know what was said between the two men, we political junkies can imagine. In the comments section below, offer your best caption for the photo above. (Let’s keep it PG-13 if at all possible.)

We’ll sort through them at the end of the day and pick a winner. If that’s you, we’ll ship you an official Fix t-shirt. Yes, an official one.

Caption away!

Oklahoma lawmaker promises to get in ‘a president’s face’

How much do Republicans dislike President Obama? A whole lot. And here’s another sign.

Two recent ads from Oklahoma Rep. John Sullivan (R) promise that the lawmaker will “get in your face if you’re wrong — even a president’s face.” Here’s “Care”:

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Why running against the Supreme Court just might work for Obama

Why running against the Supreme Court just might work for Obama

Some time between now and July 4, the Supreme Court will hand down two rulings — one on the constitutionality of President Obama’s health care law, the other on Arizona’s immigration law — that could have genuine impact on the battle for the White House this fall.

The tea-leave reading of how the Court will rule — and, to be clear, this is guesswork at best — seems to suggest that they may well strike down the health care law and uphold Arizona’s measure, a dual decision that would widely be seen as a victory for conservatives and a defeat for President Obama.

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Is the Bain attack working?

President Obama’s campaign is in the midst of an extended attack on Mitt Romney’s time spent at Bain Capital, an effort to define the former Massachusetts governor as out of touch with average Americans.

Ads have been run, conference calls have been held, press releases (and then some more press releases) have been sent — an all-out effort that speaks to how important it is for the Obama campaign to win this fight over who Mitt Romney really is.

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Gay marriage? Bullying? Voters don’t care.

Gay marriage? Bullying? Voters don’t care.

The political world has been consumed in recent weeks by President Obama’s decision to come out in support of same-sex marriage and by a Washington Post story detailing allegations of high school bullying by former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney .

And what sort of reaction have these two major stories elicited from the voting public? In a word: “Eh”.

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Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett satisfied Obama was born in United States

President Obama will be on the ballot in Arizona after all.

Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett (R), who earlier this month requested more information from Hawaii on President Obama’s birth certificate, has gotten the confirmation he needed.
U.S. President Barack Obama's birth certificate that was released by the White House in Washington April 27, 2011. (REUTERS/The White House/Handout)

“Late yesterday, our office received the 'verification in-lieu of certified copy' from officials within the Hawaii Department of Health that we requested in March,” Bennett said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon. “They have officially confirmed that the information in the copy of the Certificate of Live Birth for the President matches the original record in their files.”

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Kentucky, Arkansas primaries: Is it racism?

Kentucky, Arkansas primaries: Is it racism?

That President Obama lost roughly 40 percent of the vote in Democratic primaries in Arkansas, Kentucky and West Virginia over the last two weeks has drawn massive national headlines.

Those headlines have drawn a collective eyeroll from Democrats — and many others who closely follow national politics — who ascribe the underperformance by the incumbent to a very simple thing: racism.

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How Cory Booker won

Newark Mayor Cory Booker clearly misspoke on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday when he lumped attacks on former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital into the same category as attacks on President Obama’s connection to Rev. Jeremiah Wright.


Newark Mayor Cory Booker's right hand is bandaged as he stands in his driveway between a boarded-up 433 Hawthorne Avenue and next his home, left, in Newark, N.J., Friday, April 13, 2012 as he talks about rescuing a neighbor Thursday from fire at the home. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
Booker has spent the last three days kind-of, sort-of walking those comments back, insisting that he never meant to conflate Bain and Wright while holding firm on his condemnation of the negative campaigning in both parties. (Booker called the tone of the campaign “nauseating”.)

Conventional wisdom dictates that Booker’s gaffe hurts him politically. Conventional wisdom could well be wrong.

“While he may take grief in the short run, it will only serve to benefit him in the long run,” argued one senior Democratic party operative granted anonymity to speak candidly about such a politically sensitive topic.

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Why the 2012 election will be the closest since Bush vs Gore

Why the 2012 election will be the closest since Bush vs Gore

The 2012 presidential election is going to be close. Very close. Incredibly close. Like Al-Gore-vs-George-W.-Bush close.

A review of the last year’s worth of national polling conducted by the Washington Post and ABC News makes clear that not only is the electorate almost equally divided between President Obama and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney but people are also equally split on which of the two men is better equipped to handle the economy, which, of course, is the only issue that matters to a majority of voters.

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David Axelrod scolds Cory Booker on Bain Capital

David Axelrod scolds Cory Booker on Bain Capital

President Obama’s chief political strategist hammered comments made by Newark Mayor Cory Booker regarding former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s work at Bain Capital as “wrong”, the latest attempt by the White House to get out from under the burgeoning controversy.

“In this particular instance he was just wrong,” Axelrod told NBC’s Andrea Mitchell — speaking about Booker’s defense of private equity firms. “There are specific instances here that speak to an economic theory that isn’t the right economic theory for the country.”

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Cory Booker commits the classic Washington gaffe

Cory Booker commits the classic Washington gaffe

In Washington, there’s an old cliche: A gaffe is when a politician is accidentally honest.

That’s what happened to Newark (N.J.) Mayor Cory Booker during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. Booker, who is widely regarded as a fast riser in Democratic politics, veered badly off message when he defended Bain Capital — the longtime employer of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney — and described the negative tone of the campaign as “nauseating”.

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How Mitt Romney might outraise Barack Obama

How Mitt Romney might outraise Barack Obama

Political observers have spent the last four years marveling at President Obama’s fundraising might. But now even Democrats are admitting that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney — and his allied party and outside groups — may very well outspend the current occupant of the White House between now and the Nov. 6 election.

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Obama’s April fundraising haul: $43.6 million

President Obama and the Democrats raised $43.6 million in April as the campaign against former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney ramps up.

That’s a drop from March when Obama and various Democratic committees together raised $53 million, even though the campaign had 169,500 new donors last month. Obama dwarfed Romney in fundraising in March, when the Republican candidate took in only $12.6 million. Romney has yet to release his April numbers.

The average contribution from Obama’ 437,323 April donors was $50.23, and 98 percent of those donations $250 or less.

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Obama: ‘I’m going to win’

Updated at 11:40 a.m.

President Obama said in an interview airing Tuesday that he will win reelection this year.

“I’m going to win,” he said in an interview with ABC’s “The View,” which was taped Monday.

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Obama acknowledged continued difficulties with the economy present a challenge for his campaign, but also said that the election should be a choice between candidates. He said he hopes American voters will make a decision between his and Mitt Romney’s visions for the country.

“Don’t compare me to the almighty; compare me to the alternative,” Obama said, quoting Vice President Joe Biden.

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A gay marriage advocate with ears in the White House

President Obama’s decision to support gay marriage came after years of pressure from some of his most ardent supporters.

One of them is Chad Griffin, the 38-year-old incoming president of Human Rights Campaign, an adovcacy group for gay rights. Griffin is an example of the behind-the-scenes power players who have been prodding the White House on this issue for some time. The California-based political consultant said he has made several appeals to the president in person to come out in support of gay marriage. And as one of the top bundlers for Obama’s campaign, he has been exerting financial pressure as well.

His ties to the White House go deeper than that, however. Griffin’s former business partner, Kristina Schake, is now Michelle Obama’s communications director. His college roommate is White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer. And Griffin and his partner Jerome Fallon were seated at the head table with Obama at the recent state dinner for British Prime Minister David Cameron.


Chad Griffin is a long-time advocate for gay marriage. (Jeff Chiu - AP)
After Vice President Joe Biden said on “Meet the Press” on Sunday that he was “absolutely comfortable” with gay marriage, it was Griffin who dismissed White House attempts to walk the comment back.

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Joe Biden, gay marriage and 2016

Joe Biden, gay marriage and 2016

Opinion varies about why Vice President Joe Biden seemed to endorsed gay marriage during an appearance last Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press”.

Was this Biden being Biden, a politician with a penchant for speaking off the cuff doing just that? Was it an authorized trial balloon directed by the White House to test reaction to President Obama coming out in favor of gay marriage? Or, most deliciously, was this Biden acting alone — but not by accident — in an attempt to bolster his 2016 prospects?

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Obama: Biden ‘a little bit over his skis’ on gay marriage comments

President Obama said in an interview aired Thursday morning that he had planned to come out in favor of gay marriage this year even before Vice President Joe Biden broached the issue on national TV last weekend weekend.

Obama suggested that Biden’s comments hastened his own announcement, but said that it was going to happen in the next few months anyway.

“I had already made a decision that we were going to take this position before the election and before the convention,” Obama said. “He probably got a little bit over his skis, but out of generosity of spirit.”

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Why President Obama’s same-sex marriage decision matters less than you think

Why President Obama’s same-sex marriage decision matters less than you think

President Obama’s decision to reverse course and announce his support for same-sex marriage created a media feeding frenzy Wednesday as the press tried to wrap its collective arms around the various aspects of the story.

Judging from all the coverage, it’s easy to assume that the Obama decision on gay marriage could well serve as a pivot point in his reelection bid.

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President Obama’s calculated gamble on gay marriage

President Obama’s decision to express support for gay marriage in an interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts is a decision that comes with real political risk.

In truth, Obama’s hand was forced on the issue by comments made by Vice President Joe Biden on NBC’s “Meet the Press”in which he seemed to express support for gay marriage.

(Watch the video: Obama supports gay marriage )

While Biden’s office and the White House insisted there was no space between Biden’s remarks and Obama’s stated position in support of civil unions but not gay marriage, it reeked of bad spin — and everyone (including the White House) sensed it.

Given that tenuous situation and the fact that it was something close to an accepted fact in political circles that Obama, on a personal level, favored allowing gays to marry, it was clear that the President had to say something — and sooner rather than later.

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