Archive for December 13th, 2010


Rest in peace, Richard Holbrooke

President Obama made the following statement on Richard Holbrooke’s death at the age of 69: “Michelle and I are deeply saddened by the passing of Richard Holbrooke, a true giant of American foreign policy who has made America stronger, safer, and more respected. He was a truly unique figure who will be remembered for his tireless diplomacy, love of country, and pursuit of peace.

“For nearly 50 years, Richard served the country he loved with honor and distinction. He worked as a young foreign service officer during the Vietnam War and then supported the Paris peace talks which ended that war. As a young Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, he helped normalize relations with China. As U.S. Ambassador to Germany, he helped Europe emerge from a long Cold War and encouraged NATO to welcome new members.

“As Assistant Secretary of State for European and Canadian Affairs, he was the tireless chief architect of the Dayton Accords that ended the war in Bosnia 15 years ago this week, saving countless lives. As Ambassador to the United Nations, Richard helped break a political impasse and strengthen our nation’s relationship with the UN and elevated the cause of AIDS and Africa on the international agenda. And throughout his life, as a child of refugees, he devoted himself to the plight of people displaced around the world.

“When I became President, I was grateful that Richard agreed to serve as Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. The progress that we have made in Afghanistan and Pakistan is due in no small measure to Richard’s relentless focus on America’s national interest, and pursuit of peace and security. He understood, in his life and his work, that our interests encompassed the values that we hold so dear. And as usual, amidst his extraordinary duties, he also mentored young people who will serve our country for decades to come. One of his friends and admirers once said that, “If you’re not on the team and you’re in his way, God help you.” Like so many Presidents before me, I am grateful that Richard Holbrooke was on my team, as are the American people.

“Earlier this evening at the State Department, I met with Richard’s wife Kati and their family, David, Anthony, Lizzie, Christopher and Sarah, and I spoke to Kati after Richard’s passing. I expressed to them the gratitude of the American people for his lifetime of service. They are in our thoughts and prayers tonight. Tonight, there are millions of people around the world whose lives have been saved and enriched by his work. As I said earlier this evening, the United States is safer and the world is more secure because of the half century of patriotic service of Ambassador Richard Holbrooke.”


step one

President Obama commends the Senate for passing a bill that will extend tax cuts and unemployment insurance and calls on the House to move swiftly to pass the legislation. December 13


phew, healthy kids act put to bed


medium-high five

President Barack Obama high-fives with a girl as they put together care packages for members of the military and the homeless at the Boys and Girls Club of Washington, December 13


hoopster-in-chief (& kobe bryant)

President Barack Obama with Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers at a service event at the Boys and Girls Club at THEARC, December 13, in Washington


team up

President Barack Obama poses with Los Angeles Lakers as he welcomes the team to honor their 2009-2010 season and their second consecutive NBA championship


a close shave

President Barack Obama pretends to shave a boy while filling care packages with Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers during a NBA Cares service event at the Boys and Girls Club at THEARC December 13


hot tubs and candy

First Lady Michelle Obama – and Bo – visit the Children’s National Medical Center on December 13


‘obama finds his mojo’

Daily Beast (John Avlon): Almost lost in the debate over the tax cut compromise was a striking moment of defiance and self-definition from President Obama.

It came in the final five minutes of Tuesday’s afternoon press conference … when he started to push back and passionately defend his approach to the presidency.

The comments offered an uncensored look into his frustrations with armchair ideologues and his “North Star” philosophy of governing as a pragmatic progressive. It deserves a close reading and a place on the Obama administration highlight reel.

…..the president took this final question from Jonathan Weisman of the Wall Street Journal. “Some on the left have looked at this deal and questioned what your core values are … where is your line in the sand?”

That’s when No Drama Obama got pissed and presidential.

See article for press conference extracts

….This was not just raw frustration but a cold dose of perspective from the man in the Oval Office. It was a declaration of independence from the professional left and a statement of principle from a pragmatic progressive.

….. either you embrace the politics of problem-solving and get the best deal you can, or the people who are supposedly trying to help suffer from the functional neglect that comes from noble failure.

He was on a roll … he took aim at the self-appointed opinion-makers of the media – those who have the luxury to engage in arm-chair ideological debates, offering contradictory advice with equal conviction, while he has the responsibility of actually making decisions.

….And then he dropped the big hammer argument for faith in evolving toward a more perfect union.

“I couldn’t go through the front door at this country’s founding.”

That’s when the air went out of the room and the president commanded the stage. Rarely does he get so raw and personal. Rarely does he invoke the specter of race. But there it was in a cold hard statement of eloquent fact that could have been scripted by Aaron Sorkin

….We are living in a time of grossly distorted fun-house mirror political debates, where the far-right thinks that the president is a Marxist and the far-left thinks that he is a Wall Street sellout. In this over-heated environment, the responsibilities of governing get downgraded as the country gets divided. It is time to start turning the tide.

When we look back at the history of the Obama administration, those five minutes just might be remembered as the moment when Obama started to get his Mojo back and set the tone for the next two years. The North Star approach to the presidency will allow him to reclaim the allegiance of the center while steering toward re-election in 2012.

Read full article here


signed, sealed, delivered

President Obama: “Had I not been able to get this passed, I would be sleeping on the couch.”

President Barack Obama signs into law the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 as First Lady Michelle Obama looks on at Harriet Tubman Elementary School in Washington on December 13

In signing a new law today to improve the quality of school lunches, President Obama paid joking tribute to its most prominent supporter: first lady Michelle Obama.

“Had I not been able to get this bill passed, I would be sleeping on the couch,” the president said.

Mrs. Obama, whose major issues include fighting childhood obesity, laughed and said, “let’s just say it got done, so we don’t have to go down that road.”

The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, a $4.5 billion measure, provides more free school meals to the pool, and gives the government more power to decide what foods can offered in those meals, as well as in school vending machines and fundraisers during school hours.







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December 2010

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