‘behind the scenes: writing the 2012 state of the union address’


Washington Post: As secretary to mega-investor Warren Buffett, Debbie Bosanek is used to being in proximity to power. But the prospect of sitting with first lady Michelle Obama at tonight’s State of the Union address apparently is something different altogether. Bosanek, who’s mostly kept an under-the-radar profile despite being the poster lady for President Obama’s tax proposals, tells us she’s a tad jittery.

“I was so excited I couldn’t sleep last night,” she says.

More here

111 Responses to “‘behind the scenes: writing the 2012 state of the union address’”

  1. 1 mtmarilyn (@mtmarilyn2)
    January 24, 2012 at 1:06 pm


  2. 8 mtmarilyn (@mtmarilyn2)
    January 24, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    I am having a SOTU party tonight, but only having 6 people. With my husband laid up that’s all I could handle. I am so looking forward to this speech. Press On!

  3. 10 Alycee (@jazziz2)
    January 24, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    African American women see their own challenges mirrored in Michelle Obama’s

    By Krissah Thompson and Vanessa Williams, Published: January 23

    As black women watch Michelle Obama on the national stage, they search — sometimes nervously — for nuances often lost on the larger culture. How she handles criticism, how she raises her children, even her style of dress, has the potential to counter negative stereotypes.

    “She is mainstreaming to the world what a lot of us already know about ourselves,” says Dacenta Grice, a 37-year-old black woman who works as a physician assistant in Atlanta. “She reinforces the reality that so many of us live. She is a black woman who just seems fantastic in her own right, who just seems like every day people and is relatable.”

    Article ————> http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/african-american-women-see-their-own-struggles-mirrored-in-michelle-obamas/2012/01/19/gIQA5k4DMQ_story.html

    • 11 jacquelineoboomer
      January 24, 2012 at 1:21 pm

      I just got chills reading that. We should all be so grateful for our dear FLOTUS, and the impact she has on all of us and the world.

      January 24, 2012 at 1:37 pm


    • 17 meabloom
      January 24, 2012 at 1:41 pm

      FLMO is pretty awesome. One of the best role models I have seen in my opinion.


    • 19 Kat 4 Obama
      January 24, 2012 at 1:42 pm

      God bless our dear FLOTUS. She is infinitely superior to those who abuse her. She is brilliant, strong, beautiful, loving and always real. She is a truth that has been told in millions of quiet lives and now has a spotlight on the stage of history. My husband and I thank her for what she has done for our country.

        January 24, 2012 at 1:54 pm


        • 21 cuphalffull
          January 24, 2012 at 2:24 pm

          She is valiant and beautiful. “The wicked flee when no man pursueth but the righteous are bold as a line”.

      • January 24, 2012 at 2:12 pm

        And our First Lady, Is so Graceful 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 Yes, she makes my heart sing gladly. I love you First Lady Michelle 🙂

      • 23 Sue in Minnesota
        January 24, 2012 at 4:28 pm

        Kat 4 Obama, thank you for expressing so beautifully what so many of us feel about our brilliant FLOTUS….Gratitude, pride and love.

    • 24 Betsey
      January 24, 2012 at 3:13 pm

      This brings tears to my eyes. For all FLOTUS has done, and meant, of course, and the unparalleled grace with which she does it. But also because so many beautiful, accomplished, big hearted, hard working, loving, vibrant women have had to wait so long to see themselves reflected like this in our society. I’ve said before that PBO is an avatar. He was sent to lead us, in many more ways than we are even aware of. I told the story some months ago of a friend’s visit to Egypt, where children would flock around her and call out “Obama” and point to their forearms. And she would point to her very pale Irish skinned arm and say “Obama,” and they’d all laugh with joy. The election of Barack Hussein Obama has changed everything, and everyone knows it, all over the world. And that’s why we’re seeing such an ugly backlash from people frightened of what it all means.

  4. January 24, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    I know this sounds like a dumb question but what time is the address tonight.

  5. January 24, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Thanks Liberal Librarian, I appreciate your answer. I will be getting up for it – guess I will have an early night!!! Can’t wait to watch with you guys.

    • 32 HZ
      January 24, 2012 at 3:24 pm

      Hello Sam UK Obama Supporter. Thanks for all of your beautiful efforts of so much love and caring. You are beautiful. Hope all is going well for you and your family.HZ

  6. January 24, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    I was just coming to post this video!! I love it. I’m so excited to hear the address!!

    • 34 jacquelineoboomer
      January 24, 2012 at 1:23 pm

      It’ll also be great seeing Warren’s secretary Debbie in the gallery, as well as one of the Chester, PA, teachers who was willing to work WITHOUT PAY, along with her fellow teachers, on behalf of OUR kids.

      • 35 Alycee (@jazziz2)
        January 24, 2012 at 1:28 pm

        Chester Upland teacher to join Michelle Obama at State of the Union

        Published: Tuesday, January 24, 2012

        A teacher from the financially ailing Chester Upland School District who pledged to stay on the job without pay during their recent struggles has been invited to be the special guest of First Lady Michelle Obama during tonight’s State of the Union address.

        Sara Ferguson, who grew up in Chester, has taught in the district for 21 years. The White House announced the invitation Tuesday morning, noting Ferguson’s dedication to her students.

        More —————> http://www.delcotimes.com/articles/2012/01/24/news/doc4f1ed360863f1166136622.txt?viewmode=fullstory

        • 36 HZ
          January 24, 2012 at 4:13 pm

          We, on this blog also can take great respectful pride in that we were o very active (in our own creative ways) to help get this story out in the right paths. I will leave it right there because of some of the details. But what a great opportunity Chips gives us each day to make a change for the better in our nation. Thank you, our brilliant and beloved, Chips.

          Also what a great feeling we all should have to be able to help POB and his Administration and Senior Advisers along with our wonderful Arne Duncan, Sec. of Education to step in and help solve some of this for these precious students and teachers. The union(well, I better leave it there, but they were terrific to those of us who brought it to a further push.)

          I am so excited for the children, and for all who did not let it just be another story. We Will Press On with our wonderful POTUS. HZ

  7. 37 57andFemale
    January 24, 2012 at 1:22 pm


    This is big news. Hope MSNBC doesn’t compromise the principles of my Steven Benen!

    • January 24, 2012 at 1:38 pm

      OH, NO. I will go into withdrawals from Political Animal. He’s the BEST out there. And to give that up to work with Rachel? I’m sorry, I don’t get it. I don’t have cable for a reason.

      I guess I’ll have to go to her blog to read his work and I guess I should be very happy for him. I’m going to rely on you folks to let us know how he’s doing there. I hope it all works out for the best for him. Sigh.

      • 39 57andFemale
        January 24, 2012 at 1:49 pm

        I’m hoping he’ll HELP on Rachel’s show. We’ll know tomorrow who his replacement is on Political Animal. I can’t believe he’ll be able to blog as much as he has while he’s producing. I’m telling you, I will go into withdrawal.

      January 24, 2012 at 1:42 pm


    • 41 GGail
      January 24, 2012 at 2:19 pm

      When you’re as good as Steven is…it’s bound to get you noticed….Hear that Chipsticks?!
      I wish him well and will be looking to see his influence on Rachel’s show and to hear his commentaries.

      • 42 Left-Indie
        January 24, 2012 at 4:57 pm

        It’s simply Rachel herself that is outstanding. I know people here complain about her now and then, but she is the best on TV. I feel the same way about Benen on the blogger side. Great if the team up.

    • January 24, 2012 at 5:52 pm

      Those were my first thoughts

  8. 44 FiredUpInCA
    January 24, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    “The jobless rate fell in 37 states and Washington, D.C., in December as the labor market strengthened, fresh government data show…

    Most of the gains were due to employers adding jobs rather than workers falling out of the labor force.


    • January 24, 2012 at 1:42 pm

      Of course, we were told, it was because of people dropping out of the labor force.
      Seems to be talking points, if jobless rate falls, oh it’s because people gave up looking. Makes you depressed.

  9. 46 Bobfr (aka Our4thEstate)
    January 24, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Being sure they get it ….


  10. 47 Bobfr (aka Our4thEstate)
    January 24, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Perhaps this will ‘trend’ 🙂


    • 52 Bobfr (aka Our4thEstate)
      January 24, 2012 at 1:37 pm


      • 53 desertflower
        January 24, 2012 at 3:00 pm

        Out angel Tweeter, Bobfr…can you please Tweet this to Axe and BO….I think that a HUGE problem we have after the economic catastrophe, is that people’s credit scores are SCREWED! When companies base hiring on a person’s credit score, after the worst economic disaster of our time…many qualified people are getting discarded in the workforce, all because of a bad credit score from foreclosures and short sales!! Can you issue Executive Order to stop this on a NATIONAL BASIS??

        Bob, you can word this anyway you’d like to….I think that MANY people are in this boat (my family included!) Not right that they filter people out of work based on this. Should be based on qualifications, education, and references. NOT CREDIT SCORE! Thank you love….If all Tweeters can Tweet this to appropriate people…I think that this will move millions into the workplace!!!

        • 54 Bobfr (aka Our4thEstate)
          January 24, 2012 at 3:53 pm

          Thank you df. Here’s a start:

          Will consider how to convey it better.


  11. 55 eveingeorgia
    January 24, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    @57 and Female, I was going to post about Steve too! I commented at his site. I hope this is a good move for him. It kind of worries me that he is going to Rachel. (I’m still not sure about her.)

    Will miss him at the Political Animal. Hope his opinions won’t be swayed at MSNBC.

      January 24, 2012 at 1:44 pm


    • 57 57andFemale
      January 24, 2012 at 1:54 pm

      Hopefully he will make rachel’s show better. Unfortunately, everyone I’ve seen that goes to MSNBC doesn’t make it better, but compromises their principles in order to stay employed. Benen is a fierce advocate for progressivism that makes sense in these critical days. 99% of the time he gives voice to what I feel, or gives me information that I desperately need.

      If he can bring that to Rachel and her show I’ll be thrilled. I have to be hopeful that will be the case.

  12. January 24, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    The First Lady’s guest list tonight:

    SGT Ashleigh Berg, USA
    Malibu, California

    SGT Ashleigh Berg is from Malibu, California, and joined the United States Army in July of 2004. SGT Berg has been stationed in South Korea and Germany, and has served two tours of duty in Iraq. Her husband, SGT Matthew Berg, USA is currently deployed to Afghanistan on his 3rd combat tour. SGT Berg is currently assigned to the 94th Army Missile Defense Command in Fort Shafter Hawaii, and is serving a three year tour as the Commanding General’s Executive Administrative assistant.

    Alicia Boler-Davis
    Plant Manager, General Motors Orion Assembly
    Detroit, Michigan

    Alicia Boler-Davis lives in Detroit with her husband, Fitzgerald, and their two young sons. She is the plant manager at General Motors Orion Assembly and Pontiac Stamping, and is responsible for overseeing the production of the first new small car program from General Motors to be manufactured in the United States. Last October, Ms.

    Boler-Davis led President Obama and President Lee of South Korea on a tour of the General Motors Orion Assembly and Pontiac Stamping. President Obama and President Lee traveled to the GM plant to highlight the free trade agreements and the resurgence of the American auto industry.

    Debbie Bosanek
    Assistant, Berkshire Hathaway
    Bellevue, Nebraska

    A Nebraska native, Debbie Bosanek has worked for Berkshire Hathaway for 37 years and has been Warren Buffett’s secretary for almost two decades. Last September, the President proposed the “Buffett Rule” as part of comprehensive tax reform, and is working to build an economy that works for everyone, including Americans like Ms. Bosanek, not just a wealthy few. Ms. Bosanek lives in Bellevue, Nebraska with her husband of 23 years and their son, and spends most of her time and energy trying to keep up with her boss.

    Jackie Bray
    Process Operator at the Siemens Charlotte Energy Hub
    King’s Mountain, North Carolina

    Jackie Bray is a single mother from King’s Mountain, North Carolina.

    Last January she was laid off from her job as a high speed packaging mechanic. That is when she enrolled in Central Piedmont Community College to prepare for Siemens pre-hiring test. After finishing the course and passing the test, Ms. Bray was hired by Siemens in August of 2011. This type of partnership between businesses and community colleges is exactly what President Obama hopes to strengthen to maximize workforce development strategies, job training programs, and job placements. Ms. Bray now works as a process operator, combining her machinist background with new skills she has been trained on since working at Siemens: laser training, robotics training, penetrant inspection training, and product orientation.

    Mayor Julián Castro
    San Antonio, Texas

    Mayor Castro was first elected mayor of San Antonio in 2009 and at 37 years old is the youngest mayor of a top 50 American city. He is a former city councilman and founder of a law firm. He graduated from Stanford University and earned his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2000. During his Administration, the Milken Institute ranked San Antonio as the best-performing city in the nation in 2011. In January 2012, Mayor Castro announced that CPS Energy, a municipally-owned utility, has entered negotiations to bring at least 800 jobs and $100 million in capital investment to San Antonio. This is expected to be one of the nation’s largest solar projects resulting in 400 megawatts of zero-emissions solar energy.

    Bruce Cochrane
    President and CEO of Lincolnton Furniture
    Lincolnton, North Carolina

    Bruce Cochrane comes from a family that has manufactured furniture in North Carolina for decades, but when Cochrane Furniture was sold in 1997, the new owners moved manufacturing to China. Two years ago, Mr. Cochrane decided the time had come to start his own furniture company back in his home state. In January 2012, production began at Lincolnton Furniture in the same plant his family once ran. Lincolnton Furniture is expected to add 130 new jobs to the area. Mr. Cochrane attended President Obama’s Insourcing American Jobs Forum earlier this month.

    Sara Ferguson
    Teacher, Columbus Elementary
    Parkside, Pennsylvania

    Sara Ferguson teaches literacy and math at Columbus Elementary, and has worked for the Chester Upland School District for 20 years. She is a third generation educator in Chester Upland, and a proud product of that district. When the Chester Upland School District faced bankruptcy earlier this year in light of severe state budget cuts, Ms.

    Ferguson vowed to continue teaching even without being paid, saying “we are adults; we will make a way. The students don’t have any contingency plan. They need to be educated, so we intend to be on the job.”

    Dr. Hiroyuki Fujita
    Founder, President and CEO Quality Electrodynamics
    Cleveland, Ohio

    Dr. Hiroyuki Fujita is founder, president and chief executive officer of Quality Electrodynamics (QED), in Cleveland, Ohio. Coming to America from Japan in 1988 and after receiving his Ph.D. in physics from Case Western Reserve University in 1998, Dr. Fujita chose to continue his professional training in America. In 2006 he started his own company, QED, which is a developer and manufacturer of highly proprietary state-of-the-art MRI radiofrequency antennas. QED is now one of the world’s largest suppliers of these products and ships throughout the globe. In 2010, Dr. Fujita founded his second company, eQED, a solar energy-related electronics development and manufacturing company. With the founding of both QED and eQED, today Dr. Fujita is creating high tech, advanced manufacturing jobs in the healthcare and energy sectors in the United States.

    Mahala Greer
    Denver, Colorado

    Mahala Greer grew up in Paonia, a small town in rural Colorado. She is currently a student at the University of Colorado Denver majoring in Spanish, and has just been accepted into Teach for America as a Bilingual Education Corps Member. In May she will graduate with more than $35,000 in student loans. Last October, Ms. Greer introduced President Obama when he spoke to students at CU Denver about how his Administration is working to make college more affordable and reduce student loan debt.

    Adrienne Howard
    San Diego, California

    Adrienne Howard is a military spouse from Lynchburg, Virginia, and currently lives in San Diego, California with her three children. Her husband, Commander Colby Howard, USN, is currently on a seven month deployment. Mrs. Howard has moved 14 times during her husband’s career, and their oldest child has attended 9 different schools along the way. For nearly 20 years, she has been heavily involved as a volunteer in family readiness groups and Navy spouse organizations. This past September, Mrs. Howard was inspired by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden’s Joining Forces initiative to reach out to her community, and the response was overwhelming. Mrs. Howard shared her story of rallying her community to ‘adopt’ a Sailor on the Joining Forces Blog.

    Mike Krieger
    Co-founder Instagram
    San Francisco, California

    Mike Krieger is the co-founder of Instagram, the fastest growing social mobile startup in the U.S. today, with over 15 million registered users. Mike was born in São Paulo, Brazil, and moved to California in 2004 to attend Stanford University, where he studied computer science and cognitive science. In 2010, he joined up with Kevin Systrom to co-found Instagram, and now employs a talented, growing team of designers and engineers. After graduation, Mr. Krieger worked for a year on his student F-1 visa, later applying for and receiving an H-1B visa as a high-skill worker. Mr. Krieger wants to permanently stay in the U.S. and has applied for a green card.

    Captain Mark Kelly, USN, Ret.

    Mark Kelly is an American astronaut, retired US Navy Captain, best-selling author, and an experienced naval aviator who flew combat missions during the Gulf War. The winner of many awards, including the Legion of Merit, two Defense Superior Service Medals and two Distinguished Flying Crosses, Kelly was selected as an astronaut in 1996. He flew his first of four missions in 2001 aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour, the same space shuttle that he commanded on its final flight in May 2011. He has also commanded Space Shuttle Discovery and is one of only two individuals who have visited the International Space Station on four different occasions. Already a celebrated American, Kelly became the center of international attention after the January 2011 assassination attempt on his wife, US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. In their best-selling memoir, Gabby, the couple shares their story of hope and resilience with the world.

    Lorelei Kilker
    Analytical Chemist
    Brighton, Colorado

    Lorelei Kilker is an analytical chemist for an environmental laboratory, and lives in Brighton, Colorado with her domestic partner and their two children. In October of 2011, Ms. Kilker was one of a class of women who benefitted from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) investigation of alleged systematic sex discrimination at her former employer that resulted in the award of back wages and significant remedial relief, arrangements that were achieved through a cooperative process between the employer and EEOC. Since the creation of the President’s Equal Pay Task Force in January 2010, EEOC obtained almost $50 million in monetary relief through administrative enforcement for victims of sex-based wage discrimination, obtained changes to workplace practices that benefit over one quarter of a million workers, and filed five cases including sex-based wage discrimination claims.

    Admiral William McRaven, USN

    Admiral McRaven assumed command of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) on June 13, 2008. Prior to assuming command, he served from June 2006 to March 2008 as commander, Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR). In addition to his duties as COMSOCEUR, he was designated as the first director of the NATO Special Operations Forces Coordination Centre (NSCC), where he was charged with enhancing the capabilities and inter-operability of all NATO Special Operations Forces. Adm. McRaven has commanded at every level within the special operations community, including assignments as deputy commanding general for operations at JSOC, commodore of Naval Special Warfare Group 1, commander of SEAL Team 3, task group commander in the CENTCOM area of responsibility, task unit commander during Desert Storm and Desert Shield, squadron commander at Naval Special Warfare Development Group, and SEAL platoon commander at Underwater Demolition Team 21/SEAL Team 4.

    Adm. McRaven’s diverse staff and interagency experience includes assignments as the director for Strategic Planning in the Office of Combating Terrorism on the National Security Council Staff, assessment director at U.S. Special Operations Command, on the Staff of the Chief of Naval Operations and the chief of staff at Naval Special Warfare Group 1.

    Adm. McRaven’s professional education includes assignment to the Naval Postgraduate School, where he helped establish and was the first graduate from the Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict curriculum.

    Joan Milligan
    Orlando, Florida

    As deep rooted Orlando, Florida, residents, Joan Milligan and her husband Bill share a strong commitment to their community and volunteering. Faced with losing their home, President Obama’s Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) allowed Joan and her husband to refinance their existing loan when other means of refinancing were not open to them. As Mrs. Milligan has said, “I can’t believe how easy the process was. The bank bent over backwards to accommodate us”. The Milligans will celebrate 50 years of marriage in October 2012.

    Amber Morris
    Virginia Beach, Virginia

    Amber Morris, a Virginia Beach resident, responded to the White House’s call in December asking Americans “What does 40 mean to you?” saying, “Forty dollars a pay check means that I’ll be able to pay my bills, but most months it’ll be a tight squeeze. It means that I’ll have no spending money which means I can’t do my part in encouraging my local economy. Forty dollars a paycheck may not seem a lot, but it could mean a steady job for me and my coworkers or unemployment.” Ms. Morris graduated from Northeastern Law School in 2008 and found herself unable to find a job in her field.

    She was working for a non-profit in Boston, but after they lost funding she found herself unemployed in 2009 and forced to move back home with her parents. She’s since found work as a waitress in a local restaurant and although it’s less than ideal, she feels “lucky to have paycheck” to help pay student loans and help save up for the Virginia bar exam.

    Laurene Powell Jobs
    Founder and Chair of Emerson Collective
    Palo Alto, California

    Ms. Laurene Powell Jobs is founder and chair of Emerson Collective, an organization focused on harnessing the potential of individuals from underserved communities to help them build a better life.

    Ms. Powell Jobs also serves as president of the board of College Track, an after-school program she founded in 1997 to prepare underserved high school students for success in college. Started in East Palo Alto, College Track has expanded to serve students in Oakland, San Francisco, New Orleans and Aurora, Colorado. The program’s intensive academic and extracurricular program is designed to ensure admittance to and graduation from college. All of the program’s graduates have completed their secondary education and gone on to college.

    In addition to her work with the Emerson Collective and College Track, she serves on the boards of directors of NewSchools Venture Fund, New America Foundation and Conservation International. She also serves as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

    Ms. Powell Jobs holds a BA and a BSE from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Earlier in her career, she spent several years working in investment banking and later co-founded a natural foods company in California.

    Adam Rapp
    Fall Creek Township, Illinois

    Adam Rapp lives in Fall Creek Township, Illinois, and is the only child of Stephen and Lisa Rapp. On his 23rd birthday, he was diagnosed with cancer, and without the Affordable Care Act he would have lost health insurance coverage the same day. Adam’s mother wrote President Obama a letter last May thanking him for passing the health reform law so that her son could remain on their health insurance policy. After undergoing treatment, Mr. Rapp is now cancer-free and engaged to be married to Adrienne Mast of Quincy, Illinois.

    Juan Jose Redín
    North Hollywood, California

    Juan Jose Redín was born in Ixtapan de la Sal, Mexico before coming with his mother and younger sister to the United States at the age of 10. After enduring many challenges throughout his journey to achieve his dream of higher education. Juan benefited from California’s Assembly Bill 540 and was able to enroll, and excel, in his studies at UCLA. He received both his undergraduate (with honors) and law degrees from UCLA. Now a US citizen and a practicing attorney, Juan is as passionate as ever about ensuring educational access to all.

    Bryan Ritterby
    Lab Technician
    Holland, Michigan

    Bryan Ritterby had been in the furniture manufacturing industry for more than 25 years working on the manufacturing floor, in the quality department and as a field service representative, but was laid off in February of 2009. Mr. Ritterby then went through the Grand Rapids Community College Composite Technician Training Program in conjunction with a new start-up company, Energetx Composites. Upon completion of the program,

    Mr. Ritterby was hired by Energetx Composites as a composite technician in April of 2010. Today, Mr. Ritterby is a Lab Technician for Energetx Composites conducting material tests in the company’s laboratory verifying materials to be used in wind turbine blades, as well as working on blade validation tests for all of the community scale wind blades Energetx is manufacturing.

    Colonel Ginger Wallace, USAF
    McLean, Virginia

    Colonel Ginger Wallace is an Air Force intelligence officer who has led airlift and intelligence operations during Operations SOUTHERN WATCH, PROVIDE RELIEF, UPHOLD DEMOCRACY, ALLIED FORCE, ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM. She currently lives in McLean, Virginia with her partner of over a decade, Kathy Knopf. In December, Ms.

    Knopf attended Col. Wallace’s promotion ceremony and participated in the “pinning on” of Col. Wallace’s rank, marking the first such event reported following the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Col. Wallace is currently training to deploy to Afghanistan in the Spring 2012 through the Afghanistan-Pakistan Hands program.

      January 24, 2012 at 1:52 pm


    • January 24, 2012 at 2:06 pm

      Wow, Julian Castro. This is MAJOR.

    • 63 donna dem 4 obama
      January 24, 2012 at 2:23 pm

      I do so want to sit next to the First Lady. I did get within 5 feet of here last February when she gave a speech here at a community center. I guess I’ll just have to live on that memory since my name isn’t on the list 😯

    • January 24, 2012 at 2:59 pm

      I’m a 2007 convert to US politics, so I’m curious. Is this practice of inviting so many ‘ordinary’ people to the SOTU new to this administration, or has it always been a regular practice? Inquiring mind wants to know. Thanks. 😆

      • 65 FiredUpInCA
        January 24, 2012 at 3:09 pm

        Good question vcprezofan2. Here’s what I found:

        “President Reagan began a tradition that continues to this day. Hewas the first to invite guests that sit in the gallery and are mentioned
        specifically during the address to provide a human face to past accomplishments and future plans.”

        Click to access sotubingo.pdf

        • January 24, 2012 at 8:33 pm

          Thank you, Fired Up! Appreciate your responding. I’ve got to admit I’m becoming quite learned in US politics with the help of my TOD family & POTUS! 😉

    • January 24, 2012 at 3:57 pm

      I wonder why they didn’t mention that Laurene Jobs is Steve Jobs’ widow?

  13. 68 vero804
    January 24, 2012 at 1:55 pm


    We’re chasing each other!!! I have to be quick because I am at work, and I’ll probably miss your response, but I agree with you here. We get the president, but not everyone does or has the time to get him and his message. I also think at one time early this year, they took the 2010 midterm loss way too personally and thought they should adopt some of the Republican position vis a vis deficit cutting. It’s a valid issue, but I just think the American people at that time were, and continue to be, more concerned with issues of fairness in the tax system, as well as job creation. We could have fought back against the nonsense of cut cut cut, with jobs jobs jobs, much sooner than we did.

    Anyway, he had a very tough play to make and I think he’s done better than anyone I can imagine being in his place. I think he’s found his voice in this divided government situation now. I’m looking forward to a passionate, full-throated support for the middle-class SOTU speech tonight!

  14. 70 Bill
    January 24, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    “Swiss bank accounts are people too, my friend.” – Willard Mitt Romney

  15. 71 isonprize
    January 24, 2012 at 2:06 pm


    Sara Ferguson appears in this video. She is one of a number of teachers in the Chester-Upland School District (Chester County, Pennsylvania) who are teaching with pay. She will sit with the First Lady to listen to the State of the Union address this evening.

    Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett (R) has refused to release funding to Chester-Upland school district.

    • 72 nospin
      January 24, 2012 at 2:18 pm

      thanks for sharing this isonprize.

    • 73 PurpleShoesLA
      January 24, 2012 at 2:21 pm

      This just hurts my heart and makes me so angry. Thanks for this izonprize. I’m so glad that one of the teachers from this school is FLOTUS’s guest tonight at the SOTU. Shame on these Repugnant govenors!

    • 74 Alycee (@jazziz2)
      January 24, 2012 at 2:55 pm

      Thanks for posting Ison. Small clarification; the teachers are going to be paid; last week a federal judge ordered the state to provide 3.2mil in stop-gap funding and they are due back in court in February for the lawsuit that the school board has against the state.

      I truly admire that these teachers were willing to work without pay in order to keep the kids in the classroom.

    • 75 edp4bho
      January 24, 2012 at 3:36 pm

      He also wants it state-controlled, following the attempts across the nation with rethug governors, of undermining local government control over its own peoples and management. This miscreant campaigned on and promised no new prison building, yet took money from local governments, and began building 3 prisons, for that industrial complex, which serves the workers in counties far removed from where its prisoners came. And they want to label PBO a radical and a fascist?

    • January 24, 2012 at 4:19 pm

      PA’s governor Corbett is destroying the state, street by street, brick by brick. He’s causing massive hardship to poor people and devastation to our schools.

  16. January 24, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    Romney: the $42 million man

    Rod Dreher

    Details about Mr. Romney’s tax payments, wealth and income will inevitably be compared with similar disclosures already made by Mr. Gingrich, as well the man Mr. Romney and Mr. Gingrich hope to unseat, President Obama.

    Mr. Gingrich, who on Saturday won the Republican presidential primary in South Carolina, released his own tax returns last week showing that he and his wife, Callista, had an adjusted gross income of $3,162,424 from their various business ventures in 2010. They paid $994,708 in federal tax, according to the return, for an effective tax rate of 31.7 percent.

    Mr. Obama and his wife, Michelle, released their tax returns in April, showing an adjusted gross income of $1,728,096 for 2010 — much of it from sales of his books “Dreams From My Father” and “The Audacity of Hope.” The Obamas paid $453,770 in federal taxes, for an effective tax rate of 26.3 percent.


    In a time of crushing economic pressure on the middle and working classes, we are asked to consider voting for a man whose household took in nearly 800 times the median US income over two years, and who was taxed on that income at a far lower rate than Americans who earned their income through labor.

    Is that right? Is that fair? In a time in this country’s life in which income inequality is greater than at any time since the Great Depression, the top two Republicans in this race are Romney, a fantastically rich man who benefited handsomely from this tax law, as do many people in his class, and who proposes no rise in the capital gains rate for the superrich (though he sensibly supports eliminating it for those making $200,000 or less); and Gingrich, a man who proposes reducing the capital gains rate to zero.

    This is the Republican Party today. See this chart based on CBO data: everybody’s income is fairly stagnant, and has been for a long time — except for the superrich, who are rocketing into the income stratosphere. No wonder, given the times, that Romney doesn’t want to have this conversation.

    Why shouldn’t conservatives have this conversation among ourselves? What, exactly, is conservative about a tax system stacked so that the ultrarich make massive profits from it, while working men and women pay a much higher rate on their income? Is the essence of conservatism protecting the privileges of the few at the expense of the many? If so, we lose. We are not egalitarians, and justice doesn’t require economic leveling. But soaking the rich isn’t what we’re talking about here; we’re talking about making them pay the same rate of tax as most ordinary people. You’re not supposed to talk about this on the Right, but why not? Why is this a question only liberals and Democrats are allowed to ask?


  17. January 24, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    I swear someone had nailed it: he paid more to the church than to the country he wants to be elected PRESIDENT.


    Romney Gave More To Mormon Church Than He Paid In Taxes In 2010
    By Zack Ford on Jan 24, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Mitt Romney has never hidden the fact that he has a promised tithe to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but according to his tax returns released today, he gives back more to the Mormons than he pays to the federal government. Since 2010, the Romneys have given $7 million to charity, but over $4 million of that went directly to the Mormon Church, while they paid only $3 million to the IRS last year.

    The Mormon Church is notoriously anti-gay, having raised an estimated $22 million in support of California’s Proposition 8 in 2008, in addition to providing close to 90 percent of the early door-to-door volunteers advocating for the discriminatory measure. Because of blowback from this effort, LDS has been less aggressive in anti-gay campaigns, although just last week church leaders endorsed Minnesota’s marriage discrimination amendment. Some have questioned whether its involvement in ballot measures should compromise the church’s tax-exempt status and there is an on-going petition calling on the IRS to revoke it.

    Though Romney never specifically endorsed Prop 8 aside from opposing same-sex marriage in general, the Church’s success in passing the measure may have helped advance his credibility among social conservatives.


    • January 24, 2012 at 2:27 pm

      I support Romney tithing but I don’t support him pay a lower tax rate than I do.

      • 80 Bill
        January 24, 2012 at 2:44 pm

        I cannot help but wonder how much of the money he gave to his church came back in one form or another to one of his super PACS. Another problem I have is he receives deductions for money that goes to the construction of magnifcant temples, not to the poor, which pay no taxes to their local communities. Just my opinion.

    • 81 vero804
      January 24, 2012 at 2:40 pm

      Hmmm…since 2010 (so I assume that’s 2010 and 2011 – a 2 year period) he paid the church over $4M. But when they looked at what he paid in taxes, it’s only from 2010 – a 1 year period. Not sure that is the strongest argument, but I could be reading this wrong.

  18. 82 criquet
    January 24, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    I have long thought this one of the biggest problems with the media.
    It needs to be repeated all the time to expose the incompetent, ill-informed newstainers who refuse to educate and inform the public.

  19. January 24, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    found this in the comments at Balloon Juice:

    I alluded to this yesterday as did another commenter. In 2009 there was an amnesty of sorts for Americans stashing money away overseas. The IRS said, report it in 2009, pay the taxes, pay a fine, and we won’t go after you criminally. They say the Cayman and Swiss accounts were “reported”. The question remains, when were the accounts opened and when were they reported to the IRS? If he hadn’t reported them up until 2009, and took advantage of the kind of virtual amnesty Obama gave rich people that year, there will be a large anomoly in the amount of taxes he paid, if not some outright disclosure. The MSM should be pushing for the 2009 returns.

  20. January 24, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    January 24, 2012 10:30 AM

    Taking its toll on Romney’s reputation
    By Steve Benen

    We talked over the weekend about Mitt Romney’s “likability problem” — the more voters see him, the less popular he becomes. As the campaign progresses, this appears to be getting worse.

    The number of Americans with negative views of Mitt Romney has spiked in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, compounding the former Massachusetts governor’s challenges as he tries to rally from Saturday’s big loss in South Carolina.

    Among independents, Romney’s unfavorable rating now tops 50 percent — albeit by a single point — a first in Post-ABC polling back to 2006. Just two weeks ago, more independents had favorable than unfavorable views of Romney; now, it’s 2 to 1 negative.


  21. 86 Dudette
    January 24, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    FACTS: The State Of The Union

    Tonight, President Barack Obama will deliver his third State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress. The Republican response will be given by Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels. Before you watch the speeches, get the facts:

    • Since the last SOTU, the economy has created 1.9 million private sector jobs. [Source]

    • The top 1 percent take home 24 percent of the nation’s income, up from about 9 percent in 1976. [Source]

    • Private sector job creation under Obama in 2011 was larger than seven out of the eight years Bush was president. [Source]

    • The top 1 percent of Americans own 40 percent of our country’s wealth while the bottom 80 percent owns only 7 percent. [Source]

    • Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, 2.5 million young adults gained health insurance. [Source]

    • For every one job opening, there are four people looking for work. [Source]

    • Last year, China spent 9 percent of its GDP on infrastructure. The U.S. spent 2.5 percent. [Source]

    • 2.65 million seniors saved an average of $569 on prescriptions last year thanks to the Affordable Care Act. [Source]

    • “In 2011, the United States killed Al Qaeda’s most effective propagandist, Anwar al-Awlaki; its operating chief, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman; and of course its founder, chief executive and spiritual leader, Osama bin Laden.” [Source]

    More here: http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2012/01/24/409088/facts-the-state-of-the-union/

  22. 89 criquet
    January 24, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    We are not alone:

  23. January 24, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    January 24, 2012 2:05 PM

    Losing a 23-point lead in a week
    By Steve Benen

    As recently as Jan. 15 — nine days ago — Gallup’s daily tracking poll showed Mitt Romney leading Newt Gingrich by 23 points. In fact, a day earlier, Gallup showed Gingrich running third, a point behind Rick Santorum.

    And as of today, Gallup has Gingrich leading Romney by four, 31% to 27%.

    This really is astounding. Romney’s national support has dropped 10 points in nine days — not because of any new scandal or humiliating gaffe, but because his support was fairly tepid and weak, and voters decided were easily swayed away.

    But when a frontrunner sees a 23-point lead evaporate this quickly, the ripples of panic in Republican circles are well justified.


  24. January 24, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    January 24, 2012 1:05 PM

    Leave the Navy alone
    By Steve Benen

    The only thing that bothers me more than Mitt Romney’s falsehoods is when Romney repeats the falsehoods after they’ve been proven untrue.

    In last night’s debate, the former governor, who’s routinely struggled with the basics of military and national security policy, complained, “[W]e keep on shrinking our Navy. Our Navy is now smaller than any time since 1917.”

    Romney backer John Bolton raised the same concern in a Wall Street Journal op-ed: “The Navy has only 285 ships today, the fewest since World War I, and it is straining to uphold its unique global responsibilities.”

    The problem isn’t with the data, per se, but with the metric. Romney and his campaign want to give the public the impression that the Obama administration is somehow scaling back the military, leaving us vulnerable. But as multiple fact-checks have made clear since the Republican campaign starting pushing this line, the claim is wildly misleading.

    [E]ven by that standard, Obama’s Navy has more ships than at any point in the last four years of the Bush administration. The Navy’s downsized fleet was a result of a decades-long reorganization rather than any Obama administration policy. More to the point, we’re getting a lot more bang for our buck — we’ve swapped dreadnoughts, monitors, and 50-gun frigates for air-craft carriers and nuclear submarines. Which would you want in a fight?


  25. January 24, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Walker raises 12 million bucks, so far for recall efforts.
    Gee whiz!

  26. 95 LDS
    January 24, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    Just testing…….sent two comrments. Not posted, yet.

  27. 96 Dudette
    January 24, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    Did somebody turn this over to Attack Watch already?
    Atlanta Jewish Times publisher resigns after calling for Obama assassination

    This guy needs to spend some time in jail,

  28. 97 Alycee (@jazziz2)
    January 24, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    GO MARTIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Taking scumbag Walsh to the woodshed!

  29. 99 Alycee (@jazziz2)
    January 24, 2012 at 3:13 pm

  30. January 24, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    January 24, 2012 11:15 AM

    By Steve Benen

    A couple of months ago, Romney campaign spokesperson Eric Fehrnstrom was asked what a Romney administration would do with undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States. Fehrnstrom said Romney “doesn’t believe in granting them amnesty,” but when asked what Romney sees as an alternative, the campaign spokesperson would only say, “He would not grant them amnesty.”

    Team Romney was comfortable saying what they’re against, but not what they’re for. It wasn’t exactly illuminating.

    Last night, Adam Smith, the political editor at the Tampa Bay Times, asked the former governor a good question: “You say you don’t want to go and round up people and deport them, but you also say that they would have to go back to their home countries and then apply for citizenship. So, if you don’t deport them, how do you send them home?”

    Romney replied, “Well, the answer is self-deportation.”

    And what, exactly, does that mean? Adam Serwer explained that the point is to make life so miserable for these immigrants that they simply leave on their own.


  31. 101 Alycee (@jazziz2)
    January 24, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    • 102 nospin
      January 24, 2012 at 5:36 pm

      this is critical. We have to win the House.

      For some reason today I was thinking about the fact that Boehner is second in line to the succession of the Presidency.

  32. 103 donna dem 4 obama
    January 24, 2012 at 3:18 pm


    One week ago the National Gallup daily tracking poll had Romney up 20+ points on Noot. Today Noot re-took the lead. 31/27.

    Go Noot Go. I sure hope he gets enough votes to pull out a win next Tuesday in FL. It will drive the Republican establishment bonkers. 😆

    Are there anymore clown shows…I mean debates before the Florida Primary?

  33. January 24, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    Pffft! Oliver Stone endorses Ron Paul. Ugh!

    • 106 Dudette
      January 24, 2012 at 3:24 pm


      • January 24, 2012 at 4:14 pm

        Not really. Remember that Stone is a conspiracy nut, so Paul fits right in with that. And, really, does anyone even remember who Oliver Stone is?

        • 108 Dudette
          January 24, 2012 at 4:32 pm

          So the racist stuff doesn’t matter, the isolationist stuff doesn’t matter, get rid of SS and Medicare doesn’t matter, go back to the gold standard (r u kidding me?) doesn’t matter. Let’s all smoke a joint? That’s his idea of a vision for the future? Ugh!

  34. 109 Dudette
    January 24, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    Here’s some irony, you’ve probably heard Seal and Heidi Klum have recently announced that they’re separating [boo hoo – sounds like 7-yr itch to me]. Anyway, Seal’s latest album of soul remakes (Soul 2) came out in November 2011. Wanna guess what recently resurgent Al Green classic is one of the cuts? Yep, that one: http://youtu.be/JxLvbx5-mfU

    Hmmm, I kinda think PBO out did him on that first bar. 🙂

  35. January 24, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    Anyone else notice that in the picture above the President has the portraits of Lincoln and Washington and the bust of Dr. King looking on as he discusses the State of the Union?

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