Year Two Day 119 Obama Administration May 19, 2010 - History

Year Two Day 119 Obama Administration May 19, 2010 - History

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10:00AM THE PRESIDENT receives the Presidential Daily Briefing

Oval Office

10:30AM THE PRESIDENT receives the Economic Daily Briefing

Oval Office

11:00AM THE PRESIDENT meets with senior advisors

Oval Office

30PM THE PRESIDENT and THE VICE PRESIDENT meet with Secretary of the Treasury Geithner

Oval Office
4:00 PM The President made a statement on Wall Street Reform

Year Two Day 119 Obama Administration May 19, 2010 - History

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act consists of a combination of measures to control healthcare costs, and an expansion of coverage through public and private insurance: broader Medicaid eligibility and Medicare coverage, and subsidized, regulated private insurance. An individual mandate coupled with subsidies for private insurance as a means for universal healthcare was considered the best way to win the support of the Senate because it had been included in prior bipartisan reform proposals. The idea goes back as far as 1989, when it was initially proposed by the conservative Heritage Foundation as an alternative to single-payer health care. [50] It was championed by many Republican politicians as a market-based approach to healthcare reform on the basis of individual responsibility. Specifically, because the 1986 Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) requires any hospital participating in Medicare (which nearly all do) to provide emergency care to anyone who needs it, the government often indirectly bore the cost of those without the ability to pay. [51] [52] [53]

When, in 1993, President Bill Clinton proposed a healthcare reform bill that included a mandate for employers to provide health insurance to all employees through a regulated marketplace of health maintenance organizations, Republican Senators proposed an alternative that would have required individuals, but not employers, to buy insurance. [52] Ultimately the Clinton plan failed due to concerns that it was overly complex, amid an unprecedented barrage of negative advertising funded by politically conservative groups and the health insurance industry. [54] After failing to obtain a comprehensive reform of the healthcare system, Clinton negotiated a compromise with the 105th Congress to instead enact the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) in 1997. [55]

The 1993 Republican alternative, introduced by Senator John Chafee as the Health Equity and Access Reform Today Act, contained a “universal coverage” requirement with a penalty for noncompliance—an individual mandate—as well as subsidies to be used in state-based ‘purchasing groups.’ [56] Advocates for the 1993 bill included prominent Republicans who today oppose a mandate, such as Senators Orrin Hatch, Chuck Grassley, Bob Bennett, and Kit Bond. [57] [58] Of the 43 Republicans Senators from 1993, almost half—20 out of 43—supported the HEART Act. [50] [59] Another Republican proposal, introduced in 1994 by Senator Don Nickles, the Consumer Choice Health Security Act, also contained an individual mandate with a penalty provision [60] however, Nickles subsequently removed the mandate from the bill, stating he had decided “that government should not compel people to buy health insurance.” [61] At the time of these proposals, Republicans did not raise constitutional issues with the mandate Mark Pauly, who helped develop a proposal that included an individual mandate for George H.W. Bush, remarked, “I don’t remember that being raised at all. The way it was viewed by the Congressional Budget Office in 1994 was, effectively, as a tax.” [50]

In 2006, an insurance expansion bill was enacted at the state level in Massachusetts. The bill contained both an individual health insurance mandate and an insurance exchange. Republican Governor Mitt Romney vetoed the mandate, but after Democrats overrode his veto, he signed it into law. [62] [dubious – discuss] The bill enjoyed strong bipartisan support, including that of Senator Ted Kennedy. Romney’s successful implementation of the ‘Health Connector’ exchange and individual mandate in Massachusetts was at first lauded by Republicans. During Romney’s 2008 presidential campaign, Senator Jim DeMint praised Romney’s ability to “take some good conservative ideas, like private health insurance, and apply them to the need to have everyone insured.” Romney himself said of the individual mandate: “I’m proud of what we’ve done. If Massachusetts succeeds in implementing it, then that will be the model for the nation.” [63]

In 2007, a year after the Massachusetts reform, Republican Senator Bob Bennett and Democratic Senator Ron Wyden introduced the Healthy Americans Act, which also featured an individual mandate and state-based regulated insurance markets called “State Health Help Agencies”. [53] [63] The bill attracted bipartisan support but died in committee however, many of the sponsors and co-sponsors remained in Congress during the 2008 healthcare debate. [64]

Given the history of bipartisan support for an individual mandate and regulated insurance markets with subsidies as well as their perceived success in Massachusetts, by 2008 many Democrats were considering using this approach as the basis for comprehensive, national healthcare reform. Experts have pointed out that the legislation that eventually emerged from Congress in 2009 and 2010 bears many similarities to the 2007 bill [56] and that it was deliberately patterned after Romney’s state healthcare plan. [65] Jonathan Gruber, a key architect of the Massachusetts reform who advised the Clinton and Obama presidential campaigns on their healthcare proposals, served as a technical consultant to the Obama administration and helped Congress draft the ACA. [66]

Healthcare debate, 2008–10

Healthcare reform was a major topic of discussion during the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries. As the race narrowed, attention focused on the plans presented by the two leading candidates, Hillary Clinton and eventual nominee Barack Obama. Each candidate proposed a plan to cover the approximately 45 million Americans estimated to not have health insurance at some point each year. Clinton’s plan would have required all Americans obtain coverage (in effect, an individual mandate), while Obama provided a subsidy but campaigned against the use of a mandate. [67] [68] During the general election, Obama said that fixing healthcare would be one of his top four priorities if he won the presidency. [69]

After his inauguration, Obama announced to a joint session of Congress in February 2009 his intent to work with Congress to construct a plan for healthcare reform. [70] [71] By July, a series of bills were approved by committees within the House of Representatives. [72] On the Senate side, from June to September, the Senate Finance Committee held a series of 31 meetings to develop a healthcare reform bill. This group—in particular, Democrats Max Baucus, Jeff Bingaman, and Kent Conrad, and Republicans Mike Enzi, Chuck Grassley, and Olympia Snowe—met for more than 60 hours, and the principles that they discussed, in conjunction with the other committees, became the foundation of the Senate’s healthcare reform bill. [73] [74] [75]

With universal healthcare as one of the stated goals of the Obama administration, congressional Democrats and health policy experts like Jonathan Gruber and David Cutler argued that guaranteed issue would require both a community rating and an individual mandate to prevent either adverse selection and/or free riding from creating an insurance death spiral [76] they convinced Obama that this was necessary, persuading him to accept congressional proposals including a mandate. [77] This approach was preferred because the President and congressional leaders concluded that more liberal plans such as Medicare for All, could not win filibuster-proof support in the Senate. By deliberately drawing on bipartisan ideas—the same basic outline was supported by former Senate majority leaders Howard Baker, Bob Dole, Tom Daschleand George J. Mitchell—the bill’s drafters hoped to increase the chances of getting the necessary votes for passage. [78] [79]

However, following the adoption of an individual mandate as a central component of the proposed reforms by Democrats, Republicans began to oppose the mandate and threaten to filibuster any bills that contained it. [50] Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, who led the Republican congressional strategy in responding to the bill, calculated that Republicans should not support the bill, and worked to keep party discipline and prevent defections: [80]

It was absolutely critical that everybody be together because if the proponents of the bill were able to say it was bipartisan, it tended to convey to the public that this is O.K., they must have figured it out. [81]

Republican Senators, including those who had supported previous bills with a similar mandate, began to describe the mandate as “unconstitutional”. Writing in The New Yorker, Ezra Klein stated that “the end result was… a policy that once enjoyed broad support within the Republican Party suddenly faced unified opposition.” [53] The New York Times subsequently noted: “It can be difficult to remember now, given the ferocity with which many Republicans assail it as an attack on freedom, but the provision in President Obama’s healthcare law requiring all Americans to buy health insurance has its roots in conservative thinking.” [52] [59]

Tea Party protesters at the Taxpayer March on Washington, September 12, 2009.

The reform negotiations also attracted a great deal of attention from lobbyists, [82] including deals among certain lobbies and the advocates of the law to win the support of groups who had opposed past reform efforts, such as in 1993. [83] [84] The Sunlight Foundation documented many of the reported ties between “the healthcare lobbyist complex” and politicians in both major parties. [85]

During the August 2009 summer congressional recess, many members went back to their districts and entertained town hall meetings to solicit public opinion on the proposals. Over the recess, the Tea Party movement organized protests and many conservative groups and individuals targeted congressional town hall meetings to voice their opposition to the proposed reform bills. [71] There were also many threats made against members of Congress over the course of the Congressional debate, and many were assigned extra protection. [86]

To maintain the progress of the legislative process, when Congress returned from recess, in September 2009 President Obama delivered a speech to a joint session of Congress supporting the ongoing Congressional negotiations, to re-emphasize his commitment to reform and again outline his proposals. [87] In it he acknowledged the polarization of the debate, and quoted a letter from the late Senator Ted Kennedy urging on reform: “what we face is above all a moral issue that at stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country.” [88] On November 7, the House of Representatives passed the Affordable Health Care for America Act on a 220–215 vote and forwarded it to the Senate for passage. [71]


The Senate began work on its own proposals while the House was still working on the Affordable Health Care for America Act. Instead, the Senate took up H.R. 3590, a bill regarding housing tax breaks for service members. [89] As the United States Constitution requires all revenue-related bills to originate in the House, [90] the Senate took up this bill since it was first passed by the House as a revenue-related modification to the Internal Revenue Code. The bill was then used as the Senate’s vehicle for their healthcare reform proposal, completely revising the content of the bill. [91] The bill as amended would ultimately incorporate elements of proposals that were reported favorably by the Senate Health and Financecommittees.

With the Republican minority in the Senate vowing to filibuster any bill that they did not support, requiring a cloture vote to end debate, 60 votes would be necessary to get passage in the Senate. [92] At the start of the 111th Congress, Democrats had only 58 votes the Senate seat in Minnesota that would be won by Al Franken was still undergoing a recount, and Arlen Specter was still a Republican.

To reach 60 votes, negotiations were undertaken to satisfy the demands of moderate Democrats, and to try to bring aboard several Republican senators particular attention was given to Bob Bennett, Mike Enzi, Chuck Grassley, and Olympia Snowe. Negotiations continued even after July 7—when Franken was sworn into office, and by which time Specter had switched parties—because of disagreements over the substance of the bill, which was still being drafted in committee, and because moderate Democrats hoped to win bipartisan support. However, on August 25, before the bill could come up for a vote, Ted Kennedy—a long-time advocate for healthcare reform—died, depriving Democrats of their 60th vote. Before the seat was filled, attention was drawn to Senator Snowe because of her vote in favor of the draft bill in the Finance Committee on October 15, however she explicitly stated that this did not mean she would support the final bill. [76] Paul Kirk was appointed as Senator Kennedy’s temporary replacement on September 24.

Following the Finance Committee vote, negotiations turned to the demands of moderate Democrats to finalize their support, whose votes would be necessary to break the anticipated Republican filibuster. Majority leader Harry Reid focused on satisfying the centrist members of the Democratic caucus until the holdouts narrowed down to Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, an independent who caucused with Democrats, and Ben Nelson of Nebraska. Lieberman, despite intense negotiations in search of a compromise by Reid, refused to support a public option a concession granted only after Lieberman agreed to commit to voting for the bill if the provision was not included, [76] [93] even though it had majority support in Congress. [94] There was debate among supporters of the bill about the importance of the public option, [95] although the vast majority of supporters concluded that it was a minor part of the reform overall, [93] and that congressional Democrats’ fight for it won various concessions, including conditional waivers allowing states to set up state-based public options such as Vermont’s Green Mountain Care. [94] [96]

Russell Wheeler

Visiting Fellow - Governance Studies

  • seated a record number of court of appeals (circuit) judges, although changes in the appellate courts’ party-of-appointing-president balance have been less than one might expect given the number of appointments
  • given relatively short shrift to the confirmation of district judges that may change at least temporarily, given the current paucity of circuit vacancies
  • as a percentage of total judgeships, appointed fewer judges than three recent predecessors and about the same as three others
  • turned mainly to white males as judicial appointees.

For perspective, Table 1 shows the gradual and uneven decline in confirmation rates since Reagan and the more obvious increase in the time it has taken the Senate to move nominations to confirmation.

Table 1: Total Nominations and Confirmations

Note: This table counts Roger Gregory (CA-4) as a Clinton, not a Bush2, appointee.

Confirmation rates in George H.W. Bush’s first two years (1989-90) were over 90%. The December 1990 judgeship bill created a large number of vacancies and nominations, but the Democratic Senate, perhaps with an eye on the 1992 presidential election, confirmed a lower percentage than during the first two years.

The Trump-McConnell confirmation juggernaut has clearly prized circuit over district confirmations—note the greater confirmation rate (93% to 70%) and much shorter time from nomination to confirmation (151 median days to 271). Indeed, Trump’s circuit confirmation numbers, in slightly more than two-and-a-half years, compare favorably to those of his predecessors’ full-term numbers: more appointments (43) than one-term George H. W. Bush (42) and close to Obama’s two-term confirmations (55).

Table 2 compares these same Trump’s numbers (i.e., at the third-year August break) with those of his predecessors at the same point in their presidencies. It shows the same primary attention to filling appellate vacancies. Trump has outpaced his predecessors as to the number of circuit nominations and confirmations, and the Senate has processed the nominations much faster than it did those of his two predecessors. With the 13 district confirmations just before the August break, Trump ranks third among the six most recent presidents.

Table 2: Nominations and Confirmations at Third-Year August Break

CA noms CA conf Rate Median days DC noms DC conf Rate Median days
Reagan 24 21 88% 26 87 84 97% 31
Bush1 33 26 79% 75 100 66 66% 65
Clinton 31 26 84% 99 154 135 88% 79
Bush 2 44 26 59% 260 150 117 78% 119
Obama 32 19 59% 249 119 74 62% 184
Trump 46 43 93% 151 141 99 70% 271

The Senate turned its attention to district judges because there are almost no circuit vacancies to fill—one nominee is pending for the Fifth Circuit’s court of appeals and three nominee-less vacancies remain in the courts of the Second and Ninth circuits.

District vacancies, now at 97, have hovered around 100 for Trump’s entire term. The focus on seating circuit judges may satisfy those who relish those courts’ policy-making role but is cold comfort to civil litigants who can’t get their cases heard in the federal district courts, given the high number of vacant judgeships and criminal cases’ statutory priority. For one example, until the pre-recess confirmation surge, the then-nine district court vacancies in Texas constituted 18 percent of that state’s district judgeships and had been vacant for 486 median days.

An aside: in riffing to a group of young supporters in July, Trump seemed to imply that he alone inherited vacancies (“Because, normally, when you become President, you go in and you say ‘Do I have any judges to appoint?” ‘No’.”) In fact, as Table 3 shows, he inherited more vacancies than any of his recent predecessors except Clinton, who reaped the benefit of unfilled judgeships created by the large December 1990 judgeship bill.

Table 3: Vacancies on January 1

District Court of Appeals Total
2017 86 17 103
2009 40 13 53
2001 54 26 80
1993 90 17 107

Trump benefitted, not from a judgeship bill, but from the Senate’s 2015-2016 unprecedented slow-walking of confirmations. It refused to let Obama fill more than a handful of district vacancies, but it let many vacant district judgeships sit untouched as it concentrated on circuit confirmations.

Reshaping the Court of Appeals

Has the large number of Trump circuit appointees produced big changes in the party-of-appointing-president balance on those courts? Yes and no.

In the aggregate, the percentages have certainly changed. On Inauguration Day 2017, Republican appointees constituted 41 percent of all 179 judgeship and 45% of judges in active status. They now constitute 52 percent of authorized judgeships and 53 percent of active-status judges.

Table 4: Court of Appeals by Party of Appointing President

January 2017 July 2019
R app’tees D app’tees Vacant R app’tees D app’tees Vacant
J’ships 41% 50% 9% 52% 46% 2%
Active J’s 45% 55% 53% 47%

Those changes would have been greater, though, had Trump been able to replace more Democratic appointees with Republican appointees. In fact, 60 percent of his appointees filled seats previously occupied by Republican appointees. (Of course, judges in general and appointees of any political party in particular are not fungible. Trump’s circuit appointees appear on the whole more conservative than the Republican appointees they replaced and certainly younger as well.)

Furthermore, his appointments were disproportionately made to courts that already had Republican appointee majorities. The 55 judgeships in the courts of appeals of the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth circuits constitute 31 percent of the 179 circuit judgeships, but Trump’s 19 appointees to those courts are 44 percent of his 43 circuit appointees to date. When he took office those four courts were the only ones with Republican appointee majorities. By August 2019, only the Third Circuit’s court of appeals had joined them. It had seven D-appointees and five R-appointees on Inauguration Day, with two vacancies. Today it has six –D-appointees and-eight R-appointees. When Trump fills the two vacancies on the Second Circuit’s court of appeals, that court will go from seven-D-appointees and four R-appointees (and two vacancies) on Inauguration Day, to six D and seven-R appointees. But with only two other vacancies nationwide (one on the solidly R-appointee Fifth Circuit court, the other on the still D-appointee dominated Ninth), no other switches are in the immediate offing.

On the other hand, the balances on eight courts have seen no more than a two-judge switch (e.g., the Fourth Circuit’s court of appeals was 10 D-appointees and five R-appointees on Inauguration Day. The balance is now nine-six). The eight courts with basically the same balance are those of the D-appointee-majority First, Fourth, Tenth, DC and Federal circuits, and the R-appointee-majority Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth circuits. The Seventh Circuit’s court of appeals went from a six R-appointee, three D-appointee majority (with two vacancies) to a nine-two R to D appointee balance.

Number of appointments/percentage of judgeships

Trump often says that he has appointed more circuit judges at this point than any of his predecessors, and he’s correct. His 43 appointments, as Table 5 shows, leave his predecessors in the dust.

But his frequent boasts as on July 23 to a conservative youth group about all his appointees— “percentage-wise, I blow everybody away except” George Washington—clearly are not true even as to recent presidents.

Table 5: Appointees as of Mid-August, Third Year*

1900–1969 [ edit ]

In the United States, as early as the turn of the 20th century several groups worked in hiding to avoid persecution and to advance the rights of homosexuals, but little is known about them. ⎪] Edward Irenaeus Prime-Stevenson published Imre: A Memorandum in 1906 and The Intersexes in 1908. ⎫] A better documented group is Henry Gerber's Society for Human Rights (formed in Chicago in 1924), which was quickly suppressed within months of its establishment. ⎬] Serving as an enlisted man in occupied Germany after World War I, Gerber had learned of Magnus Hirschfeld's pioneering work. Upon returning to the U.S. and settling in Chicago, Gerber organized the first documented public homosexual organization in America and published two issues of the first gay publication, entitled Friendship and Freedom. Meanwhile, during the 1920s, LGBT persons found employment as entertainers or entertainment assistants for various urban venues in cities such as New York City. ⎭]

Homosexuals were occasionally seen in LGBT films of Pre-Code Hollywood. Buster Keaton's Seven Chances offered a rare joke about the female impersonator, Julian Eltinge. The Pansy Craze offered actors, such as Gene Malin, Ray Bourbon, Billy De Wolfe, Joe Besser, and Karyl Norman. In 1927, Mae West was jailed for The Drag. The craze found itself in a wide variety of American films, from gangster films like The Public Enemy, to musicals like Wonder Bar and animated cartoons like Dizzy Red Riding Hood. Homosexuals even managed to find themselves in the then-illegal pornographic film industry.

Around 1929, "The Surprise of a Knight" became the first American gay pornographic film. "A Stiff Game" would be the second American gay pornographic film

Homosexuality was also present in the music industry. In 1922, Norval Bertrand Langworthy (better known as Speed Langworthy) (b. May 15, 1901, Seward, Nebraska - d. March 22, 1999, Arizona) ⎮] wrote the song, "We Men Must Grow a Mustache" Abe Lyman appeared on the sheet music. Edgar Leslie and James V. Monaco wrote "Masculine Women, Feminine Men" ⎯] in Hugh J. Ward's 1926 production of the musical Lady Be Good. ⎯] Homosexuality also found its way into African-American music. Ma Rainey, who is believed to be a lesbian, recorded the song, "Prove it on Me Blues." According to, the song is about her arrest for group sex, in which alleged lesbianism took place. ⎰] George Hannah decided in 1930 to record the song, "The Boy in the Boat." ⎱] Kokomo Arnold recorded the song, "Sissy Man Blues" in 1935. ⎲] Pinewood Tom (Josh White), George Noble, and Connie McLean's Rhythm Boys followed with their own records. ⎳]

While it seems that homosexuals enjoyed greater recognition in the media after World War I, many were still arrested and convicted for their deeds through state sodomy laws. For example, Eva Kotchever headed a lesbian café called Eve's Hangout in Greenwich Village. It was stated about her business that "men are admitted but not welcome." Kotchever's discretion had been so reckless, she wrote about lesbianism in her book, Lesbian Love. In 1926, the New York City Police Department raided her club and Kotchever was arrested on an obscenity charge and deported to her native Poland. ⎴]

In 1948, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male was published by Alfred Kinsey, a work which was one of the first to look scientifically at the subject of sexuality. Kinsey claimed that approximately 10% of the adult male population (and about half that number among females) were predominantly or exclusively homosexual for at least three years of their lives. ⎵]

During the late 1940s – 1960s, a handful of radio and television news programs aired episodes that focused on homosexuality, with some television movies and network series episodes featuring gay characters or themes. ⎶] The homophile movement began in the 1950s and 60s with the creation of several organizations, including the Mattachine Society, the Daughters of Bilitis and the Society for Individual Rights.

In 1958, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the gay publication ONE, Inc., was not obscene and thus protected by the First Amendment. ⎷] The California Supreme Court extended similar protection to Kenneth Anger's homoerotic film, Fireworks and Illinois became the first state to decriminalize sodomy between consenting adults in private. ⎸]

Little change in the laws or mores of society was seen until the mid-1960s, the time the sexual revolution began. Gay pulp fiction and Lesbian pulp fiction ushered in a new era. The beefcake movement also emerged with Mr. America. Athletic Model Guild produced much of the homoerotic content that proceeded the gay pornography business. This was a time of major social upheaval in many social areas, including views of gender roles and human sexuality.

Pre-inaugural events [ edit ]

Train ride: Commemorating Lincoln [ edit ]

On January 17, 2009, Obama hosted a whistle stop train tour in honor of the 200th anniversary of the birth year of Abraham Lincoln. Obama reenacted the final part of Lincoln's 1861 train tour from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Washington, D.C. ⎽] ⎾] to capture the mood of the 1861 Springfield to Washington train tour traveled by Lincoln to his own inauguration. ⎿] ⏀] For his train ride to the nation's capital, Obama rode in the Georgia𧈬, a vintage railroad car used by past presidents and the same one he used for touring Pennsylvania during his presidential primary campaign. ⏁] On the tour, Obama was accompanied by his wife Michelle, their daughters Malia and Sasha, and a host of friends and guests. ⏁]

For the train ride to Washington, Obama invited 41 "everyday Americans" that he met during his presidential campaign to accompany him on the tour and attend other inaugural events, including the swearing-in ceremony, the parade and an inaugural ball. ⎿] ⏂] ⏃] The group of citizens who joined the tour had shared stories with then-candidate Obama about themselves and their families during the presidential campaign, and included Matt Kuntz and Lilly Ledbetter. ⏃] ⏄] ⏅] ⏆] ⏇] Kuntz, who lost his step‑brother to suicide after returning home from the Gulf War, dedicated his efforts to improve mental health screening for Iraq War veterans. ⏃] Ledbetter, who learned years later that her employer had discriminated against her in pay based on gender, lost her case before the Supreme Court because she did not file her claim within 180 days of the discriminatory act. ⏃] Nine days after his inauguration, Obama as president signed into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, allowing claims filed against employers not only within 180 days of the pay discrimination, but also restarting the 180-day period for claims upon receiving any paycheck based on a discriminatory pay action. ⏈]

Obama commenced the tour in Philadelphia by holding a town hall meeting at 30th Street Station with a few hundred supporters. ⎾] ⏀] At the first stop in Wilmington, Delaware Vice President‑elect Biden and his family joined the tour. Biden, dubbed "Amtrak Joe" for his daily commutes on Amtrak between Wilmington and Washington, built a reputation as a supporter of increased funding for U.S. commuter rail transportation. ⏉] ⏊] The train continued to Baltimore, Maryland, its second stop, where Obama spoke to a crowd of about 40,000 people. ⎾]

During his speeches to the crowds, he emphasized the theme "A New Birth of Freedom" using phrases associated with Lincoln such as "better angels" and "a new declaration of independence". ⎾] Obama referred to patriotic forebearers in his speech when he reminded the crowds that "we should never forget that we are the heirs of that first band of patriots, ordinary men and women who refused to give up when it all seemed so improbable and who somehow believed that they had the power to make the world anew." ⏋] Thousands of well‑wishers gathered at various points along the train route taking pictures, cheering and waving American flags and homemade signs, ⎾] with Obama reciting his trademark rejoinder "I love you back" to the enthusiastic crowds. ⏀] ⏌] The one-day train tour concluded at Union Station in Washington, D.C. ⎿]

We Are One concert [ edit ]

On January 18, 2009, the day after Obama arrived in Washington, D.C., an inaugural concert, "We Are One", took place at the Lincoln Memorial. The concert featured performances and readings of historical passages by more than three dozen celebrities. ⏍] ⏎] Attendance at the concert was free to the public, and HBO broadcast the concert live on an open feed, enabling anyone with cable television to watch the event. ⏏] An estimated 400,000 people attended the concert at the Lincoln Memorial. ⏐] The Washington Metro recorded 616,324 passenger trips during the day, breaking the old Sunday ridership record of 540,945 passenger trips set on July 4, 1999. ⏐]

King Day of Service [ edit ]

The eve of the Inauguration Day, January 19, 2009, fell on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a U.S. federal holiday in recognition of Dr. King's birthday. Obama called upon communities everywhere to observe the King Day of Service, a day of citizen volunteer service honoring the human rights leader. ⏑] ⏒] More than 13,000 community service events took place across the nation on the day, the largest participation in the 14 years since Congress passed the King Holiday and Service Act and more than double the previous year's events. ⏓]

Obama spent an hour at Walter Reed Army Medical Center meeting privately with the families of troops who were recovering from wounds sustained in the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan. ⏒] ⏔] After visiting the medical center, he, along with Martin Luther King, III, headed to the Sasha Bruce House homeless shelter for teens to participate with others in service activities. ⏒] ⏔]

Joe Biden hung drywall at a Habitat for Humanity home in N.E. Washington, D.C. ⏒] ⏕] Biden's wife, Jill, their daughter, Ashley Biden, Michelle Obama and the Obamas' daughters, Malia and Sasha, spent the morning at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium where they helped thousands of volunteers prepare more than 85,000 care packages destined for U.S. troops overseas. ⏓] ⏔] ⏖] Later that evening, Obama hosted three separate bipartisan dinners to honor the service of John McCain, Colin Powell and Joe Biden. ⏒] ⏔]

Kids' Inaugural: "We Are the Future" [ edit ]

On the evening of January 19, 2009, Michelle Obama and Jill Biden hosted the "Kids' Inaugural: We Are the Future" event at the Verizon Center. Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, and the Jonas Brothers honored military families in concert. ⏗] The show was broadcast live on the Disney Channel and on Radio Disney. ⏎] Other celebrity participants included Bow Wow, George Lopez, Corbin Bleu, Queen Latifah, Billy Ray Cyrus, Shaquille O'Neal and Jamie Foxx. ⏗] In keeping with the service theme of the day, Michelle Obama issued a call for children to become engaged in public service by volunteering in homeless shelters, visiting elderly people or writing letters to U.S. troops. ⏗]

The Washington Metro recorded 866,681 passenger trips on January 19, breaking the single day ridership record of 854,638 passenger trips set on July 11, 2008. ⏘]

First Lady of the United States

Public image and style

With the ascent of her husband as a prominent national politician, Michelle Obama has become a part of popular culture. In May 2006, Essence listed her among "25 of the World's Most Inspiring Women." [ 81 ] [ 82 ] In July 2007, Vanity Fair listed her among "10 of the World's Best Dressed People." She was an honorary guest at Oprah Winfrey's Legends Ball as a "young'un" paying tribute to the 'Legends,' which helped pave the way for African American Women. In September 2007, 02138 magazine listed her 58th of 'The Harvard 100' a list of the prior year's most influential Harvard alumni. Her husband was ranked fourth. [ 81 ] [ 83 ] In July 2008, she made a repeat appearance on the Vanity Fair international best dressed list. [ 84 ] She also appeared on the 2008 People list of best-dressed women and was praised by the magazine for her "classic and confident" look. [ 85 ] [ 86 ]

At the time of her husband's election, some sources anticipated that as a high-profile African-American woman in a stable marriage she would be a positive role model who would influence the view the world has of African-Americans. [ 87 ] [ 88 ] Her fashion choices were part of the 2009 Fashion week, [ 89 ] but Obama's influence in the field did not have the impact on the paucity of African-American models who participate, that some thought it might. [ 90 ] [ 91 ]

She has been compared to Jacqueline Kennedy due to her sense of style, [ 84 ] and also to Barbara Bush for her discipline and decorum. [ 92 ] [ 93 ] Her white, one-shoulder Jason Wu 2009 inaugural gown was said to be "an unlikely combination of Nancy Reagan and Jackie Kennedy". [ 94 ] [ 95 ] Obama's style is described as populist. [ 29 ] She often wears clothes by designers Calvin Klein, Isabel Toledo, Narciso Rodriguez, Donna Ricco and Maria Pinto, [ 96 ] and has become a fashion trendsetter, [ 97 ] [ 98 ] [ 99 ] in particular her favoring of sleeveless dresses that showcase her toned arms. [ 100 ]

She appeared on the cover and in a photo spread in the March 2009 issue of Vogue. [ 101 ] [ 102 ] Every First Lady since Lou Hoover (except Bess Truman) has been in Vogue, [ 101 ] but only Hillary Clinton had previously appeared on the cover. [ 103 ]

The media have been criticized for focusing more on the first lady's fashion sense than her serious contributions. [ 29 ] [ 104 ] She has stated that she would like to focus attention as First Lady on issues of concern to military and working families. [ 87 ] [ 105 ] [ 106 ] U.S.News & World Report blogger, PBS host and Scripps Howard columnist Bonnie Erbe has argued that Obama's own publicists seem to be feeding the emphasis on style over substance. [ 107 ] Erbe has stated on several occasions that she is miscasting herself by overemphasizing style. [ 45 ] [ 108 ]

Work undertaken and causes promoted

During her early months as First Lady, she visited homeless shelters and soup kitchens. [ 109 ] She also sent representatives to schools and advocated public service. [ 109 ] [ 110 ] On her first trip abroad in April 2009, she toured a cancer ward with Sarah Brown, wife of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. [ 111 ] She has begun advocating on behalf of military families. [ 112 ] Like her predecessors Clinton and Bush, who supported the organic movement by instructing the White House kitchens to buy organic food, Obama has received attention by planting an organic garden and installing bee hives on the South Lawn of the White House, which will supply organic produce and honey to the First Family and for state dinners and other official gatherings. [ 113 ] [ 114 ]

Obama has become an advocate of her husband's policy priorities by promoting bills that support it. Following the enactment of the Pay equity law, Obama hosted a White House reception for women's rights advocates in celebration. She has pronounced her support for the economic stimulus bill in visits to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development and United States Department of Education. Some observers have looked favorably upon her legislative activities, while others have said that she should be less involved in politics. According to her representatives, she intends to visit all United States Cabinet-level agencies in order to get acquainted with Washington. [ 115 ]

She gained growing public support in her early months as first lady. [ 109 ] [ 116 ] She is notable for her support from military families and some Republicans. [ 109 ] [ 112 ] As the public is growing accustomed to her, she is becoming more accepted as a role model. [ 109 ] Newsweek described her first trip abroad as an exhibition of her so-called "star power" [ 116 ] and MSN described it as a display of sartorial elegance. [ 82 ] There were questions raised in the American and British media regarding protocol when the Obamas met Queen Elizabeth II, [ 117 ] and Michelle reciprocated a touch on her back by the Queen during a reception, purportedly against traditional royal etiquette. [ 117 ] [ 118 ] Palace sources denied that any breach in etiquette had occurred. [ 119 ]

On June 5, 2009, the White House announced that Michelle Obama was replacing her current chief of staff, Jackie Norris, with Susan Sher, a longtime friend and adviser. Norris will become a senior adviser to the Corporation for National and Community Service. [ 120 ] Then in February 2010, the resignation of White House Social Secretary, Desiree Rogers was announced to be effective the following month. [ 121 ] Rogers had been at odds with other administration officials, such as David Axelrod, and then the White House State Dinner faux pas occurred on November 24, 2009. [ 122 ] Rogers was replaced by Julianna Smoot. [ 123 ]

After a year as First Lady, she undertook her first lead role in an administrationwide initiative. Her goal was to make progress in reversing the 21st century trend of childhood obesity. [ 124 ] She stated that her goal is to make this effort her legacy: "I want to leave something behind that we can say, ‘Because of this time that this person spent here, this thing has changed.’ And my hope is that that’s going to be in the area of childhood obesity." [ 124 ] She has named the movement "Let's Move!". [ 125 ] This effort does not supplant her other efforts: supporting military families, helping working women balance career and family, encouraging national service, promoting the arts and arts education, and fostering healthy eating and healthy living for children and families across the country. [ 126 ] She has earned widespread publicity on the topic of healthy eating by planting the first White House vegetable garden since Eleanor Roosevelt served as First Lady. [ 124 ] [ 127 ]

A 27-Year-Old Beauty Queen Wins Over A Caribbean Premier For His Constituency Seat

Miss Universe Britain DeeAnn Kentish Rogers has beaten a Premier in Anguilla for his constituency seat.

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. July 3, 2020: A 27-year-old Miss Britain has beaten Premier Victor Banks for his seat in Anguilla.

Dianne Kentish Rogers, the 2018 Miss Universe Great Britain, beat Premier Victor Banks of the Anguilla United Front’s (AUF’s) for his constituency seat in the Valley South.

Kentish Rogers of the main opposition Anguilla Progressive Movement (APM), was among an APM team that won Monday’s general election in the British Overseas Territory. They won seven of the 11 seats, according to the preliminary results released here.

Kentish Rogers in 2018, became the first black woman to be crowned Miss Universe Great Britain in its 66-year history. She has a law degree and is a former athlete who competed in the Commonwealth Games twice. In 2010, she ran the 400 metres at the competition in India, before competing in the heptathlon at the 2014 Glasgow games. She first became involved in the pageantry world in 2017 as Miss Anguilla.

Dr Ellis Webster met with Governor Tim Foy on Tuesday morning to swear his oath as Premier. Kentish-Rogers was also sworn in along in were Haydn Hughes, Kenneth Hodge, Kyle Hodge and Quincia Gumbs-Marie.

“It is with deep humility and reflective gratitude that I’ve accepted the mantle to be your first elected premier. To the people of District 1 and the people of Anguilla I say thanks for the trust and confidence that you have placed in our team,” Webster said. “Indeed the best days for Anguilla are still ahead. This government is here to serve you. There are challenges ahead but together we will move forward with openness, accountability and transparency to build our nation proud, strong and free.”


  • Acronyms in healthcare
  • Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act ("Class Act")
  • Comparison of the health care systems in Canada and the United States
  • Health care
  • Health care reform
  • Health systems by country
  • King v. Burwell
  • Massachusetts health care reform (sometimes called "RomneyCare")
  • National health insurance
  • Single-payer health care
  • Universal health care
  • Universal health coverage by country
  • U.S. health care compared with 8 other countries (tabular form).

Year Two Day 119 Obama Administration May 19, 2010 - History

Saturday Night Live spoofed the Eliot Spitzer scandal, with the governor announcing his new line of work: It was Surrogate Sunday on the political talk shows. On CBS's "Face the Nation" Gov. Deval Patrick talked about last week's comments by Clinton supporter Geraldine Ferraro and Obama supporter Rev. Jeremiah A.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | March 17, 2008 09:18 AM ET | Comments (1)

Bush Gridiron Dinner Video Raises Questions

YouTube users have posted even more video of President Bush's performance at last Saturday's Gridiron Dinner. The new videos feature a more direct camera angle as the president performs his rendition of "The Green Green Grass of Home." (You start to see the president about one minute into the video.).

By Ed O&aposKeefe | March 11, 2008 05:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Eliot Spitzer on YouTube

A YouTube search for "Eliot Spitzer" reveals several videos, many added in the past 24 hours. The Post's Keith Richburg reports today that "his popularity quickly waned as he became enmeshed in scandals and political missteps, including allegations that his staff used New York state troopers to collect potentially damaging.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | March 11, 2008 01:32 PM ET | Comments (0)

President Bush at the Gridiron Dinner

The Gridiron Dinner is the capital's annual white-tie affair that brings together the nation's top political journalists and the folks they cover. The Post's Monica Hesse reports that more than 600 showed up for this year's event, which included the first and last performance of President Bush and the Busharoos.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | March 10, 2008 10:21 AM ET | Comments (119)

Obama Gets Specific

Barack Obama's campaign has released a new Web video reminding voters that he's got specifics to back up his rhetoric. It's a response to charges that he gives an "eloquent but empty call for change," as stated by John McCain Tuesday night, and hits back at accusations made by Hillary.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | February 20, 2008 05:50 PM ET | Comments (8)

Democrats Target McCain

Democrats have started attacking presumptive GOP nominee John McCain on several fronts this week. The most recent example is a new web video by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee that lumps McCain together with President George W. Bush, and vulnerable GOP senators, criticizing their continued support for the war in.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | February 20, 2008 11:34 AM ET | Comments (6)

Obama and Clinton: Copycats?

Several news organizations report today that Barack Obama used elements of a 2006 speech by then-gubernatorial candidate Deval Patrick (D) in an address to Wisconsin Democrats on Saturday night. Here's a YouTube example produced by user chrisoh7: "Sen. Obama is running on the strength of his rhetoric, and the strength.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | February 18, 2008 12:33 PM ET | Comments (168)


A friend sends along this music video. Although originally posted on YouTube a few months back, the clip has been making the email rounds during the past week or so. It's audio-visual waterboarding.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | February 15, 2008 02:56 PM ET | Comments (13)

Funny Film For (Or Against?) Romney

Michigan has an open primary system, meaning any registered voter can vote in either party primary. So YouTube user AndyCobbonUTube has produced a satirical video asking Michigan Democrats to vote for Mitt Romney, because his campaign will help Democrats. "Mitt Romney is the kind of candidate Michigan Democrats need right.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | January 15, 2008 05:12 PM ET | Comments (1)

Looking Back on Kennedy's 'Houston Speech'

As Mitt Romney prepares to give a widely-anticipated speech about "Faith in America," here are clips of John F. Kennedy's address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, on Sept. 12, 1960 at the Rice Hotel. "I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant, nor Jewish. Where no.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | December 6, 2007 09:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Candidates Show Voters How to Caucus

It's no secret that the caucus process can be confusing. In an effort to help potential participants in Iowa and Nevada, the Democratic frontrunners have produced creative "how-to" videos to explain the process. Hillary Clinton's video -- "Caucusing is Easy" -- debuted two weeks ago. Husband Bill exercises and eats.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | December 4, 2007 10:01 AM ET | Comments (3)

The Firefighters' Road Trip for Dodd

The International Association of Firefighters endorsed Chris Dodd in late August. Now it's hitting the roads of Iowa to whip up support for the Connecticut senator. "If you haven't been inside a caucus in Iowa, you really won't understand what our members can do when a candidate fails to meet.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | December 3, 2007 09:40 PM ET | Comments (0)

Question 33: Yankees v. Red Sox

Crisgo3d asks Rudy Giuliani a tough one: Why did he root for the Sox after the Yankees lost.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | November 28, 2007 10:16 PM ET | Comments (3)

Question 32: Will Ron Paul Go Independent?

YouTube user nexpres asks Ron Paul if he'll mount an independent candidacy if he fails to win the Republican nomination.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | November 28, 2007 10:13 PM ET | Comments (61)

Question 31: How do We Repair America?

From YouTube user hankhaba.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | November 28, 2007 10:11 PM ET | Comments (1)

Question 30: What Do 'Stars and Bars' Mean to You?

TheHoustonKid asks the candidates what the Confederate Flag means to them.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | November 28, 2007 10:09 PM ET | Comments (1)

Question 29: Why Don't Black People Vote Republican?

NewsinColor notes that many Black Americans hold conservative viewpoints on many social issues. So why don't they vote Republican.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | November 28, 2007 10:06 PM ET | Comments (0)

Question 28: A Mission to Mars?

Considering the economic impact of NASA on Florida (the debate is in St. Petersburg), an important quesiton on the future of the Space program. Asked by YouTube user Eisenmond.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | November 28, 2007 10:03 PM ET | Comments (0)

Question 27: Will You Repay Money Taken From Social Security?

Another creative very YouTube-y ad from user PactAmerica asks about repaying money to Social Security.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | November 28, 2007 10:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Question 26: The Log Cabin Republicans

YouTube user wopnfla asks the candidates if they accept the support of the Log Cabin Republicans.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | November 28, 2007 09:56 PM ET | Comments (0)

Question 25: Gays in the Military

Retired Brig. Gen. Keith Kerr, of Santa Rosa, Calif. asks if the candidates still support the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy regarding homosexuals in the military. Following the candidates' answers, Kerr told the debate audience that he is gay.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | November 28, 2007 09:48 PM ET | Comments (1)

Question 24: Will Your VP Have as Much Power as Cheney?

Houston Chronicle editorial cartoonist Nick Anderson asks an early candidate for best question: It's creative, and raises a good question: Will your vice president have as much power and influence as the current number two, Dick Cheney.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | November 28, 2007 09:45 PM ET | Comments (1)

Question 23: Does Rudy Giuliani Exploit 9/11 for Political Purposes?

Rudy Giuliani is asked if he's exploiting the 9/11 attacks for political gain.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | November 28, 2007 09:42 PM ET | Comments (1)

Question 22: A Permanent Committment to Iraq?

BuzzBrockway asks if the candidates will make a permanent committment to Iraq.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | November 28, 2007 09:39 PM ET | Comments (1)

The YouTube Debate

So the sissy Republicans who tried to avoid their YouTube debate are finally facing The People. Anderson Cooper acknowledges the concerns about the kinds of questions asked last time but only manages to insult the entire field of questioners by featuring the stupid moments. Thanks, Andy. Next we have.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | November 28, 2007 09:33 PM ET | Comments (0)

Question 21: Waterboarding

Andrew Jones, of Seattle, Wash. asks about the torture method known as waterboarding. Part of John McCain's answer: "Life is not '24' and Jack Bauer.".

By Ed O&aposKeefe | November 28, 2007 09:29 PM ET | Comments (1)

Question 20: Iraq, and The Image of America

tamimi08 wants to know how the Republicans will fix the image of America abroad.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | November 28, 2007 09:25 PM ET | Comments (0)

Question 19: Do You Believe Every Word in The Bible?

calciumtoy, better known as Joseph Dearing of Dallas, Tex. asks simply "Do you believe this book?".

By Ed O&aposKeefe | November 28, 2007 09:22 PM ET | Comments (1)

Question 18: Regarding the Death Penalty, WWJD?

IAmTheScum13 asks "The death penalty: What would Jesus do?" The question was directed to Mike Huckabee. "Jesus is too smart to run for public office, that's what Jesus would do," the former governor said when pressed for a direct answer.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | November 28, 2007 09:18 PM ET | Comments (1)

Question 17: Would You Sign a Federal Abortion Ban?

A.J. (or lordajay), of Millstone, N.J., asks the candidates if they would sign a federal abortion ban.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | November 28, 2007 09:16 PM ET | Comments (1)

Question 16: Abortion

Journey of Arlington, Tex. (YouTube user paperserenade) wants to know what crime a woman would be charged with if she got an illegal abortion.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | November 28, 2007 09:13 PM ET | Comments (1)

Question 15: Urban Crime

A father and son, known as printess5232 on YouTube, ask the candidates what they will do about violence in urban areas. An especially well-timed question considering the shooting death of Redskins player Sean Taylor.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | November 28, 2007 09:10 PM ET | Comments (1)

Question 14: How Many Guns Do You Own?

LOCUSLARSEN wants to know what, if any types of weapons can be found on the candidates' gun rack.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | November 28, 2007 09:07 PM ET | Comments (0)

Question 13: Exam to Buy a Gun?

kipload asks Rudy Giuliani considering the Second Amendment, why he thinks citizens should have to pass an exam to exercise their right to defend themselves and their family.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | November 28, 2007 09:05 PM ET | Comments (0)

Question 12: Gun Control

Jay Fox, of Boulevard, Calif. (YouTube user foxbrosstudios) asks "What is your opinion of gun control? And don't worry, you can answer however you'd like," he says while cocking his shotgun.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | November 28, 2007 09:03 PM ET | Comments (0)

Question 11: Lead Toys, and Trade With China

You saw this coming: YouTube user leann3657 asks what the candidates will do about lead in her childrens' toys, and where they stand on the issue of doing business and trade with China.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | November 28, 2007 09:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Question 10: Farm Subsidies

tfaturos wants to know what the GOP 8 think about farm subsidies.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | November 28, 2007 08:58 PM ET | Comments (0)

Question 9: Will You Pledge to Not Raise Taxes?

Grover Norquist (YouTube user Taxreformer) asks the candidates if they will pledge to not raise taxes.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | November 28, 2007 08:54 PM ET | Comments (0)

Question 8: Do You Support the Fair Tax?

kntemplar asks if the candidates support the Fair Tax.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | November 28, 2007 08:53 PM ET | Comments (1)

Question 7: Federal Programs

emilyekins asks which three federal programs the GOP candidates would cut.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | November 28, 2007 08:50 PM ET | Comments (0)

Question 6: National Debt

YouTube user sarah05l asks what the candidates will do to reduce the debt.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | November 28, 2007 08:47 PM ET | Comments (0)

Question 5: The North American Union

YouTube user Seekster asks Ron Paul if he believes in the conspiracy regarding the North American Union.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | November 28, 2007 08:37 PM ET | Comments (0)

Question 4: College Tuition for Children of Illegal Immigrants

YouTube user ashleylynn360 asks if the candidates support a federal law to requires states that give in-state tuition rates to illegal immigrants to give the same tuition rate to children of members of the military.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | November 28, 2007 08:36 PM ET | Comments (1)

Question 3: Guest Worker Programs

Jack Brooks, of Cambridge, Md. (YouTube user WillNuckols) and his co-workers ask, "What are you going to do to keep these guest workers coming to the U.S.?".

By Ed O&aposKeefe | November 28, 2007 08:28 PM ET | Comments (1)

Question 1: Immigration

Ernie Nardi, of Brooklyn, N.Y. (YouTube user ejxit) asks Rudy Giuliani, "Will you continue to aid and abet the flight of illegal aliens into this country?".

By Ed O&aposKeefe | November 28, 2007 08:19 PM ET | Comments (0)

A Musical Start

Chris Nandor of Snohomish County, Wash. (or YouTube user pudgenet) starts things off with a musical interlude.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | November 28, 2007 08:16 PM ET | Comments (2)

Tonight: The CNN/YouTube Debate

Tonight, after previewing the user-submitted questions for three days, we'll post the questions asked, the candidate-submitted videos, and some other thoughts on the GOP version of the user-generated political discussion. Feel free to post your thoughts in the comments section during and after the debate. -- Ed O'Keefe.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | November 28, 2007 07:53 PM ET | Comments (0)

Preview: CNN/YouTube GOP Debate Questions, Part III

Channel '08 has brought you coverage of questions that might appear on tonight's Republican CNN/Youtube debate. Today we bring you questions that could prove to be too hot -- or too strange -- to handle. The questions are confrontational, poignant and might make the evening more interesting, IF they make.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | November 28, 2007 03:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Preview: CNN/YouTube Debate Questions, Part II

We are one day closer to the Republican YouTube/CNN Debate, and that means another look at the questions you might see tomorrow night. Today we look at health care and gay rights. Our first question comes from Dr. Hormoze Goudarzi, a practicing general surgeon from Wilmington, N.C. who wants to.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | November 27, 2007 12:25 PM ET | Comments (0)

Dodd Submits YouTube Question for GOP Candidates

This week Channel '08 is reviewing some of the almost 5,000 questions submitted for Wednesday night's CNN/YouTube debate with Republican presidential candidates. In a bit of a twist, one of the questions for the GOP hopefuls comes from Democratic presidential candidate Chris Dodd. "Many Americans are concerned that the administration.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | November 27, 2007 08:14 AM ET | Comments (1)

Preview: CNN/YouTube Debate Questions, Part I

The second CNN/YouTube Debate is Wednesday night, so we'll spend some of our blog space this week reviewing voter-submitted questions. After sitting through hours of low resolution video, from Christopher Walken impressions of Rudy Giuliani to another question from the notorious Billiam the Snowman, we bring to you the some.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | November 26, 2007 01:12 PM ET | Comments (0)

Using YouTube to Make a Point

We've noticed a great example of how some campaigns use YouTube to edit pre-existing video journalism to make a point. Following last week's Democratic debate in Las Vegas, CBS News White House correspondent Jim Axelrod fact-checked statements that Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and Barack Obama made during the two-hour tussle.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | November 19, 2007 05:48 PM ET | Comments (0)

VoterVid: Republican Debate Questions

Here are some recent voter questions for the upcoming CNN/YouTube Republican debate. David from St. Petersburg, Fla. asks the candidates if they support re-instituting the military draft. This California mom wants to hear from the candidates on federally sponsored childcare or preschool for working families. Jackie Broyles and Dunlap.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | November 15, 2007 02:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Rudy News Update

The Rudy Giuliani team updates supporters in its latest installment of "Running With Rudy." Campaign aide Dan Meyers hosts the most recent episode from the South Street Seaport area of Lower Manhattan. The video ticks off the campaign's big highlights: the campaign's first TV ad, the former mayor's growing support.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | November 14, 2007 10:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

YouTube Impacting (Local) New Hampshire Politics

The "YouTubization" of American politics has gone local, and it's doing so in New Hampshire of all places. As if the residents of Manchester, N.H. didn't have enough politicking to worry about already, a city mayoral candidate has attacked his opponent with an online video. New Hampshire's primary day is.

By Ed O&aposKeefe | August 23, 2007 03:20 PM ET | Comments (16)

Obama Crush . With Eyeliner

We thought the song of the summer was Rihanna's inspired and inescapable "Um-brel-la, ella, ella, eh, eh, eh . " Boy were we wrong. It seems that "I Got a Crush . on Obama," a music video posted on YouTube yesterday by "barelypolitical," a.k.a. Obama Girl, should easily take the cake.

By Editors | June 14, 2007 09:44 AM ET | Comments (0)

Participating in the YouTube Debate

The debate among Democratic presidential candidates scheduled for July 23 will feature video questions from voters. Submit videos here. From YouTube, here are the some guidelines: * Be original -- choose your own approach. * Be personal -- your perspective is important. * Choose your focus -- you can.

By Editors | June 14, 2007 09:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

GOP Gains Ground on YouTube

Republican presidential candidates are gaining ground on Democrats in the YouTube arena. Neilsen//NetRatings announced earlier today that almost one-third of the total time users spent at YouTube watching campaign-related videos in April centered on Republican presidential candidates. That's up 21 percentage points from March, according to Nielsen, and it shows.

By | June 13, 2007 10:12 AM ET | Comments (0)

YouTube Joins the Debate

YouTube has been tight-lipped about how it was going to participate in its join debate with CNN in late July. Now details are coming out: They're going to take questions we, the people, have put up on YouTube and present them to the candidates. It's Prezconference. Bravo. Reports Ad.

Culture of Corruption: Czars of the Obama Underworld

(Click here for full size)

Meet Urban Czar Adolfo Carrión, Jr. He’s one of my Culture of Corruption Dirty Dozen collectibles. In conjunction with the book launch tomorrow, my friend Tennyson Hayes (whose terrific graphic art has been featured here since last spring) and I cooked up 12 trading cards featuring some of Team Obama’s most interest-conflicted, ethics-compromised, crony officials chronicled in the book. You’ll read more here about The Dirty Dozen throughout the week. But as you’ll see after you dive into Culture of Corruption (officially out tomorrow, but readers tell me they’re seeing it in stores this weekend), those 12 are just the tip of the iceberg. I’ve got enough profiles of Team Obama corruption and cronyism to fill an entire 54-card set.

Below is my special piece for the New York Post today on Carrión and my other nominees for Obama’s worst czars. Auto czar Steve Rattner, entangled in an SEC investigation of his former company, Quandrangle, topped that list until he stepped down earlier this month amid the darkening ethics cloud. And I’ve already reported extensively on transparency-undermining energy czar Carol Browner. So I chose three of the shady czars who haven’t been on the public’s radar screen — and should be: health care czar Nancy DeParle, Carrión, and technology czar Vivek Kundra.

Looking for an up-to-date list of czars?

Terresa Monroe-Hamilton is keeping track here.

Taxpayers for Common Sense has a chart here.

And there’s a czar chart on Wikipedia here.

What can we do to fight the phantom menaces controlling huge swaths of the economy and government? The Rattner resignation shows that sunlight can indeed be the best disinfectant. Stay informed. Keep pressuring Congress for accountability and disclosure. And know your enemy. I wrote Culture of Corruption to give readers a comprehensive road map of the Team Obama members undermining transparency, cashing in on the Washington revolving door, and short-circuiting representative government. Use it!

By Michelle Malkin
Special to the NYPost

If you can’t beat ’em, czar ’em. This is the standard operating procedure in Obama World. The time-honored Senate confirmation process proved to be a dangerous landmine for one too many of the president’s picks. But the White House found the perfect cure for Obama Nominee Withdrawal Syndrome: Avoid future debacles by circumventing the nomination process altogether.

So far, czars have been installed in at least 35 posts through presidential executive orders that require no Senate approval. No Senate review, no questions. No questions, no problems.

The Obama administration has created a two-tiered government—fronted by Cabinet secretaries able to withstand public scrutiny (some of them, just barely) and then managed behind the scenes by shadow secretaries with broad powers beyond congressional reach. Bureaucratic chaos serves as a useful smokescreen to obscure the true source of policy decision-making. Energy czar Carol Browner epitomized the secretive dealings of these offices when she advised auto industry executives this month “to put nothing in writing, ever” about their meetings with her.

While past administrations dating back to the Nixon era have designated such “super aides,” none has extended the concept as widely as Obama has. Currently, 35 out of 44 current “czar” slots are presidential appointments. They are among the highest-paid staffers at the White House. Most of Obama’s key czars have Cabinet counterparts already in place.

It’s not just the unprecedented quantity of White House-appointed bureaucratic commissars that galls. It’s their shockingly compromised ethics and integrity. Here are three of Obama’s most interest-conflicted, superfluous, and criminal czars and czarinas:

Nancy DeParle, health czar

Former Kansas Democrat Governor Kathleen Sebelius won Senate confirmation as Health and Human Services Secretary. But the real power lies with with newly-created health czar Nancy-Ann Min DeParle. Her official title: Director of the White House Office for Health Reform.

DeParle ran the behemoth Medicare and Medicaid programs under Bill Clinton. She parlayed her government experience into a lucrative private-sector stint. Over the past three years, she made nearly $6 million from her work in the health care industry. Despite President Obama’s loud denunciations of the revolving-door lobbyist culture in Washington, DeParle’s industry ties didn’t bother the White House.

She served as an investment advisor at JP Morgan Partners, LLC sat on the board of directors at Boston Scientific Corporation and held directorships at Accredo Health Group Inc., Triad Hospitals (now part of Community Health Systems), and DaVita Corporation. In all, she sat on at least ten boards while advising JP Morgan and working as managing director at a private equity firm, CCMP Capital.

From 2002 to 2008, while holding all those titles, DeParle also served as a member of the government-chartered Medicare Payment Advisory Committee (MedPAC), an influential panel that advises Congress on what Medicare should cover and at what price. Last month, former MedPAC member DeParle cozily announced that Obama was “open to making recommendations of [MedPAC] mandatory unless opposed by a joint resolution of Congress.”

Obama famously signed an early executive order requiring appointees to pledge not to participate “in any particular matter involving specific parties that is directly and substantially related to any former employer or former clients” for a period of two years from the date of his or her appointment. But it’s hard to imagine any health care reform-related issue that won’t involve one of DeParle’s former employers, clients, and corporate boards in the health care industry. She earned at least $376,000 from Cerner Corporation, for example, which specializes in health information technology. As health czar, DeParle has unmeasured clout in directing $19 billion of federal stimulus money earmarked for, yes, health information technology.

Last week, a Washington, D.C. citizen watchdog filed suit to force the White House to disclose which health care lobbyists and executives it had met with this year to discuss insurance takeover legislation. White House counsel Greg Craig refused to disclose which administration officials attended the meetings. But at least two of the industry visitors have ties to DeParle. William C. Weldon is chairman of Johnson & Johnson, which paid DeParle $7,500 for a recent speech. Wayne Smith is chief executive of Community Health Systems, which merged with Triad Hospitals – where DeParle served on the board of directors. DeParle’s options were converted to cash payments worth $1.05 million.

Despite Obama’s lip service to transparency, the public is in the dark about which assets DeParle has divested and how many times, if any, DeParle has recused herself from policy matters and meetings. Czardom has its privileges.

Adolfo Carrion, urban czar

Former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión Jr., the nation’s “urban czar” is a man in Obama’s own image: Son of immigrants. Charismatic. Ambitious. And embroiled in pay-for-play scandals that would make the Chicago political machine proud.

Carrion’s official title: Head of the White House Office of Urban Affairs. But doesn’t the president already have a Secretary of Housing and Urban Development? Yes. That spot went to Harvard grad and former Clinton HUD official Shaun Donovan, who moved up from his role as New York City commissioner of housing and development. Grievance groups, however, were miffed that the HUD job didn’t go to a racial or ethnic minority. (Donovan is white HUD is a notorious bastion of cronyism of color.) Enter Carrión.

As a reward for turning out the Latino vote, Obama gave Carrion the unprecedented power to shower federal dollars on urban areas and coordinate urban policy across several bureaucracies. In practice, the job empowers Carrión to carry out the kind of pay-to-play schemes that sullied his tenure in the Bronx on a nationwide scale. It’s Obama-approved old school patronage dressed up as the new urban renewal.

As Bronx Borough president, Carrion took tens of thousands of dollars in donations from real estate firms just before and after the developers snagged lucrative deals or crucial zoning changes for their projects. In turn, he made millions in public tax dollars available to his cronies. And Carrion rubber-stamped three housing projects for an architect whom he hired to renovate his City Island Victorian home. It is illegal for an elected official to accept such a gift, but Carrión failed to pay the architect until after he was tapped for his urban czar post. The White House shrugged.

Similar arrangements involving home renovation freebies from corporate suitors resulted in multiple criminal convictions (later set aside over prosecutorial misconduct) for entrenched Alaska GOP Senator Ted Stevens and forced the resignation of Republican former Connecticut Governor John Rowland. But there was barely a peep from the Beltway’s clean government types about Carrión’s smelly deals. He is also a lavish spender – squandering nearly $20,000 on a teleprompter, junkets to San Juan, and $50,000 on a going away party for himself. Viva la Hope and Change.

Vivek Kundra, technology czar

Who thinks putting a shoplifter in charge of the entire federal government’s information security infrastructure is a good idea? The Obama White House has complete confidence in Vivek Kundra, the 34-year-old “whiz kid” named Federal Chief Information Officer (CIO) in March 2009 despite his criminal history. As first reported by Ed Morrissey at, Kundra was convicted of misdemeanor theft. He stole a handful of men’s shirts from a J.C. Penney’s department store and ran from police in a failed attempt to evade arrest. Kundra was a 21-year-old adult at the time of his attempted thievery and attempted escape from the police. From the White House’s pooh-poohing of the incident as a “youthful indiscretion,” you might have thought the digits in his age were reversed.

Whitewashing the petty thief’s crimes, Obama instead effused about his technology czar’s “depth of experience in the technology arena.” As the nation’s CIO, Kundra “will play a key role in making sure our government is running in the most secure, open, and efficient way possible.” But the aura of security and openness was further thrown into doubt in March when an FBI search warrant was issued at Kundra’s office. He was serving as the Chief Technology Officer of the District of Columbia before moving over to the White House.

During the transition, two of Kundra’s underlings, Yusuf Acar and Sushil Bansal, were charged in an alleged scheme of bribery, kickbacks, ghost employees, and forged timesheets. Kundra was put on leave for five days and then reinstated after the feds informed him that he was neither a subject nor a target of the investigation. Team Obama emphasized that Kundra had no idea what was going on in his workplace, which employed about 300 workers.

But if his claimed ignorance is supposed to exonerate Kundra, what does it suggest about his ability to police government technology operations across the entire federal government? And what responsibility and oversight exactly did Kundra have over the indicted employees in his office?

Veteran D.C. newspaper columnist Jonetta Rose Barras reported that Acar “was consistently promoted by his boss, Vivek Kundra, receiving with each move increasing authority over sensitive information and operating with little supervision.” The raid was no surprise to city and federal watchdogs, who had identified a systemic lack of controls in the office. Now, Kundra promises to create “a culture of accountability and innovation” in order to prevent “theft and fraud.” The anti-crime prevention strategy of Obama’s technology security chief: Takes one to know one.

The czar explosion illustrates the first law of political physics: As government grows, corruption flows. Unchecked, these super-bureaucrats have the power to wreak major havoc on the economy and our lives. Who will stop them?

Energy czar Carol Browner epitomized the secretive dealings of these offices when she advised auto industry executives this month “to put nothing in writing, ever” about their meetings with her.

That statement is VERY scary. Tells me all I need to know about Browner. Since I am sure it applies to the other czars, as well, this is a true shadow government operating in stealth. (At least until MM shines the light on the cockroaches!) Great job, Michelle.

The Death Cult marches onwards:

Top Obama Health Advisor Supports Ethanasia: Wants Health Care For Non-Disabled "Participating" Citizens

This comes as no surprise.
There's more proof today that the Democrat's health bill promotes euthenasia.

Democratic Leaders, including House Speaker Pelosi and Cap-&-Tax author Henry Waxman, are excited about their socialized health care plan that rewards the "participating" members of society.

The top health advisors believe medical care should be reserved for non-disabled "participating" members of society.
The New York Post reported:

THE health bills coming out of Congress would put the de cisions about your care in the hands of presidential appointees. They'd decide what plans cover, how much leeway your doctor will have and what seniors get under Medicare.

Yet at least two of President Obama's top health advisers should never be trusted with that power.

Start with Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, the brother of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. He has already been appointed to two key positions: health-policy adviser at the Office of Management and Budget and a member of
Federal Council on Comparative Effectiveness Research.

Emanuel bluntly admits that the cuts will not be pain-free. "Vague promises of savings from cutting waste, enhancing prevention and wellness, installing electronic medical records and improving quality are merely 'lipstick' cost control, more for show and public relations than for true change," he wrote last year (Health Affairs Feb. 27, 2008).

Savings, he writes, will require changing how doctors think about their patients: Doctors take the Hippocratic Oath too seriously, "as an imperative to do everything for the patient regardless of the cost or effects on others" (Journal of the American Medical Association, June 18, 2008).

Yes, that's what patients want their doctors to do. But Emanuel wants doctors to look beyond the needs of their patients and consider social justice, such as whether the money could be better spent on somebody else.

Many doctors are horrified by this notion they'll tell you that a doctor's job is to achieve social justice one patient at a time.

Emanuel, however, believes that "communitarianism" should guide decisions on who gets care. He says medical care should be reserved for the non-disabled, not given to those "who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens . . . An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia" (Hastings Center Report, Nov.-Dec. ྜ).