By Tracy Bloom
Addressing the Future: President Obama defended his economic record while pledging to make a stronger second-term commitment to steer the economy in the right direction during a major address at Knox College in Illinois on Wednesday. He also pledged to break the gridlock in Congress, accusing the GOP of getting in the way and playing politics. “We’ll need Republicans in Congress to set aside short-term politics and work with me to find common ground,” he said. Although the speech did not include any previously unheard policy proposals, the president is expected to expound upon new ideas in future remarks. (Read more)
Not Pulling Out: New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner is not backing down in the face of another sexting scandal, defiantly brushing away calls that he exit the race. Weiner has admitted that he continued to send lewd messages even after their disclosure forced him to resign his congressional seat two years ago. “I have posited this whole campaign on a bet, and that is that, at the end of the day, citizens are more interested in the challenge they face in their lives than in anything that I have done, embarrassing, in my past,” he said Wednesday. Of course, we’ve heard this all before. Weiner had insisted during the scandal two years ago that it wouldn’t force him out of the House, before he eventually bowed to pressure and resigned. (Read more)
Getting Stoned: Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa, who recently stated that for every DREAMer who is a high school valedictorian there are “another 100 hauling ... marijuana across the desert,” is standing by his controversial comment, even after GOP leaders condemned him. He told Breitbart News on Wednesday: “You know when people attack you—in this business, when you’re in this business, you know that when people attack you, and they call you names, they’re diverting from the topic matter. ... When people start calling you names, that’s what confirms you’ve won the debate.” As Taegan Goddard reports, the GOP now has a “Steve King problem.” (Read more)
Poll Goes South: Congratulations to Congress! Our nation’s legislative body has never been viewed with more disdain. According to the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, 83 percent of Americans disapprove of the job Congress is doing, with nearly six in 10 voters saying they would cast their ballot to replace every member of the House and Senate (and they’ll have the opportunity to make good on their threat next year!) Respondents’ top three reasons for the congressional hate (in the order cited): the partisanship that has prevented Congress from getting anything done; the middle class being ignored; and the policies and leadership of President Obama. (Read more)
Pest Virginia: It’s not just anti-sodomy laws that Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli evidently wants to bring back; in a 2008 interview, he also expressed support for keeping measures that would criminalize adultery “on the books.” Cuccinelli, a leading candidate for the Virginia Republican gubernatorial nomination, told Richmond’s Style Weekly magazine five years ago that “it wouldn’t hurt to enforce them more.” The publication goes on to paraphrase a comparison Cuccinelli draws between adultery and perjury, saying “the occasional prosecution or two would get people thinking twice.” Although the comment is especially eyebrow raising given that the attorney general has made it part of his campaign to resurrect state laws that would criminalize oral and anal sex (including instances between consenting adults in the privacy of their own homes), Cuccinelli’s spokeswoman has dismissed the remark by assuring us that adultery isn’t a major issue in the gubernatorial race. Good to know he’s not going all “scarlet letter” on the state. (Read more)
Video of the Day: Tracy Martin testified before the newly created Congressional Caucus on Black Men and Boys on Wednesday, vowing to “not give up the fight” for his son, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was shot to death last year by George Zimmerman. Zimmerman was recently acquitted on second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in the Florida teen’s killing. The elder Martin discussed the efforts of the Trayvon Martin Foundation, which he says will fight against “senseless” gun violence and crime. He also praised President Obama for remarks he made in the wake of Zimmerman’s acquittal. “It’s moments and comments such as the president’s that—it sparks the conversation in every household over the dinner table, and that conversation is, ‘What can we do as parents? What can we do as men? What can we do as fathers? What can we do as mentors to stop this from happening to your child?” Martin said.