Barack Obama

Politics & Government
8:18 am
Mon January 21, 2013

Michiganders will take part in today's presidential inaugural parade

President Barack Obama
official portrait

There will be a big parade in Washington D.C. after today’s inauguration ceremony.

Many people from Michigan will be in the parade.

Jocelyn Benson is the president of the Military Spouses of Michigan. She says it’s a great honor for a group whose sacrifices are often overlooked.

Benson says she’s looking forward to the parade, even though the temperatures will be on the chilly side.

Politics & Government
10:27 am
Fri January 18, 2013

Stateside: Celebrating a remarkably normal presidential inauguration

Barack Obama being sworn in as president of the United States on January 20, 2009.
Master Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo U.S. Air Force

President Obama will be sworn in publicly for his second term on Monday.

Michigan musician and storyteller Allison Downey remembers the President's first inauguration:
 


Politics & Government
3:16 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Former Gov. Jennifer Granholm could have spot in second-term Obama Cabinet

NPR

As President Barack Obama shuffles his Cabinet in preparation for his second term, rumors put former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm in the mix for a possible nomination.

Politico reports that Granholm is on “a growing list of people the administration is looking to find spots for,” and mentions the former state attorney general as a possible replacement for U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

Others suggest Granholm might be in the running to replace Steven Chu as Energy Secretary.

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Politics & Government
5:30 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Michigan’s 16 Electoral College votes officially cast for Obama/Biden

Michigan Electoral College delegates Marion Vanderveen and Toni Sessoms signing documents to cast the state's 16 electoral votes for President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
Jake Neher MPRN

Michigan’s 16 delegates to the Electoral College have officially cast their votes for President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

The President netted 54 percent of the popular vote in Michigan during last month’s general election.       

Monday’s gathering of Electoral College delegates in the state Senate chambers also included a resolution condemning state lawmakers’ actions in recent weeks.

State Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer presided over the meeting.

“To cast all 16 votes for President Barack Obama, we know that Michigan is a state that believes in opportunity and embraces a vision for our state and for our nation that looks forward. Not one that focuses on an extreme ideological agenda,” Whitmer said.

The resolution criticized the Republican-controlled state legislature for swiftly passing a number of controversial bills in the final weeks of its session.

Politics & Government
6:42 am
Tue December 11, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Right to work legislation expected to be sent to Snyder

"The state House is expected to send legislation to Governor Rick Snyder today that would make Michigan the 24th so-called “right-to-work” state. Democrats are preparing a last-ditch effort to try and stall progress on the bills. Meanwhile, police officers from across the state are in Lansing preparing for protests as lawmakers get ready to vote on so-called “right-to-work” bills," the Michigan Public Radio Network reports.

President Obama talks fiscal cliff and right to work in Michigan

"President Obama talked about the controversy in Lansing, Michigan as well as the one in Washington, D.C. during his visit to a Redford Township engine plant yesterday. He told a crowd of hundreds of union workers that the consequences of going over the fiscal cliff are huge, both for the economy and the middle class. President Obama says he will insist that Americans making more than $250-thousand a year pay more taxes. He also rebuked state Republicans for pushing so-called "right to work" bills that would let people opt out of paying union dues.  He says such laws bring down middle class wages," Tracy Samilton reports.

State Treasurer initiates review of Detroit's finances

"Detroit’s march toward a state-appointed emergency financial manager appeared to speed up yesterday. The city’s financial advisory board voted to support the state treasurer’s move to start the process. It can last up to 30 days. Officials told the advisory board Detroit is burning through cash at an alarming speed. They project that without help, the city will end the fiscal year more than 100-million dollars in the hole," Sarah Cwiek reports.

Politics & Government
4:26 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

Obama in Redford: Right-to-work laws "don't have anything to do with economics"

President Obama speaking at Detroit Diesel's engine plant in Redford Township, Michigan.
screen grab WDIV

In a speech Monday in front of employees from Redford Township’s Detroit Diesel engine factory, President Barack Obama weighed in on Michigan’s impending right-to-work legislation.

About halfway through the President’s address, intended to promote his plan for averting the fiscal cliff, Obama took up the issue of right-to-work, the Detroit Free Press Reports:

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Politics & Government
6:55 am
Mon December 10, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

State House and Senate likely to vote on "right to work" Tuesday

"It’s likely that the state House and Senate will take up their final votes on so-called “right to work” legislation tomorrow. But, first, protests and legal actions are expected today and tomorrow. Republican majorities in the Michigan House and Senate have already voted once to adopt a “right-to-work” law. Democrats and labor unions plan more protests over the bills that were placed on a very fast track last week. If enacted, Michigan would become the 24th state to adopt a “right-to-work” law," Rick Pluta reports.

President Obama to speak about "fiscal cliff" at suburban Detroit auto plant today

"President Obama will visit a Redford Township factory today - as part of his effort to galvanize support for his plan to avert the fiscal cliff.  The President's visit also comes at a high stakes time for the United Auto Workers, since state Republicans could vote to make Michigan a so-called "right to work" state this week," Tracy Samilton reports.

Detroit could get an emergency financial manager

"A committee overseeing Detroit's finances could recommend an emergency financial manager for the state's largest city. The committee meets today to begin a 30-to-40 day review. Detroit mayor, Dave Bing will ask City Council tomorrow to approve audits, including an audit of disability fraud. And he wants the council to approve another 400 to 500 job cuts, along with furloughs, as the city faces the prospect of running out of cash," Tracy Samilton reports.

Politics & Government
12:37 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

President Obama coming to Detroit on Monday

Obama in Ann Arbor last January.
YouTube

President Obama will be making his first trip to Michigan in nearly eight months.

The last time he was in Michigan, Mr. Obama stopped at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn for a campaign event.

This time around he's expected to deliver a major speech on the economy and middle class families in Detroit, according to David Shepardson of the Detroit News.

The address will come just three weeks before tax cuts are set to expire on nearly all Americans and $1.2 trillion in mandatory domestic and defense spending cuts over 10 years are to take effect — unless Congress acts.

"I believe America only thrives when we have a strong and growing middle class. And I believe we're at our best when everybody who works hard has a chance to get ahead. That's what I believe," Obama said. "I believe both parties can — and will — work together in the coming weeks to get that done. We know how that gets done. We're going to have to raise a little more revenue. We've got to cut out spending we don't need."

Shepardson points out that without a tax deal, taxes will increase for a majority of Americans, and unemployment benefits will expire. 

About 93,000 people in Michigan will lose unemployment benefits by the end of this month unless Congress acts.

No details of the visit have been publicly announced yet. Those details are expected in the coming days from the White House.

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Politics & Government
5:27 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

It's official, Pres. Obama takes Michigan, Gary Johnson wins 'write-in' battle

The First Family at their victory rally in Chicago on Nov. 6, 2012.
YouTube

The election is over, so now we're just going through the motions.

The Michigan Board of State Canvassers certified the election results today.

MPRN's Rick Pluta reports that Michigan's electors will formally cast  their votes at the state Capitol on December 17th.

President Obama bested Republican hopeful Gov. Mitt Romney by 449,313 votes.

As for the write-ins, Gary Johnson ruled the day.

Official vote totals:

  • Barack Obama (Dem) 2,564,569
  • Mitt Romney (Rep) 2,115,256
  • Jill Stein (Green) 21,897
  • Virgil Goode Jr. (US Taxpayers) 16,119
  • Ross Anderson (Natural Law) 5,147
  • Gary Johnson (write-in) 7,774
  • Stewart Alexander (write-in) 89
  • Jerry White (write-in) 68
  • Tom Hoefling (write-in) 42

I'm sure there must have been other write-ins. I wonder if there is a threshold that must be met for the write-ins to be reported.

Let me know if YOU know!

Update... like... ten minutes later....

Well, guess who knows? Rick Pluta, of course!

Pluta points out that state election officials didn't want to waste time reporting on write-in candidates who were there on a lark. Like when someone writes in their brother-in-law, for instance.

So there's this rule:

An individual who wishes to seek nomination or election to a federal, state, county, city, township, village or school office with write-in votes is required to file a “Declaration of Intent” with the appropriate election official by 4:00 p.m. on the second Friday preceding the election.

So Tom from accounting would have to put in a little effort to see his official vote count.

Politics & Government
7:21 am
Tue November 6, 2012

Commentary: Election Day and history

The incumbent president was a Democrat, a controversial figure whose legitimacy was doubted by millions, right from the start. His Republican challenger was a Michigan native, but one who left the state after high school, and moved east.

He found fame and fortune, and was eventually elected governor of his adopted state, then won the right to take on the sitting president. His followers, including the Wall Street Journal and the Detroit News, were convinced his election was necessary to save the nation from government spending run amok.

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Election 2012
10:35 am
Fri November 2, 2012

Commentary: Something in America has changed

The election is now only four days away, and I’ve been thinking about what will happen afterward.

Earlier this week, I received a nasty phone call from a woman named Bonnie.

She believes President Obama is evil, and a traitor.

She thinks the media are covering up the truth behind the killing of the American ambassador to Libya.

She was also upset that we are covering up the “fact,” as she put it, that President Obama’s family were all Communists.

I told her, in not very polite terms, that was idiotic.

She began screaming and I hung up.

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Election 2012
4:52 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

Presidential campaign heats up in Michigan as poll shows race tightening

Obama adviser David Axelrod has promised to shave his mustache should the president lose Michigan.
wikimedia commons

Republicans are hoping to put Michigan's Electoral College votes back in play with $3.7 million worth of TV ad buys in the state as the campaign heads into its final week.

As the Detroit Free Press reports, the conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity announced an ad buy of $1.5 million Tuesday, while the Super PAC Restore Our Future has purchased $2.2 million of air time.

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It's Just Politics
7:00 pm
Fri October 12, 2012

Election 2012: Is Michigan a true battleground in the race for the White House?

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

With just 25 days to go before the Presidential election, and a week since the first Presidential debate, a few pollsters and at least one analyst are putting Michigan into swing-state territory even though, as we’ve noted before, President Obama’s generally been given the edge in most polls in the state.

This week, Michigan enjoyed a round of visits from top flight presidential candidate surrogates starting with Republican Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan on Monday. And, just today, we saw Anne Romney stumping for her husband, Mitt Romney, in the couple’s native-state.

So, the question remains, after five presidential election cycles with Michigan falling into the Democratic column, is Michigan an actual battleground state in 2012?

The right-leaning website Real Clear Politics says so. A Detroit News/WDIV poll shows the Obama lead shrinking since last week’s debate and a Gravis Marketing poll also puts the race for Michigan’s 16 electoral votes much closer than it has been. President Obama still leads, according to these surveys, but the momentum is moving toward Mitt Romney.

And, as we’ve said before, Michigan seems like it should be attainable for the GOP. It’s not like a Republican can’t get elected here statewide. Just ask Governor Rick Snyder, Attorney General Bill Schuette or Secretary of State Ruth Johnson.

But, aside from the Real Clear Politics call, no one else is really putting Michigan into that list of eight or nine states that are the focus of the fiercest competition (states like Ohio, Virginia, Colorado, New Hampshire, Nevada and Iowa). And, we’re certainly not seeing a big re-allocation of resources by the campaigns that would suggest things are changing in the mitten state.

One question that gets bandied about is: if Michigan isn’t a battleground state, then why are high profile campaign surrogates making regular stops here? Well, there are lots of reasons why candidates and their surrogates visit a state – fundraising, a quick visit to make sure a safe state stays that way. But President Obama hasn’t been here since April; Romney since August. In fact, this was the first time in decades that neither presidential candidate themselves visited Michigan during the entire month of September. In 2004, George W. Bush made John Kerry work for Michigan, which maybe meant he wasn’t able to spend as much time and money in places like Ohio and Florida – true swing states with lots of electoral votes.

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Election 2012
3:24 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Romney closes on Obama in new poll; Stabenow extends lead

The Romney campaign has made significant gains in a recent EPIC-MRA poll.
Gage Skidmore Flickr

A poll released yesterday by EPIC-MRA of Lansing shows the presidential race tightening in Michigan.

Aided by a strong debate performance, Mitt Romney has reduced President Barack Obama’s ten point lead to just three points—within the margin of error for the poll reports the Detroit Free Press.

From the Free Press:

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Politics & Government
4:26 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

Stateside: Impressions of the first Presidential Debate

Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama square off in their first debate.
Commission on Presidential Debates

The first Presidential debate of 2012 is in the history books.

Radio, Television and Newspapers are filled today with opinions, verdicts and spins.

Who came out on top?

Will the undecided voters be moved one way or another?

Did the 90-minute debate contain anything likely to strike a deep chord with voters here in Michigan?

Read more
Politics & Government
10:55 am
Wed October 3, 2012

Watching the debate tonight? Play along with 'Debate Bingo'

Keep the blood pressure down, play some Bingo tonight.
WNYC

Our friends at WNYC have come up with a way to keep score at home tonight as you watch the first presidential debate.

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It's Just Politics
7:34 pm
Fri September 21, 2012

Just what do politicians do when they're in trouble? Change the subject, of course

There's little doubt by now you've heard, because it sure seems like everybody’s heard, Mitt Romney’s now-famous – infamous – 47 percent comment. It set the political grapevine ablaze this week with discussion and speculation that this is the gaffe that’s sunk the Romney campaign with 46 days to go until Election Day. Much like John McCain’s “Michigan moment” in 2008 when he pulled his campaign out of the state and everyone just kind of declared, "game over."

But there are still 46 days to go and Romney and many of his fellow Republicans are saying: Whoa, not so fast...  It ain't over til it's over. “A lot of folks would just as soon have this election be done now… The fact is elections are held on one day, November sixth, and not before," State Attorney General Bill Schuette, Romney's Michigan campaign manager, said this week.  It's a variation on the classic, "the only poll that counts is the one on Election Day.”

Redirecting the Message

Political campaigns are really about three things: one is identifying your voters, another is making sure your voters get out on election day and the third - which is especially critical to getting out your voters as well as persuading the ones who are undecided - is “messaging.”  Because in politics, “messaging” is a verb. So, for the Romney campaign, the question is, how to pull off that pivot, how to change the subject. And the message of the moment is, "Hey, everybody makes mistakes."

“Well, I think Barak Obama has made a lot of mistakes, too. When he said the private sector is doing just fine. That’s nonsense. When a small businessperson is successful, he said that person didn’t build it. We know that’s not true," Schuette explained, trying to create an equivalency between the two candidates and the two campaigns. Those are things the president said that – taken out of context, certainly – but still were missteps that Republicans have now turned against him. Republicans have also reached back to 1998 when President Obama was still a state senator in Illinois to something he said, that he believes in wealth redistribution, ignoring that he also said he believes in free markets.

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Politics & Government
5:13 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

Romney 'Super PAC' to spend in Michigan again

Pro-Romney Restore Our Future Super PAC to spend in Michigan again?
screen grab

Update 5:13 p.m.

A pro-Mitt Romney group will start running ads attacking President Obama’s jobs record in Michigan beginning tomorrow.

Recent polls show the president leading his Republican challenger in Michigan. And the Romney campaign has focused its own TV ad spending elsewhere.

Charlie Spies is co-founder of the Restore Our Future "Super PAC." Super PACS can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money from corporations, unions and individuals.

Spies says polls suggest Romney is still competitive in Michigan:

“Right now it shows Michigan with a slight Obama lead, but certainly within the margin that it’s competitive. And we’re very optimistic about the upper Midwest…both Wisconsin and Michigan.”

Spies says recent campaign stops in by Vice President Joe Biden and his wife show the Obama campaign is still worried about losing Michigan.

10:48 a.m.

Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody spoke with Restore Our Future reps this morning.

They confirmed that they will start running a new ad in Michigan markets starting tomorrow.

It's a one million dollar ad buy.

They told Carmody they expect to do a similar ad buy in Michigan next week.

10:09 a.m.

Conservative 'Super PACs' supporting Mitt Romney's presidential run recently pulled their ads out of Michigan.

It was an indication the state wasn't polling well for the Republican candidate.

But Sarah Wheaton over at the NY Times blog "The Caucus" writes some Super PAC money might be coming back.

Despite losing traction in the polls after the nominating conventions, Wheaton says Romney has one clear advantage over President Obama - "outside groups with much more money to spend supporting his candidacy and tactically placing their bets in states where they believe he has a chance to win."

Right now, Michigan appears to be a long shot bet for these groups.

Restore Our Future’s $720,000 investment in Michigan is particularly remarkable. Mr. Romney’s campaign and his other allies seem to have all but given up on the state, even though the candidate grew up there and his father, George Romney, was once governor. The Romney campaign itself, which is running state-specific spots in those states it ostensibly considers to be the most in play, left Michigan off that list.

...But the ability of super PACs to raise and spend freely gives them flexibility to invest in some long shots. And it could also provoke the Obama campaign to spend some precious ad dollars on a state it considers relatively safe.

It remains to be seen how the polls will play out in Michigan after a video of Romney was released of the candidate making some potentially politically damaging comments while talking at a private fundraiser earlier this year. The Romney camp quickly put together a press conference to respond to the video.

Politics & Government
10:17 am
Fri September 14, 2012

Presidential campaigns invited to Great Lakes conference, one shows up

The five Great Lakes.
NOAA

Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign did not show up at a conference in Cleveland to discuss the Great Lakes.

Organizers of the Great Lakes Restoration Conference say both presidential campaigns were sent invitations at the same time.

Former E.P.A. director Carol Browner spoke on behalf of President Obama at the conference yesterday.

She touted the president’s investment of one billion dollars for cleaning up and restoring the lakes.

When asked if the president would support permanently separating Lake Michigan from the Mississippi River to keep Asian carp out, she said it’s being studied.

"That process is underway and I have the utmost confidence that the president will take the results of that process very, very seriously," said Browner.

A spokeswoman for the Romney campaign said they couldn’t fit the event into his schedule.

She criticized the Obama administration for not acting more quickly to stop Asian carp.

Politics & Government
8:31 am
Wed September 12, 2012

Vice President's wife to campaign in Michigan this Saturday

Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden
Official White House portrait

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) - President Barack Obama's re-election campaign says the wife of Vice President Joe Biden will speak at events in three Michigan cities on Saturday.

The campaign says Jill Biden will appear in Battle Creek, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo. It says details on her appearances will be announced later.

The stops come during a planned tour during which the vice president's wife will appear Friday in Minneapolis and Sunday in Pittsburgh.

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