Commerce Secretary ruins California drivers’, Obama’s week: “John Bryson is under investigation for allegedly causing two traffic collisions over the weekend, one of which is being treated as a felony hit and run, and the Cabinet member was found unconscious behind the wheel of his car and treated at a hospital for injuries, authorities said.” No indication of alcohol or drug use, so far. Bryson was taken to the hospital for minor injuries and released, as were one carload of drivers he hit. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured and all parties are cooperating with police.
Campaign faux controversies “doing fine”: This weekend’s political news was dominated by “coverage” (read: faux outrage and breathless speculation) about an inartfully worded comment President Obama made Friday when he noted that businesses had been consistently adding jobs while the public sector was losing them. Obama’s words -- “the private sector is doing fine” -- soon showed up in a Romney campaign video and became cable news fodder
Mitt Romney’s response seemed more damaging, as he suggested we shouldn’t hire more cops, firefighters or teachers:
Romney said of Obama, “he wants another stimulus, he wants to hire more government workers. He says we need more fireman, more policeman, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.”
Tell that to the Texas town that had to lay off its entire police force last year or to Detroit and Philadelphia, which have to do “rolling brownouts” of fire coverage because they can’t afford to fully staff their fire departments.
The media is not “doing fine”: Most pundits and journos gave far more attention to Obama’s “doing fine” comment, which he later walked back, than Romney’s firemen one.
For instance, Politico’s Mike Allen, fresh off of accusing the New York Times and Washington Post of being too mean to Romney, devoted six paragraphs of his influential Playbook tip sheet Saturday to the “doing fine” row, leaving only one line to mention an Obama campaign video on the firemen comments.
How Obamacare will survive, even if SCOTUS kills it: “The nation’s largest health insurer will keep in place several key consumer provisions mandated by the 2010 healthcare law regardless of whether the statute survives Supreme Court review. Officials at UnitedHealthcare will announce Monday that whatever the outcome of the court decision — expected this month — the company will continue to provide customers preventive health-care services without co-payments or other out-of-pocket charges, allow parents to keep adult children up to age 26 on their plans, and maintain the more streamlined appeals process required by the law,” the Washington Post reports.
Some hospitals are doing the same, the Times reports. “Win, lose or draw in court, [Brooklyn’s Maimonides Medical Center] administrators said, the policies driving the federal healthcare law are already embedded in big cuts and new payment formulas that hospitals ignore at their peril. And even if the law is repealed after the next election, the economic pressure to care differently for more people at lower cost is irreversible. ‘If the Supreme Court overturns this law — I pray it won’t — the world will go on changing,’ Ms. [Maimonidies CEO Pamela] Brier said. ‘In some ways, we’ve changed ahead of it.’ But she added, ‘Trying to manage all these different aspects of the health care system as they are changing does make you crazy.’”
Mitt Romney, king of the super PAC: “No candidate in the 2012 race adapted more swiftly and effectively to the rise of the super PACs in the wake of U.S. Supreme Court and other rulings that effectively removed any barriers to individual and corporate donations to such so-called independent groups,” the Boston Globe reports on the presumed GOP nominee. “Romney’s appearances at the fund-raisers [for the PACs] offer a compelling case study of just how fuzzy the line between a candidate and the purportedly independent committees backing him has become. Romney says he has carefully adhered to the new rules, which allow candidates to be a ‘featured guest’ at fund-raisers.”
The PACs are often just a “friends and family plan,” the Post’s Dan Eggen notes, arising when a family member or acquaintance of a candidate decides to make a big donation.
Assad’s Mad Men: Before Syrian President Bashar al-Assad became a pariah in the West, he was the subject of numerous flattering profiles and interviews, thanks in large part to the help of “high-priced public relations advisers who had worked in the Clinton, Bush and Thatcher administrations,” the New York Times reports. With a goal of portraying themselves as “accessible, progressive and even glamorous,” the English speaking Assad and his British-born wife paid the Washington public relations firm Brown Lloyd James $5,000 a month to act as a liaison to the media. “In March 2011, just as Mr. Assad and his security forces initiated a brutal crackdown on political opponents that has led to the death of an estimated 10,000 Syrians, Vogue magazine ran a flattering profile of the first lady, describing her as walking ‘a determined swath cut through space with a flash of red soles,’ a reference to her Christian Louboutin heels.”
Vogue later pulled the story after “it became clear that its priorities and values were completely at odds with those of Vogue,” editor Anna Wintour said.
British PM unveils one child left behind plan: When British Prime Minister David Cameron came home after lunch with family and friends, he realized he had left his 8-year-old daughter in the pub, the Guardian reports.