Obama Defends Bain Attacks, Reverse Robin Hood, Afghanistan Take-Aways (PM Note)

May 21, 2012 6:35pm

Recalling Joplin – In a few hours, President Obama will give a commencement address to high school students in Joplin, Missouri. Use the sliderule to see what the high school looked like one year ago after the tornado – http://abcn.ws/J8M77R

Things We Learned Today – 2008 was about hope and change and 2012, apparently, is about Mitt Romney’s business career.

President Obama defended his campaign for focusing on Mitt Romney’s business career as a campaign issue today, arguing it’s not just appropriate, but what the entire 2012 election is about.

“If your main argument is…’I knew how to make a lot of money for investors’ then you’re missing what THIS job is about,” said Obama, referring to the presidency during a press conference this afternoon to wrap up a NATO summit in Chicago.

“This is not a distraction,” he said of the TV commercials and web videos featuring employees who blame Romney’s Bain, accurately or not, with taking their jobs and profiting from the fallout.

“This is what this campaign is going to be about,” declared Obama.

More from Tapper and Bruce on the scene in chicago – http://abcn.ws/J9bkPu

Here’s what @BarackObama tweeted today – “Mitt Romney takes from the poor … and gives to the rich. He’s just the opposite of Robin Hood.” #RomneyEconomics – That item linked to one of those web videos featuring a worker from Ampad. – http://abcn.ws/JiyQuy

Bain Blowback – Democrats have been rushing all day to tamp down on after-effects of Newark Mayor and Obama surrogate Cory Booker saying he found the diversion of the campaign onto Romney’s business career and ancillary issues as nauseating. – http://abcn.ws/KGlGeM

Take-aways on Afghanistan -

1. The war in Afghanistan WILL end Dec. 31, 2014

2. The fighting in Afghanistan will last until Dec. 31, 2014 – http://abcn.ws/KGMqvJ

3. Afghanistan Will Not Stand Alone – http://abcn.ws/JjruKU

Questions from Troops – Tapper Asks Obama for Some Clarity on Behalf of some Troops – Is the planned handoff premature? Are you getting honest opinions from the Pentagon? etc.

Obama – “We are now committing to a transition process that takes place next year, but the full transition to Afghan responsibility is almost two years away. And the Afghan security forces themselves will not ever be prepared if they don’t start taking that responsibility. And frankly, the large footprint that we have in Afghanistan, over time, can be counterproductive. We’ve been there 10 years, and I think, you know, no matter how much good we’re doing and how outstanding our troops and our civilians and diplomats are doing on the ground, 10 years, in a country that’s very different, that’s a strain, not only on our folks but also on that country, which at a point is going to be very sensitive about its own sovereignty. So I think that the timetable that we’ve established is a sound one, it is a responsible one. Are there risks involved in it? Absolutely. Can I anticipate that over the next two years there are going to be some bad moments along with some good ones? Absolutely.” – http://abcn.ws/KEySgb

Power Players – Medal of Honor – Tapper also  profiled Leslie Sabo, recently awarded a posthumous medal of honor for service in Cambodia during Vietnam. http://abcn.ws/KOAODb

Money Matters 2012 – Democrats are heading into the general election against Mitt Romney with a sizable cash advantage over their GOP rivals. From Chris Good: Democratic committees have a combined war chest of $195 million, including cash held at the end of April by Obama for America, the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action. Republicans, meanwhile, held $105 million at the end of April. That includes cash-on-hand totals for Romney for president, the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, and the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future. In the aggregate, Democrats are buoyed by Obama’s massive cash-on-hand edge over Romney. At the end of April, the president’s campaign reported having $115 million in the bank; Romney’s reported having $9.2 million. – http://abcn.ws/KDCwqB

But Republicans are Clearly Winning the Super PAC Sub Gamehttp://abcn.ws/KDKEY6

GOP Senators Want Answers on Million Dollar Judicial Conferencehttp://abcn.ws/K5kVJt

Perry v. Palin in Texashttp://abcn.ws/JL3Lm1

Speaking of PerryHe Makes Our List of Cheerleaders in Politics – Newspeg: Jeanette Rubiohttp://abcn.ws/LmF4bM

Embattled Nuclear Regulator Commission Chief Steps Down Earlyhttp://abcn.ws/JLDu96

Zeke Emanuel Says to Change Medicare and Age Limits – Make the graduated for the wealthy -  http://abcn.ws/K8ZU0B

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