We'll get to Obama's press conference in a minute. First:
FDA Okays Morning After Pill at 15 Without Prescription - http://abcn.ws/12j7Liy
Return of the Townhall Confrontation - Outside Washington, Gun Debate Rolls On - Jeff Zeleny reports that Kelly Ayotte was confronted by a Sandy Hook victim relative in New Hampshire. Jeff Flake admitted taking a hit in polls after his vote against background checks. http://abcn.ws/Zkn0XO
Powerful Video - Anti-Gun group weaves Obama, Bush and Clinton, post-school shooting speeches into one - http://abcn.ws/14PDjDv (Sarah Parnass)
Mitt Advises Grads to Marry in 20s and Not Miss Out on Living - While Washington was yukking it up and overindulging this weekend, Mitt Romney was giving the commencement address at small Southeast Virginia University, a school that teaches Mormon principles. It was a Mitt we didn't see on the campaign trail. He read passages from Mormon texts and encouraged graduates to get married young and have a "quiver full of children."
"The Bible is a pearl of wisdom, the distillation of lessons of life," Romney said, according to WP's Phil Rucker. "And so when it says 'marry,' listen!"
People who get married in their 30s, he said, are missing out on so much living.
Post report here on Mormonism - http://wapo.st/YbSbHu
And here on marriage - http://bit.ly/15Y1sI1
Tonight - Results in Massachusetts Senate Special Primary - Shush Walshe lays out the Republicans, the Democrats and how the marathon bombing has changed the debate - http://abcn.ws/16hGsMf
Back to the Obama Presser -
President Obama Held a Press Conference, Just Cuz - Really - there wasn't any reason, he said, other than that Ed Henry was ending his reign atop the White House Correspondent's Association. That and we're 100 days into Obama term #2. Okay. But it was his first time taking questions from the press corps on Boston and on the chemical weapons that were used in Syria. Everything from the Press Conference in one place - (Not committing to military action against Syria, defending the FBI on Boston, warning on lone wolf attacks, Obamacare and more) - http://abcn.ws/101qpKk (Shushannah Walshe, Z.Byron Wolf, Jordan Fabian)
Lame Duck Juice? - But the best moment came when ABC's Jonathan Karl asked the president if he was a lame duck. http://abcn.ws/14PsXDQ
Jon Karl: Mr. President, you are a hundred days into your second term. On the gun bill, you put, it seems, everything into it to try to get it passed. Obviously, it didn't. Congress has ignored your efforts to try to get them to undo these sequester cuts. There was even a bill that you threatened to veto that got 92 Democrats in the House voting yes. So my question to you is do you still have the juice to get the rest of your agenda through this Congress?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, if you put it that way, Jonathan - (laughter) - maybe I should just pack up and go home. (Laughter.) Golly. You know, the - I think it's - it's a little - (chuckles) - as Mark Twain said, you know, rumors of my demise may be a little exaggerated at this point.
He then launched into an upbraiding of Congress for not working with him more on the sequester.
"You know, Jonathan, you seem to suggest that somehow, these folks over there have no responsibilities and that my job is to somehow get them to behave. That's their job. They are elected, members of Congress are elected in order to do what's right for their constituencies and for the American people. So if, in fact, they are seriously concerned about passenger convenience and safety, then they shouldn't just be thinking about tomorrow or next week or the week after that; they should be thinking about what's going to happen five years from now, 10 years from now or 15 years from now." http://abcn.ws/14PsXDQ
President Obama vs. Sen. Lindsey Graham on National Security- President Obama today said that Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is "wrong" that there was not adequate intelligence shared in the days and months leading up to the Boston Marathon bombings. "Based on what I've seen so far, the FBI performed its duties, the Department of Homeland Security did what it was supposed to be doing," President Obama said today. "But this is hard stuff." http://abcn.ws/12R7fuZ (Sunlen Miller)
Obama Tells America Not to Worry About Obamacare - "I think that any time you're implementing something big, there is going to be people who are nervous and anxious about is it going to get done until it's actually done," he told reporters.
He went on to say those who would have trouble with implementation were the roughly 48 million Americans who are uninsured to begin with, a minority of the population.
"For the 85 to 90 percent of Americans who already have health insurance, this thing's already happened, and their only impact is that their insurance is stronger, better, more secure than it was before," President Obama said. "Full stop. That's it. Now they don't have to worry about anything else."
Recognizing one confusing aspect of the law, the Department of Health and Human Services today made applying to enter the insurance market through the Affordable Care Act a little easier.
HHS today released new applications for individuals and adults looking to get health insurance. Officials cut the forms down from 21 pages to seven pages for a family and three pages for an individual. http://abcn.ws/15XNBkZ (Sarah Parnass)
Obama Praises Jason Collins, Who Can Say 'I'm Still 7 Foot Tall And Can Bang With Shaq'- President Obama, an avid basketball fan, personally called Jason Collins Monday to congratulate the free Agent NBA player on coming out in an interview with Sport Illustrated. On Tuesday, Obama made a point of saying nice things about Collins and his decision to become the first openly gay NBA player. http://abcn.ws/YjQlGT (Z. Byron Wolf)
Despite "Dysfunction," Obama Optimistic on Immigration- President Barack Obama believes that Congress will pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill despite a lack of bipartisan cooperation on other key issues. "I feel confident that the bipartisan work that has been done on immigration reform will result in a bill that passes the Senate, passes the House and gets on my desk," he said during a news conference Tuesday at the White House. "And that's going to be a historic achievement." http://abcn.ws/15Xxd42 (Jordan Fabian)
Justice O'Connor Regrets: Bush v. Gore edition - abcn.ws/11T0yIF
Russia Charging NASA $70 Million Per Rocket Seat - http://abcn.ws/ZRHxHT
But that's still a discount from what the shuttle cost.
From ABC's shuttle expert, Gina Sunseri:
The annual cost for the space shuttle was about $4.78 Billion. The cost per flight was determined by the number of time the shuttle flies in a year so if NASA flew four missions a year the cost was roughly $ 1.1 billion per mission. NASA is held hostage by politics and every time there is an administration change their mandate changes. It is hard to do any kind of long term extensive engineering expensive space exploration when you never know what the next administration will want. NASA now has four companies competing for space station crewing and supply privileges - SpaceX, Orbital, Boeing and Sierra Nevada. There really is no business model to make private space financially viable unless taxpayers are paying for it. Virgin Galactic had a successful test yesterday, but all they will do is provide is a joyride for people who can fork over a couple of hundred thousand for a few seconds of zero gravity.
I could tick tock a long list of initiatives previous administrations started at NASA that the next administration killed. Let's go to the Moon, let's go the Mars, let's go hallway to Mars, no wait, how about capturing an asteroid? Anyone remember Constellation?
SpaceX now has a $1.6 billion dollar contact with NASA to provide 12 cargo flights over several years to the space station - so while $70 million seems a lot to pay for a seat on the Soyuz, it's still cheaper than the space shuttle was to operate.
It also begs the question: How worthwhile is the International Space Station? Most people don't know it is even up orbiting Earth at about 275 miles and couldn't tell you what purpose the space station serves. But we are held hostage to it by the agreement we have with international partners, hence we will pay $70 million a seat because after all, the Soyuz is the only game in town at the moment.
The Era of Partisanship Isn't Over- Drafters of the Senate's immigration bill say should it pass, it won't just fix the country's immigration system; it could spark a new era of bipartisanship that will allow lawmakers to address other divisive issues like a "grand bargain" on deficit reduction and future gun legislation. http://abcn.ws/100ZJJR (Jordan Fabian)
Christie Starts TV Ads in Reelection Campaign - http://abcn.ws/101LfJz (Walshe)