Slatest PM: Obama's Big Economy Speech

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
July 24 2013 4:17 PM

Slatest PM: Obama's Big Economy Speech Wasn't as Big as Advertised

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President Obama is seeking to re-focus on the economy amid a second term plagued by scandal and gridlock.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Obama's "Highest Priority": New York Times: "President Obama tried to move past months of debate over guns, surveillance and scandal on Wednesday and reorient his administration behind a program to lift a middling economy and help middle-class Americans who are stuck with stagnant incomes and shrinking horizons. Returning to the site of his first major economic speech as a young senator eight years ago, Mr. Obama lamented that typical Americans had been left behind by globalization, Wall Street irresponsibility and Washington policies, while the richest Americans had accumulated more wealth. He declared it 'my highest priority' to reverse those trends, while accusing other politicians of not only ignoring the problem but also making it worse."

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In His Own Words: 'Thanks to the grit and resilience of the American people, we’ve cleared away the rubble from the financial crisis and begun to lay a new foundation for stronger, more durable economic growth. ... With new American revolutions in energy, technology, manufacturing, and health care, we are actually poised to reverse the forces that have battered the middle class for so long, and rebuild an economy where everyone who works hard can get ahead. But I’m here today to tell you what you already know – we’re not there yet.  Even though our businesses are creating new jobs and have broken record profits, nearly all the income gains of the past ten years have continued to flow to the top 1 percent. The average CEO has gotten a raise of nearly 40 percent since 2009, but the average American earns less than he or she did in 1999." Read the full transcript here.

Instant Analysis: Ezra Klein: "That was a lot of hype for precious little speech. It's not that President Obama's big economic speech... was bad. It's that it was, unexpectedly, a warm-up rather than the main event. Obama said it himself. 'Let me give you a quick preview of what I'll be fighting for and why,' he told the crowd. The meat of Obama's economic policy agenda will be unveiled in a series of speeches over the next several weeks. So don't look to this speech for the details of the policy. Look to it for the signal of the 'pivot.'"

It’s Wednesday. Welcome to the Slatest PM, where we’re rounding up the day’s top stories and "pivoting" to the second half of the week. Follow me, your afternoon news guide, on Twitter at @s_brodez and the whole team at @slatest.

Ambassador Kennedy: Associated Press: "President Barack Obama on Wednesday nominated former first daughter Caroline Kennedy as U.S. ambassador to Japan, offering the most famous living member of a prominent American family a new role of service to country. ... Kennedy, an attorney and bestselling book editor, is being rewarded for helping put Obama in the White House where her father served until his assassination 50 years ago. If confirmed, she would be the first woman in a post where many other prominent Americans have served to strengthen a vital Asian tie."

Prince George: CBS News: "Baby Cambridge now has a name: George Alexander Louis. The name of Prince William and Kate's son was announced Wednesday by Kensington Palace, two days after he was born. Palace officials said the royals are "delighted to announce" their son's name, adding that the baby, who is third-in-line to the throne, will be known as His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge."

Egyptian General Calls for Protests: New York Times: "The commander of the armed forces on Wednesday called on Egyptians to hold mass demonstrations on Friday that he said would give the army a 'mandate' to fight violence and terrorism, signaling a possible crackdown against Islamist supporters of Egypt’s deposed president. The call for popular action by the commander, Gen. Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi, further undermined the military’s repeated assertions that it would not interfere in politics. 'I’ve never asked you for anything,' said General Sisi, who deposed Egypt’s first freely elected president, Mohamed Morsi, three weeks ago. 'I’m asking you to show the world. If violence is sought, or terrorism is sought, the military and the police are authorized to confront this.'"

Soldiers Accused of Sexual Misconduct With Minors: CNN: "Authorities are investigating allegations of sexual misconduct by several soldiers from Fort Carson in Colorado, officials said Wednesday. The allegations involve female minors, they said. 'The command is aware of the cases and is closely monitoring the investigations of these soldiers,' said a statement released by base officials. They did not provide further information, citing an ongoing law enforcement investigation. 'We assure the community that the Army is taking this situation seriously,' the statement said."

Snowden Still Stuck, After All: NBC News: "NSA leaker Edward Snowden will remain in the transit area of a Moscow airport reading Russian literature while authorities consider his request for temporary asylum, his lawyer said Wednesday. Anatoly Kucherena, a lawyer who helped the American file his bid for temporary asylum on July 16, said Snowden was still waiting for documents that would allow him to cross the border into Russia. That contradicted earlier reports on Russian state media that the documents had been issued. Interfax and RIA Novosti both reported that the Federal Migration Service had given Snowden the necessary permission to leave the transit zone, where he has been holed up for more than a month. There was no immediate explanation for the contradiction."

Another Blow to the Postal Service: CBS News: "The House Wednesday is considering a proposal that would end door-to-door mail delivery and save the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service billions of dollars per year. The Postal Reform Act of 2013, which is being considered today by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, would end 'to the door' delivery in favor of curbside service or neighborhood cluster boxes. According to the committee, 28 percent of addresses now receive 'to the door' service, while 42 percent receive curbside mail delivery and 30 percent received centralized delivery. The Postal Reform Act would require 'to the door' service to be phased out over 10 years, saving an estimated $4 billion per year."

Principal Linked to India School Deaths Arrested: Associated Press: "The principal of a primary school in eastern India where 23 children died last week after eating lunch prepared with contaminated oil was arrested Wednesday, nine days after she went into hiding, police said. Meena Kumari fled as soon as the children began falling ill after eating the lunch cooked at the school in Bihar state. Twenty-three children between the ages of 5 and 12 died after eating the meal and many others fell ill. Forensic tests have revealed that the lunch contained toxic levels of a deadly pesticide."

New Low for Washington: NBC News: "The American public's dissatisfaction with Washington has reached new heights, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, as the political world continues to fight the same intractable battles over the budget, health care and immigration. A whopping 83 percent of Americans disapprove of Congress' job, which is an all-time high in the survey. What's more, President Barack Obama has seen his job-approval rating dip to its lowest level since August 2011, when the debt-ceiling showdown wounded almost every Washington politician."

A Few More Quick Hits from Slate:

That's all for today. See you back here tomorrow. Until next time, tell your friends to subscribe, or simply forward the newsletter on and let them make up their own minds.

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