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October 15: The First Lady pays a visit to Miami-Dade College for its annual gala and luncheon, where she was warmly greeted by the school's President, Eduardo J. Padron.

Newscom/Al Diaz/KRT Photos




October 15: The President signs the Enhanced Partnership With Pakistan Act of 2009, granting more aid to the government of Pakistan, contingent on some benchmarks. The bill immediately drew criticism, particularly from Pakistan, where many believed the bill impinges on Pakistan's sovereignty.

Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy




October 14: The President took a short jaunt to Fairfax County to tout the benefits of the stimulus. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood joined him for the trip.

Newscom/Aude Guerruci/SIPA Photos




October 14: President Obama presses the flesh after his stimulus speech.

Newscom/Aude Guerruci/SIPA Photos




October 14: President Obama signs an order to establish a working group to address the Asian American and the Pacific Islander communities.

Newscom/UPI Photos/Robert L. Wollenberg




October 14: At the White House Diwali celebration, Obama shakes hands with Hindu priest Sri Narayanachar Digalakote.

Newscom/PTS Photoshot/Zhang Yan




President Obama prepares to read the weekly YouTube address. He used the opportunity to declare that health reform was "gathering momentum" and that the bills in Congress took "the best ideas from Republicans and Democrats," and specifically drew attention to former GOP Sens. Bob Dole's and Bill Frist's support for some form of health care reform.

Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy




David Axelrod (left) and Valerie Jarrett (center) look on as the President delivers remarks on his surprise Nobel Peace Prize win from the Rose Garden.

Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson




October 9: Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel talks to the president.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




The White House held a picnic for the Secret Service on October 9, and here Michelle Obama gets acquainted with a young guest.

Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton




October 8: President Obama boxes out for a rebound during a basketball game on the White House court.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




Reggie Love, President Obama's personal aide, drives to the basket.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




Vice President Joe Biden and Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett leave the Economic Daily Briefing in the Oval Office on October 8.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




President Obama watches as members of the National Naval Medical Center's Marine Wounded Warrior basketball team play on the White House basketball court on October 8.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




President Obama shoots.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




President Obama shares a laugh with Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, Senior Adviser David Axelrod, Personal Secretary Katie Johnson and Personal Aide Reggie Love in the Oval Office, Oct. 8, 2009.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




President Obama awards the 2008 Medal of Science and Medal of Technology and Innovation in the East Room of the White House on October 7.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




President Obama looks through a telescope during an astronomy event on the South Lawn of the White House on October 7.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




Laureates arrive for the National Medal of Science and Medal of Technology and Innovation Ceremony in the East Room of the White House on October 7.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Economic Daily Briefing participants, including Counselor to the Treasury Secretary Lee Sachs, wait before meeting with President Obama on October 7.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




President Obama speaks with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid after their October 7 meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




The President and First Lady greet members of the Girl Scouts on October 7.

Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton




October 6: President Obama chats with Senior Adviser David Axelrod and National Economic Council Director Larry Summers in the Oval Office after the Economic Daily Briefing.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




The President talks with Vice President Joe Biden on October 6.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




October 6: President Obama meets with Congressional leadership to discuss Afghanistan and Pakistan in the State Dining Room of the White House.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




The President talks to doctors in the Oval Office before a health insurance reform event on October 5.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




First Lady Michelle Obama talks with (from left) Chicago 2016 board member Marty Nesbitt, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett, Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Education Secretary Arne Duncan aboard Air Force One before leaving Copenhagen on October 2. The First Lady went to Copenhagen to campaign for Chicago to host for the 2016 Olympics.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




October 2: The President greets former Olympic athletes in Copenhagen, including Jackie Joyner-Kersee and David Robinson, before making a presentation on behalf of Chicago to the International Olympic Committee.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




The President looks through a microscope while on a September 30 tour of an oncology laboratory at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Also pictured: Dr. Marston Linehan (left), Dr. Francis Collins, Director of NIH (second from right), and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson




President Obama and former President Bill Clinton watch a performance by jazz legend Wynton Marsalis at the memorial service for Walter Cronkite at Lincoln Center in New York City on September 9.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




October 9: Bo Obama's brother Cappy steals a treat from a table in the Rose Garden, at a birthday party for the First Dog.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Mitt Romney seems to be casting himself as a somewhat reluctant possible presidential candidate, and not the ambitious politician that people usually think of -- declaring he's not immediately running for president, but that his eventual decision will be influenced in part by the job that he thinks President Obama is doing.

"I'm doing what's necessary, if you will, to keep options open," Romney told Milwaukee-based TV host Mike Gousha. Romney said that family concerns come first, of course, but so does the overall national situation and Obama's performance.

"Clearly, if President Obama happened to be doing a great job, as I had hoped he would do when he got elected, why, that would influence my thoughts," Romney said. "But instead, he's taken the country in a very dangerous direction, and that makes it far more likely that folks are gonna think about getting in and removing him from office."

(Via WisPolitics.)

Two Republican party chairmen from South Carolina, in trying to defend Sen. Jim DeMint's (R-SC) practice of not using earmarks, said DeMint "is watching our nation's pennies," just like "the Jews who are wealthy."

Edwin O. Merwin and James S. Ulmer, chairs of the Bamberg County Republican Party and the Orangeburg County Republican Party, respectively, wrote an op-ed in the Times and Democrat this Sunday.

"There is a saying that the Jews who are wealthy got that way not by watching dollars, but instead by taking care of the pennies and the dollars taking care of themselves," they wrote. "By not using earmarks to fund projects for South Carolina and instead using actual bills, DeMint is watching our nation's pennies and trying to preserve our country's wealth and our economy's viability to give all an opportunity to succeed."

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Whole Foods CEO John Mackey says he knows why so many people hate him after his August op-ed opposing President Obama's health care reform goals.

"People try to size you up for what team your on," he told the editors of the Libertarian magazine Reason in an hour-long interview last month. "If you're on their team they love you and if you're on the other team they hate you."

Mackey then divulges what team he's on. "I voted for Bob Barr," he said when asked who he supported for president in 2008. Barr, a former GOP representative, was the Libertarian nominee. "I liked Ron Paul, but he didn't get the Republican nomination, regretfully."

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Last week, at a meeting between Senate health care principals and Obama administration officials, the White House basically told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid it would be leaving most of the big legislative decisions on reform to him. This week, Reid is faced with an onslaught from pressure groups, including labor and the grassroots, demanding that he include the public option in the health care bill he brings to the floor.

In a sign that Reid may be willing to acquiesce, if only the White House helps him whip the caucus into shape, a top Capitol Hill aide tells me "Right now, we don't have 60 Democratic Senators in lockstep with one another on the public option...we need the president to send a strong signal to those in the room negotiating the merger, that the public option is, really, what he wants in the final bill."

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David McKalip, the Florida doctor and health-care-reform opponent who apologized this summer after sending a racist picture of President Obama as a witch-doctor, is trying to cozy up to some of the most extreme Republican reform foes in Congress. But even they want little to do with him, it seems.

Yesterday, McKalip sent an email invitation, obtained by TPMmuckraker, announcing that Doctors for Patient Freedom, the anti-reform group he runs, plans to honor Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) for their work in fighting to preserve "the freedom patients deserve" in health care. According to the invitation, the ceremony is set to take place November 7th, in conjunction with the upcoming American Medical Association meeting in Houston.

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The right-wing Club For Growth is on the air with a new campaign ad in the NY-23 special election, spending $300,000 to help Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman in a three-way race against moderate Republican Dede Scozzafava and Democrat Bill Owens.

"Tired of choosing between two liberals for Congress?" the announcer says. "There is a better choice. Doug Hoffman is a conservative Republican, Army veteran, financial expert, and north country small business owner."

This race has caused a serious split on the right, with prominent national conservatives expressly working to stop the GOP's official candidate due to her liberal views on abortion and gay marriage, and for her friendly relationship in the state legislature with labor unions. If the Democrat Owens wins because of vote-splitting on the right -- or if Hoffman were to win -- then the message would be loud and clear that Republicans are no longer allowed to nominate moderates for any office.

On a conference call with reporters this afternoon, Creigh Deeds adviser Mo Elleithee said this weekend's Washington Post endorsement likely was not enough on its own to turn things around for Virginia's Democratic gubernatorial nominee.

"It's certainly helpful," Eleithee told TPMDC. "But look, I don't think there's going to be a single defining moment or a 'game changer,' which is a phrase people have been throwing around."

Eleithee said the endorsement, which was largely seen as the single moment that changed Deeds fortunes in the primary last June, was "just a piece" of Deeds' turnaround strategy this time.

"Everyday, we've got to win the battle between now and Election Day," he said.

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On Friday, a young mother posted a story to her blog claiming that, while going through security at an airport in Atlanta, government agents took her baby out of her sight for several minutes. The story, as they say, went viral.

"Panic set in. My hands began to shake. My body was sweating. My breath was short and my heart was racing. They had taken my child and not told me. Jackson was out of my eye sight. I could not see my son," wrote the woman, Nic.

Hours later, the Transportation Security Administration's blog posted a video that shows the woman going through security, with her child either in her arms or directly next to her at all times.

The TSA's immediate response, on Twitter and on its blog, squashed an internet meme that had been catching like wildfire -- a meme that had the potential to do serious public relations damage to the agency.

Here's how it happened:

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