TPMDC Saturday Roundup

Obama Announces New Initiatives For Retirement Savings
In this weekend’s YouTube address, President Obama announced a set of new policies to make it easier for workers to invest towards their retirements. Obama tied the importance of this policy into the current economic troubles:

“We have to revive this economy and rebuild it stronger than before,” said Obama. “And making sure that folks have the opportunity and incentive to save – for a home or college, for retirement or a rainy day – is essential to that effort. If you work hard and meet your responsibilities, this country is going to honor our collective responsibility to you: to ensure that you can save and secure your retirement.”

GOP Address: “No Wonder Americans Are Scared”
In this weekend’s Republican address, Rep. John Kline (R-MN) called for “hitting the rest button on health care reform,” and warned against the dire consequences of the current Democratic proposals:

“No wonder Americans are scared,” said Kline. “Health care reform is being imposed upon them, rather than developed with them, and the potential costs are far too high. And sadly – monetary costs are only part of the picture. Many are concerned that Democrats’ plans may cost patients the right to see their family doctor or have any input into a life-altering – if not life-saving medical treatment.”Report: White House Could Offer Its Own Health Plan
The White House is reportedly considering drafting its own health care bill, after efforts by members of Congress to arrive at a consensus have apparently stalled: “Multiple sources close to the process told CNN Friday that while the plan is uncertain, they are preparing for the possibility they could deliver their own legislation to Capitol Hill sometime after the President Barack Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress Wednesday, with one source calling the possibility of new legislation a “contingency” approach if efforts by Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus to craft a deal fall through.”

Report: Obama To Try Reaching Out To GOP, Simultaneously Not Scold Liberals
The Politico reports that in President Obama’s upcoming speech to Congress, he will seek to reach out to Republicans while simultaneously reassuring the left. “This is a case for bold action, not a stick in the eye to our supporters,” said an anonymous official involved in speech preparation. “That’s not how President Obama thinks. The politics of triangulation don’t live in this White House.”

Senate To Remember Kennedy
Roll Call reports that the senate will take time this coming week to remember Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), with a moment of silence and a block of time for Senators to speak about him on the floor. A specific time has not been set yet, but it is likely to occur on Thursday, possibly in the afternoon.

Liberals Ready To Strike Out At Obama On Afghanistan Surge
The Hill reports that Congressional liberals are ready to mobilize against President Obama on his calls for troops increases in Afghanistan. “Just because President Obama is our president doesn’t mean we don’t feel the same outrage we felt regarding Iraq in this same time in the Iraq occupation,” said Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA). “Our president doesn’t get a pass on this.”

Levin: Pursue Afghan Army/Police Build-Up Before U.S. Troop Surge
Sen. Carl Levin (D-MA) is also signaling resistance to a troop increase in Afghanistan, preferring to focus on a buildup of the Afghan Army police. “There are a lot of ways to speed up the numbers and capabilities of the Afghan army and police. They are strongly motivated,” said Levin. “I think that we should pursue that course … before we consider a further increase in combat forces beyond what’s already been planned to be sent in the months ahead.”

AP: Photo Of Dying Marine “A Story Of Sacrifice”
The Associated Press is responding to criticism from Sec. of Defense Robert Gates, who strongly objected to the publication of a photo of a mortally-wounded Marine. “We thought that the image told a story of sacrifice; it told a story of bravery,” said AP senior managing editor John Daniszewski. “We felt that the picture told a story that people needed to see and be aware of.”

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