Tag Archives: Obama

Barack and Michelle Obama Unveil Their New Official Portraits

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery on Monday unveiled its commissioned portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama by artists Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald, respectively.

The former president and first lady gave remarks at the unveiling, with Mrs. Obama first saying how “overwhelmed, humbled, proud and grateful” she was to be honored with the portrait, which depicted her sitting in a long, flowing, colorful dress amid a pale blue background.

Mrs. Obama thanked her family — including “my Mommy,” Marian Robinson, who was sitting in the front row at the unveiling — and shared the story of how she first met Sherald.

Mrs. Obama said she and Sherald hit it off immediately when the artist came to meet the former president and first lady.

“She physically turned to me and said, ‘I’m really hoping we can work together,’ ” Mrs. Obama recalled.

“After that she and I started talking and Barack kind of faded into the woodwork,” she joked, adding that she and Sherald shared a “sista-girl connection.”

The former president spoke after his wife and began by praising Sherald for capturing the “charm and hotness of the woman that I love.”

He also gave a “special shoutout to my man Joe Biden — and an even more special shout-out to my mother-in-law, who in addition to providing the hotness genes, also has been such an extraordinary rock and foundation stone for our family.”

“We are so grateful to her and we love her so much,” he added.

Obama’s portrait showed him wearing a black suit and sitting in a chair in front of a lush backdrop of bright green leaves and multi-colored flowers. Wiley explained the background includes a chrysanthemum, the official flower of Obama’s adopted hometown of Chicago, along with a flower pointing toward Hawaii, Obama’s birthplace, and another flower pointing toward Kenya, where Obama’s father was born. Wiley said he was painting the former president in the context of his life’s story and his path.

Obama, like his wife, said he’s never had a portrait done of himself, nor has anyone in his family, as far as he knows. “I do have my high school yearbook picture, which is no great shakes,” he joked to laughter from the crowd, which included some famous faces like Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg.

Obama said working with Wiley was a “great joy,” though he added that the artist was “working at a disadvantage because his subject was less becoming, not as fly” as Mrs. Obama.

RELATED VIDEO: Michelle Obama Talks Life After the White House – and Why Barack Is Mad About Their New Home

Ever the politician, Obama said he tried to “negotiate” less gray hair and smaller ears, to no avail.

“Kehinde’s artistic integrity would not allow him to do what I asked,” the former president joked.

“Maybe the one area where there were some concessions was … Kehinde’s work elevates and puts them in these fairly elaborate settings. And so his initial impulse maybe in the work was to also elevate me and put me in these settings with partridges and scepters, and thrones and chifforobes and mounting me on horses. And I had to explain that I’ve got enough political problems without you making me look like Napoleon. We’ve got bring it down just a touch. And that’s what he did.”

Budget-busting deal shows that Barack Obama was much better at business than Trump

I promise I’ll get to why Obama was better at business than Trump, but first let’s remember a story you probably know well. It’s called: “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.” In that old fable credited to Aesop, a boy repeatedly sounds the alarm to alert his neighbors about a terrible danger—that wolves have set upon his flock of sheep. After a few false alarms, the townspeople ignore Peter the next time he ‘cries wolf’, and then his sheep are eaten (in some versions Peter serves as dessert for the wolves as well). According to Aesop, the moral is: “this shows how liars are rewarded: even if they tell the truth, no one believes them.”

I doubt I’m the only one to think of that story in light of the utterly indefensible, yet utterly unsurprising hypocrisy of congressional Republicans when it comes to what they once, with a straight face, referred to as ‘fiscal responsibility.’ Paul Krugman exposed this hypocrisy in excruciating detail in his article, entitled “Fraudulence of the Fiscal Hawks.” Krugman cites a 2011 document authored by then-House Budget Chair and now Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, that sounded a klaxon-like alarm about impending danger: “The United States is facing a crushing burden of debt” that will “capsize” our economy—and, he claimed, it wouldn’t take long.

The danger was so, well, dangerous, that House Republicans at that time threatened to default on our nation’s debt—and plunge the economy into actual chaos not soon but immediately—if we didn’t impose harsh, deep spending cuts. “WOLF! WOLF! WOLF!” is essentially what Paul, our modern-day Peter, shouted back then. Today, he, along with the Republican-led Senate and a Republican president, just passed a tax plan—whose benefits go overwhelmingly to the financial elites—and a budget plan that, by next year, will bring us right back to deficits about as big as they were in 2011.

Furthermore, if the provisions of the Republican rich man’s tax cut are extended—as its proponents have promised—these policies will bring our national debt, as a share of Gross Domestic Product, close to levels not seen since we had to fight for our survival in World War II.

Joy Reid Blasts Fox News For Blaming Obama For Trump’s Wife Beating White House

Joy Reid called out Fox News on MSNBC’s AM Joy for trying to blame Obama for Trump’s pattern of defending men who abuse women and girls. Video: After playing a clip of Fox News blaming Obama for Trump’s constant defense of men who abuse their wives, Reid said, “Fox News, Donald Trump’s favorite TV channel […]

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Fox News Convinces Trump That He Is A Victim Of An Obama Conspiracy

On Saturday, Trump expressed support for the belief that he saw on Fox News, that the Russia investigation is an Obama conspiracy to get him. Trump tweeted: “My view is that not only has Trump been vindicated in the last several weeks about the mishandling of the Dossier and the lies about the Clinton/DNC Dossier, […]

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