Kicking off the second week of his "Change That Works for You" economic tour today in Flint, MI, Obama will unveil his national competitiveness agenda, which includes 1) a commitment to education from birth until college; 2) an energy policy that reduces America's dependency on oil; 3) encouraging innovation; 4) strengthening America's transportation system; and 5) a commitment to "strong and smart" trade.
The New York Times offers a front-page look at Obama's evolving management style. "Like most presidential candidates, Mr. Obama is developing his executive skills on the fly, and under intense scrutiny. The evolution of his style in recent months suggests he is still finding the right formula as he confronts a challenge that he has not faced in his career: managing a large organization."
Also: "Mr. Obama's style so far is marked by an aversion to leaks and public drama and his selection of a small group of advisers who have exhibited discipline and loyalty in carrying out his priorities. The departure of [veep vetter Jim] Johnson, who was brought in to provide managerial experience to the vice-presidential search, was a rare instance of the campaign's having to oust one of its own in the midst of a messy public crisis… As the chief executive officer of Obama for America, a concern of nearly 1,000 employees and a budget of hundreds of millions of dollars, Mr. Obama is more inclined to focus on the big picture over the day-to-day whirl."
Obama's fatherhood speech yesterday to the black community seemed to earn plenty of accolades. We bet we'll see another speech like this sometime this fall. Per NBC/NJ's Athena Jones, the Obama family yesterday celebrated Father's Day at a church on Chicago's South Side, where the presumptive Democratic nominee delivered a speech about parental responsibility and the importance of fathers to building strong families. Obama spoke at Apostolic Church of God, a black church with a congregation of some 20,000, entering with the church leaders as a large choir dressed in two-toned blue gowns sang and clapped. He and his family were introduced to strong applause as he stood on stage and his wife and daughters sat in the crowd. The senator has not attended church in Chicago in months, ever since controversy erupted over remarks made by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, his former pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ. He eventually denounced Wright and later left that church.
Obama began his speech yesterday by citing a Biblical verse in which Jesus likens good Christians to those who have built their house on a rock, and called the family as the most important rock upon which people build their lives. He said the absence of many fathers in the black community made its foundations weaker and he spoke poignantly about what it felt like not to have his father around growing up. "I know the toll it took on me not having a father in the house, the hole in your heart when you don't have a male figure in the home that can guide you and lead you and set a good example for you," he said. "So I resolved many years ago that it was my obligation to break the cycle -- that if I could be anything in life, I would be a good father to my children; that if I could give them anything, I would give them that rock -- that foundation -- on which to build their lives."
More from the Washington Post: "'I say this knowing that I have been an imperfect father -- knowing that I have made mistakes and will continue to make more; wishing that I could be home for my girls and my wife more than I am right now,' said Obama, as his daughters Sasha and Malia sat with his wife, Michelle Obama. 'I say this, knowing all of these things, because even as we are imperfect, even as we face difficult circumstances, there are still certain lessons we must strive to live and learn as fathers --- whether we are black or white; rich or poor; from the South Side or the wealthiest suburb.'"
Obama spokesperson Linda Douglass gets the Howie Kurtz treatment.
Politico's Ben Smith writes that the conservative biographer Stephen Mansfield, who has written books on President Bush and Tom DeLay, has penned his latest on Obama -- and the book "may lend credibility to Senator Obama's bid to win Evangelical Christian voters away from the Republican Party." More: "Its tone ranges from gently critical to gushing, and the author defends Obama-and even his controversial former minister, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright-from conservative critics, and portrays him as a compelling figure for Christian voters."
Sunday's Boston Globe, following an earlier piece by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, has a long profile of Michelle Obama and leads with an anecdote about her white freshman roommate's mother marching into student housing to have her daughter find a new roommate because Obama was black. "For 17-year-old Robinson - who is now Michelle Obama and the first African-American woman to face the real prospect of becoming first lady - the incident was a stunning beginning to a formative chapter in her life. It was a time when her views on race and American culture began to coalesce - views that have helped make her a compelling figure but also somewhat of a lightning rod during the campaign."