The New York Times: “The chief White House lawyer, Kathryn Ruemmler, learned last month that a Treasury inspector general had concluded an audit of the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups, weeks before the matter became public, according to a senior White House official.”
The Wall Street Journal: “The White House's chief lawyer learned weeks ago that an audit of the Internal Revenue Service likely would show that agency employees inappropriately targeted conservative groups, a senior White House official said Sunday. That disclosure has prompted a debate over whether the president should have been notified at that time. In the week of April 22, the Office of the White House Counsel and its head, Kathryn Ruemmler, were told by Treasury Department attorneys that an inspector general's report was nearing completion, the White House official said. In that conversation, Ms. Ruemmler learned that ‘a small number of line IRS employees had improperly scrutinized certain…organizations by using words like 'tea party' and 'patriot,'’ the official said.”
Yet, despite the controversies a CNN poll has Obama’s approval rating at 53%, up two points from last month.
Is a President Obama-John McCain alliance breaking out (because of new Chief of Staff Denis McDonough?)
“President Barack Obama, in a soaring commencement address on work, sacrifice and opportunity, on Sunday told graduates of historically black Morehouse College to seize the power of their example as black men graduating from college and use it to improve people’s lives,” AP writes. “The president said his success was due to ‘the special obligation I felt, as a black man like you, to help those who need it most, people who didn’t have the opportunities that I had — because there but for the grace of God, go I. I might have been in their shoes. I might have been in prison. I might have been unemployed. I might not have been able to support a family. And that motivates me.’”
First Lady Michelle Obama spoke at the commencement at Bowie State Friday, another historically black college, where she said, per NBC’s Carrie Dann: “Instead of dreaming of being a teacher or a lawyer or a business leader, they’re fantasizing about being a baller or a rapper. … Please reject the slander that says a black child with a book is trying to act white.”
It’s not the first time the first lady has spoken openly about the subject matter. In 2009, she said: “I wanted an A, you know, I wanted to be smart, I wanted to be the person who had the right answer. And I didn't care whether it was cool, because I remember there were kids around my neighborhood who would say, ‘Ooh, you talk funny, you talk like a white girl.’ I heard that growing up my whole life. I was like, I don't even know what that means, but you know what, I'm still getting my A.”
State Sen. Barack Obama echoed that in his famous 2004 Democratic National Convention: “Go into any inner city neighborhood, and folks will tell you that government alone can't teach kids to learn. They know that parents have to parent, that children can't achieve unless we raise their expectations and turn off the television sets and eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white.”
Vice President Biden will give the commencement address at the Coast Guard Academy Wednesday.
ObamaCare = RomneyCare? Not exactly. The Boston Globe: “When millions of Americans around the country sign up for insurance under President Obama’s sweeping health care law in October, the system they encounter will lack some of the key protections and cost controls that Massachusetts consumers receive. Massachusetts, the first state in the nation to implement near-universal health coverage, served as the model for major aspects of the groundbreaking health care overhaul law. But the Obama administration has decided, at least in the law’s first year, not to adopt some important features of the Massachusetts plan that advocates say have helped consumers more easily make cost-effective choices.”
Speaking of Romney: He was on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno Friday, and he slammed President Obama and Hillary Clinton. He said of the IRS, “My own view is, that a special counsel should be appointed. Because only a special counsel can investigate the administration.” He added, “"I'm not a fan of the president, in case you didn't know that," Romney said. "But look, I believe he cares for the country and wants to make America a better place for the American people. But I think he's not being successful as he would have hoped to have been."
And on Clinton: "I think if Hillary Clinton is the nominee of the Democratic party, there will be a careful inspection of her record as Secretary of State.”
AP: Secretary of State John Kerry is heading back to the Middle East this week to press his case for peace talks between Syrian rebels and President Bashar Assad’s regime amid increasing signs the new U.S. strategy to halt the war is being undermined by Russia. Kerry departs Monday for discussions with the sultan of Oman. He then goes to Jordan to gather with 10 of America’s closest European and Arab partners to discuss how to advance a political transition and end more than two years of bloodshed in Syria, before traveling on to Israel. For the Syria negotiations to succeed, the Obama administration is banking on Russia’s help.”