Here’s what you need from President Obama’s farewell press conference on Wednesday:
— Obama conceded that gays who are in long-lasting relationships think that civil unions are “not enough,” and he repeated that his views on same-sex marriage are “constantly evolving.” He added, “I struggle with this.”
— Obama wouldn’t comment on a draft on indefinite detention for Guantanamo inmates that he hasn’t reviewed, but he acknowledged that “we haven’t gotten it closed.” He said his advisers are trying to find a way to put the fight against terrorists in a “legal structure” that is “consistent with our rule of law.”
“My internet problem is the one so many of us struggle with: how do you choose when the constraints of geography, income and circumstance disappear? What goes in a playlist when all the music ever recorded is one click away? Which experts’ thought processes should you tap into when tens of millions of them are on Twitter? How do you choose a book from the millions that you can discover with a Google Books search?”—
[INT. - OVAL OFFICE - DAY. The PRESIDENT is meeting with staff. A TV is tuned to C-SPAN.]
AXELROD:...and you're meeting with Clinton in five hours.
OBAMA:He's a former president, Dave. I don't need a reminder.
AXELROD:I just read what's on the schedule, sir.
OBAMA [holds up schedule]:I have a copy. I can read.
AXELROD [smiles]:Yes, sir.
GIBBS:After the meeting, you're going to do a joint briefing in the press room. Opening remarks, then Clinton, back to you.
AXELROD:Does he take questions?
AXELROD:Does he do a Q and A?
GIBBS:No questions. It's your podium.
OBAMA:He's a former president.
AXELROD [holds up schedule]:I know, sir. I can read.
OBAMA:I want him to take a couple of questions. I'm a big boy.
GIBBS:Fine. He'll talk up the tax compromise.
AXELROD:That should bring some of our guys back into the fold.
OBAMA [stressed]:Where they should be in the first place.
GIBBS:It's hard for many people to swallow, sir. We just gave the richest Americans a tax break for the next two years.
OBAMA:There's more in that deal. And the GOP left me no choice.
AXELROD:The American people know that, sir. Well, half of them.
AXELROD [annoyed, then]:We need to make an impact statement, sir. Something that tells them we--and our party--won't take this lying down. We look weak otherwise, sir. And even more Democrats will jump ship.
[GIBBS notices the TV.]
[OBAMA and AXELROD look. AXELROD turns up the volume.]
[SANDERS O/C]:You can call what I'm doing whatever you want. You can call it a long speech, you can call it a filibuster...
[AXELROD mutes the TV.]
GIBBS:...there's your impact statement.
Man, this whole day has been a West Wing episode. Though, with not nearly enough Rob Lowe.
“Today we have lost the comfort of Elizabeth’s presence but she remains the heart of this family," her family said in a statement said. "We love her and will never know anyone more inspiring or full of life. On behalf of Elizabeth we want to express our gratitude to the thousands of kindred spirits who moved and inspired her along the way. Your support and prayers touched our entire family.”—Elizabeth Edwards dies of cancer - Ben Smith and Meredith Shiner - POLITICO.com
“It requires, for a woman, usually in today’s world still, an extra amount of effort because I think it’s - the fact that women are still sometimes judged more critically. If you are in the courtroom or you are presenting a case, it still is a fact - and this is not just in Kyrgyzstan, this is everywhere - that when a man walks into a courtroom it’s rare for someone to say, “Oh, look what he is wearing.” (Laughter.) But if you walk into a courtroom, or any young woman walks into a courtroom, people are going to notice. And that will be an additional requirement that you have to meet.”
I’ve led a team that has discovered a microbe that can substitute arsenic for phosphorus…
What I’m presenting to you today is a microbe that is doing something different than life as we knew it. I was taught, as a biochemist, that all life on Earth, all life we know of—to hearken back to the ‘pale blue dot’ idea of Carl Sagan—all life we know of is here so far. And that if there’s an organism on Earth that’s doing something different, we’ve cracked open the door to what’s possible for life elsewhere in the universe.