Archives for White House

Obama faces questions over Syria airstrikes

President Barack Obama faces a familiar question as he contemplates airstrikes in Syria: Should Congress have a say in his decision? Obama was barreling toward strikes last summer when he abruptly announced that he first wanted approval from congressional lawmakers. But Congress balked at Obama’s request for a vote and the operation was eventually scrapped. This time around, the White House is suggesting it may not be necessary to get a sign-off from Congress for airstrikes. While cautioning that Obama has made no final decisions, officials say there is a difference between last year’s effort to attack Syria’s government in
Read More

After vacation, Obama facing many challanges

While in office, former President George H. W. Bush once plaintively asked, “What is it about August?” Indeed, this sultry month usually associated with the doldrums of summer has burdened modern presidents with personal, domestic or international crises. And for President Barack Obama, who returned to Washington Sunday from a two-week Martha’s Vineyard vacation, what remains of the August calendar looks perhaps more daunting than when he left. Islamic militants personalized their fight in Iraq and Syria by executing American journalist James Foley. Russia escalated tensions in Europe by moving artillery and troops on the Ukrainian border and pushing a
Read More

Obama’s vacations: Too many or not enough?

President Barack Obama has spent less time away from the White House than his predecessors. But his two-week break on the resort island of Martha’s Vineyard and hours on the golf course have his detractors teeing up as they highlight the slew of foreign policy crises currently facing the United States. The criticism has the president’s aides confronting a question it faces whenever Obama gets away: Is there ever a good time for the commander in chief to take a few days off? Since becoming president, Obama has taken 20 vacations lasting two to 15 days. As of Friday, he
Read More

Obama trying to find role after Brown death

When racial tensions erupted midway through his first presidential campaign, Barack Obama came to Philadelphia to decry the “racial stalemate we’ve been stuck in for years.” Over time, he said, such wounds, rooted in America’s painful history on race, can be healed. Six years later, the stalemate suddenly seems more entrenched than ever. As Obama pleads for calm and understanding in Ferguson, Missouri, he’s struggling to determine what role — if any — the nation’s first black president can play in defusing a crisis that has laid bare the profound sense of injustice felt by African-Americans across the country. As
Read More

Obama cuts vacation short, returns to DC

President Barack Obama returned to Washington just after midnight Monday for a two-day break from a summer vacation, during which airstrikes in Iraq and violent clashes in a St. Louis suburb intruded on his golf and beach plans. The exact reason for Obama’s return remained unclear, though it appeared aimed in part at countering criticism that Obama was spending two weeks on the Massachusetts resort island of Martha’s Vineyard in the midst of multiple crises. His return to Washington was planned even before the U.S. military began striking targets in Iraq and before the standoff between police and protesters in
Read More

Beleaguered Obama faces problems with Democrats

President Barack Obama is facing potential rifts with members of his own party in tough re-election contests as he barrels toward a fall fight with Republicans over his ability to change immigration policies. If Obama takes the broadest action under consideration — removing the threat of deportation for millions of people in this country illegally — the short-term risks appear greatest for Senate Democrats in conservative-leaning states. Weeks before the November vote, they could find themselves on the hot seat for their views not only on immigration but also on Obama’s use of his presidential powers. Wary of what could
Read More

Obama steps into middle of another racial incident

For President Barack Obama, the intersection of race and the law has revealed both the pitfalls and the power of wading into these delicate matters as the nation’s first black president. Just months after being sworn in, Obama rapped police in Massachusetts for acting “stupidly” by arresting a black Harvard professor at his own home. After more details of the case were revealed, Obama clarified his statements and tried to make amends by hosting an awkward “beer summit” at the White House with the professor and police officer. Four years later, unburdened by re-election, Obama spoke out passionately about the
Read More

Obama: Airstrikes, humanitarian aid continue in Iraq

President Barack Obama on Thursday promised to expand U.S. humanitarian relief to Iraqis threatened by the advancing army of the Islamic State militants. He took credit for alleviating the genocide threat to thousands trapped on a mountaintop but said the situation “remains dire” throughout the country. Obama also said U.S. airstrikes would continue to protect Americans and U.S. facilities in Iraq, and he said Washington has increased its delivery of military assistance to Iraqi and Kurdish forces fighting the Islamic State. But he gave no indication he intends to shift from the limited, defensive military campaign he announced last week
Read More

Obama welcomes new Iraq leaders

President Barack Obama welcomed new leadership in Iraq as “a promising step forward” Monday amid a political and security crisis in Baghdad, saying the only lasting solution is the formation of an inclusive government. Obama did not mention Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki but clearly was addressing the embattled incumbent as he called for Iraqi political leaders to work peacefully through a political transition. “These have been difficult days in Iraq,” Obama said outside his rented vacation home on Martha’s Vineyard. “I’m sure there are going to be difficult days ahead.” Obama’s remarks came as the U.S. conducted more airstrikes against
Read More

Obama wants upgrades to government technology

The White House on Monday announced the creation of a team of digital experts tasked with upgrading the government’s technology infrastructure and making its websites more consumer friendly. The move is aimed at avoiding a repeat of the website debacle that marred the rollout of President Barack Obama’s signature health care legislation last year. While the administration ultimately surpassed its enrollment targets, the opening weeks of sign-ups were riddled with website troubles that raised questions about the administration’s competence. The new digital team will be overseen by Mikey Dickerson, an engineer who took leave from Google in order to oversee
Read More