Archives for White House

The seven things that scare the hell out of Obama

A month-and-a-half away from entering the second year of his Presidency, Barack Obama's carefully-crafted image is coming apart.

Media fascination has vanished, replaced with skepticisim. Public adolation is facing, replaced with impatience. Obama the President is a far cry from Obama the candidate and Obama the President is faced with realities that wipe out the image.

So Obama will soon enter the new year faced with at least seven stories he doesn't want told and seven realities that could destroy the myth.
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Obama plans new effort on foreclosures

The Obama administration, battling a foreclosure crisis that shows no signs of relenting, will step up pressure on mortgage companies to do more to help people remain in their homes, officials said Saturday.

The administration will announce its expanded program on Monday, Treasury spokeswoman Meg Reilly said.

"We are taking additional steps to enhance servicer transparency and accountability," Reilly said. She said the goal was to increase the rate that troubled home loans were converted into new loans with lower monthly payments.

Industry officials said the new effort would include increased pressure on mortgage companies to accelerate loan modifications by highlighting firms that are lagging in that area.

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Obama will reveal new Afghan plan Tuesday

US President Barack Obama will announce his new Afghan strategy in an address to the nation Tuesday from the prestigious West Point military academy, the White House said.

In a defining moment for his young presidency, Obama is widely expected to order more than 30,000 additional American troops into battle against an emboldened Taliban-led insurgency.

But the president, who vowed Tuesday to "finish the job" in Afghanistan, will also lay out an exit strategy for withdrawing forces from the war begun eight years ago in response to the September 11 attacks on the United States.

"We are in year nine of our efforts in Afghanistan. We are not going to be there another eight or nine years," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.

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Obama, GOP remain at odds over health care

President Barack Obama and a top House Republican acknowledged in holiday messages Thursday the economic struggles facing Americans this Thanksgiving but offered starkly different recipes for relief.

Obama and Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., singled out U.S. service members at home and abroad for special thanks before saying what they think should be done to fix the economy.

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White House catered to lobbyists on health care

President Barack Obama's top aides met frequently with lobbyists and health care industry heavyweights as his administration pieced together a national health care overhaul, according to White House visitor records obtained by The Associated Press.

The records, obtained Wednesday, disclose visits by a broad cross-section of the people most involved in the health care debate, weighted heavily toward those who want to overhaul the system.

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Obama expects support for more troops

President Barack Obama expects Americans to support more U.S. troops in Afghanistan once they understand the perils of losing, and he is preparing to make his case to the nation next week.

Eight years after the Sept. 11 attacks led the U.S. into Afghanistan, Obama said it is still in America's vital national interest to "dismantle and destroy" al-Qaida terrorists and extremist allies. "I intend to finish the job," he said.

Obama said he would announce after Thanksgiving his decision on additional troops, and military, congressional and other sources said the occasion would be a Tuesday night televised speech laying out his plans for expanding the Afghan conflict — and then ultimately ending America's military role.

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Growing impatience with Obama’s trade policies

The third anniversary of the signing of the U.S.-Colombia free trade pact came and went this month with the Obama administration still negotiating the fine print, Congress showing little interest and business groups frustrated by the lack of action on trade deals.

"For most of 2009 we were willing to sit on our hands" as the new president struggled with the recession and health care, said Bill Lane, a government affairs official for Caterpillar Inc.

"We can't maintain that anymore. It's time we started moving forward," said Lane, who is also corporate co-chairman of the Latin American Trade Coalition.

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Obama’s job approval rating below 50 percent

President Barack Obama's job approval rating has dropped below 50 percent in a second major poll in an indication he is suffering from the long healthcare debate and weakness in the economy, Gallup said on Friday. Gallup said 49 percent of Americans approved of Obama's job performance. A survey by Quinnipiac University on Wednesday had a similar finding, putting him at 48 percent support. It was the first time he had fallen below majority support in those two polls. He had been polling in the low 50s for months after taking office in January with an approval rating just under 70 percent.
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Obama’s bow: Courtesy or groveling?

Some conservative commentators seized on President Barack Obama's deep bow to Japan's Emperor Akihito over the weekend, accusing the U.S. commander in chief of groveling before a foreign leader. So did he? While it may have been an awkward moment, it wasn't without precedent. And it appeared to be well within protocol guidelines that the State Department issues for foreign service officers working in other countries. U.S. presidents from both political parties have often been criticized for their attempts at culturally sensitive greetings to high-ranking foreigners. Former President George W. Bush, a Republican, was mocked for holding Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah's hand, a traditional sign of friendship in the Middle East, as they strolled together in 2005.
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