Archives for White House

White House uses Twitter to spin issues

Besieged by unflattering stories about the launch of President Barack Obama’s healthcare program, the White House saw a news report that it wanted to swiftly knock down. It was from NBC, which said that Obama had overpromised when he said Americans who liked their insurance could keep it, and that the president knew that many people would see their coverage change. White House officials quickly began firing off a barrage of tweets on Twitter, which has become one of the administration’s most potent and relied-upon weapons in trying to shape public opinion and media reports. Josh Earnest, the principal deputy
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Obama orders NSA to stop spying on World Bank, IMF

President Barack Obama has ordered the National Security Agency to stop eavesdropping on the headquarters of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank as part of a review of intelligence gathering activities, according to a U.S. official familiar with the matter. The order is the latest move by the White House to demonstrate that it is willing to curb at least some surveillance in the wake of leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden of programs that collect huge quantities of data on U.S. allies and adversaries, and American citizens. The NSA’s surveillance of the Washington-based IMF and World Bank
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So many questions about what Obama knew and when

To his critics, President Barack Obama often has seemed to be conveniently distant when trouble has hit his administration. But on Tuesday, Obama was hit with a public-relations crisis that struck at the core of his domestic and foreign policy – one that raised questions about whether he had misled Americans on his signature healthcare overhaul, and whether he really was unaware of the U.S. government’s alleged spying on its allies. It was a dramatic twist for the Democratic president, who was widely seen as outflanking Republicans during the budget battles that led to a partial government shutdown and a
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Obama lowers expectations for health care enrollments

The Obama administration is trying to lower expectations for strong initial enrollments under the president’s historic expansion of health coverage for the medically uninsured. Facing ongoing problems with the enrollment website, Medicare chief Marilyn Tavenner told Congress on Tuesday that “we expect the initial numbers to be small.” An internal memo obtained by The Associated Press shows that the administration expected nearly 500,000 people to gain coverage just in October, the program’s first month. Tavenner repeatedly declined to cite enrollment numbers, saying they will not be provided until mid-November. House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, a Michigan Republican, drew
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White House admits need to crack down on NSA spying

The White House said on Monday that some constraints are needed in U.S. surveillance practices in the wake of embarrassing revelations about the sweeping nature of U.S. spying. The comment came a week after President Barack Obama drew heavy criticism over accusations that the National Security Agency had tapped the mobile phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and conducted widespread electronic snooping in France and Italy. White House spokesman Jay Carney said that with new intelligence-gathering capabilities, “We recognize there needs to be additional constraints on how we gather and use intelligence.” Carney’s comment, along with a tweet from National
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Obama knew NSA was spying on German chancellor

President Barack Obama was personally informed of mobile phone tapping against German Chancellor Angela Merkel, which may have begun as early as 2002, German media reported Sunday. Bild am Sonntag newspaper quoted US intelligence sources as saying that National Security Agency chief Keith Alexander had briefed Obama on the operation against Merkel in 2010. “Obama did not halt the operation but rather let it continue,” the newspaper quoted a high-ranking NSA official as saying. Meanwhile newsweekly Der Spiegel reported ahead of its Monday issue that leaked NSA documents showed Merkel’s phone had appeared on a list of spying targets since
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High court review of Obama’s surveillance law coming?

The Justice Department says for the first time that it intends to use information gained from one of the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance programs against an accused terrorist, setting the stage for a likely Supreme Court test of the Obama administration’s approach to national security. The high court so far has turned aside challenges to the law on government surveillance on the grounds that people who bring such lawsuits have no evidence they are being targeted. Jamshid Muhtorov was accused in 2012 of providing material support to the Islamic Jihad Union, an Uzbek terrorist organization that, authorities say, was
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Obama’s tech guru now a target for critics

  Todd Park has gone from steering his healthcare information technology company through a blockbuster IPO to occasionally sleeping on a mat in his office while working to repair the troubled new U.S. government healthcare website. Park, the chief technology officer for the White House and a top advisor to President Barack Obama, now finds himself among a handful of officials with targets on their backs as Republicans try to root out who is responsible for this month’s glitch-ridden rollout of Healthcare.gov. Five years ago, Park was a private-sector tech success story having led his company to an initial public
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Broken Obamacare web site needs lot of fixes

  Nearly a month into a dysfunctional health care rollout, Obama administration officials said Friday they have identified dozens of website problems that need fixing and tapped a private company to take the lead. Jeffrey Zients, a management consultant brought in by the White House to assess the extent of problems with the HealthCare.gov site, told reporters his review found issues across the entire system, which is made up of layers of components interacting in real time with consumers, government agencies and insurance company computers. It will take a lot of work, but “HealthCare.gov is fixable,” said Zients. The vast
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Biden says major mental health treatment changes coming

Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday that the country is on the cusp of what he called “remarkable changes” in the treatment of mental illness. Speaking at a forum on mental health to mark the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy‘s signing of the Community Mental Health Act, Biden said the human brain is the new frontier for exploration in 2013. He said science is on the verge of “astounding discoveries” that could change how society cares for those with mental illness. “It’s truly amazing what we don’t know and it’s truly amazing what we might learn,” Biden said
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