Archives for White House

Obama uses recess appointment for Medicare chief

President Barack Obama appointed health expert Donald Berwick on Wednesday to run the Medicare  and Medicaid programs that provide care to seniors and the poor, bypassing the Senate  to fill a key job over Republican  objections. Obama had nominated Berwick in April to run the vast federal medical programs but his Senate confirmation was held up by Republicans who expressed worries that he would ration healthcare as a way to reduce costs. Berwick, a professor of pediatrics and of public health at Harvard, also served as head of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, a nonprofit organization that works to improve
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Obama’s only choice

President Barack Obama had little choice. Already weakened by the seemingly insolvable Gulf oil spill and his party’s dicey prospects in the coming congressional election, Obama could not afford to give his Afghanistan commander a pass for his inflammatory public words. In essence, Gen. Stanley McChrystal fired himself. It fell to Obama to make the announcement. The real surprise Wednesday was that Obama persuaded four-star Gen. David Petraeus, who steered U.S. military fortunes in Iraq out of a dark place, to take over from McChrystal. Petraeus was instrumental in the naming of McChrystal 13 months ago to shoulder the burden
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General faces come-to-Jesus meeting with angry Obama

Forget No-drama Obama. An infuriated U.S. president is hauling his top general in Afghanistan to the White House, job hanging in the balance, to explain “what in the world he was thinking” when he and his aides mocked their commander-in-chief and his team. After reading General Stanley McChrystal’s complaints in a Rolling Stone magazine article entitled “The Runaway General,” Obama departed from his calm, deliberative style. He wasted little time in ordering him to fly halfway around the world to face the music on Wednesday. Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs, speaking more bluntly and emphatically than usual at his daily briefing
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White House budget chief quitting

White House Budget Director Peter Orszag’s expected resignation would make him the first high-profile member of President Barack Obama’s team to depart the administration. A Democratic official said Monday that Orszag is expected to leave in the coming months, although the exact timing is not known. The official confirmed the news to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it had not been announced. As director of the Office of Management and Budget, Orszag holds Cabinet-level rank and a pivotal role in shaping and defending how the administration spends the public’s money. He quickly emerged from a bureaucratic post
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Obama tries to refocus on jobs, economy

President Barack Obama launched a push on Friday ahead of congressional elections to refocus on economic recovery efforts that have been overshadowed by the BP Plc oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Traveling to the recession-battered Midwest, Obama kicked off what the White House has billed as a six-week drive to promote his administration’s economic stimulus plan and job policies. With public anxiety over the fragile economy threatening Obama’s Democrats in November’s congressional elections, gaining traction for his domestic agenda could be critical. Republicans are aiming to take control of Congress from the Democrats. Obama touted the $787 billion
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Can Obama get his presidency back?

BP chief executive Tony Hayward committed a faux pas when he admitted he wanted his life back. President Barack Obama is too smart to say it aloud, but he wants his presidency back. To that end, the president’s team this past week unilaterally declared an “inflection point” in the Gulf of Mexico debacle. He framed his Oval Office address and BP’s creation of a $20 billion compensation fund as a turning point when the public regained confidence in Obama’s response to an environmental disaster whose negative political effects are spreading along with the gushing crude. The crisis has cost Obama
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Obama’s push on energy bill falls on deaf Capitol Hill ears

President Barack Obama’s muted call for comprehensive energy legislation failed to sway a hesitant Congress on Wednesday, with hopes for approval before November elections fading fast. In his first national address from the Oval Office, Obama said on Tuesday the Gulf of Mexico oil spill provided a chance to break the U.S. dependence on fossil fuels and find new ways to power factories, automobiles and electric utilities so they emit fewer global-warming pollutants. But he offered no specifics, and the lack of guidance frustrated some supporters and lent little urgency to an issue that has fallen down a crowded list
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Obama talks tough but can he deliver?

Fresh from admonishing BP before the world, President Barack Obama now gets his moment with the oil company’s leaders. It will be on his turf and, he vowed to an angry nation, on his terms. “We will make BP pay for the damage their company has caused,” Obama declared in his first Oval Office address, a venue often reserved for matters of war. That is now how Obama describes the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico — a “siege” on the shores of America. Obama’s showdown at the White House on Wednesday with BP executives will be his
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Gulf Coasters aren’t buying Obama’s side show

President Barack Obama promised that life would return to normal for people living on the stricken Gulf Coast, and BP said by the end of the month it would contain more than three times as much oil spewing from a ruptured undersea well. The pledges didn’t placate some residents. “I think that as long as BP is still in control, there’s not a lot he can do other than show support for the residents of these Gulf states,” Jennifer Jenkins, 34, of Long Beach, said of Obama. The president visited Mississippi and Alabama Monday as part of a two-day stop.
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Obama may strike out on health benefits extension

If Chuck Lacasse had gotten his pink slip four days earlier, Uncle Sam would have covered most of his family’s health insurance while he looked for a new job. But Congress allowed emergency health care assistance for unemployed workers to expire May 31, and seems unwilling to renew it despite pleas from President Barack Obama. Not three months after lawmakers passed his $1 trillion insurance overhaul, Obama is facing a rare defeat on health care at the hands of his own divided Democrats. Moderates have rebelled against adding billions more to the deficit in a treacherous election year. “The same
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