Archives for White House

Gays aren’t buying Obama’s promises

President Barack Obama restated his campaign pledge to allow homosexual men and women to serve openly in the military, but left many in his audience of gay activists wondering when he would make good on the promise. "I will end 'don't ask-don't tell,'" Obama said Saturday night to a standing ovation from the crowd of about 3,000 at the annual dinner of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay civil rights advocacy group. He offered no timetable or specifics and he acknowledged some may be growing impatient. "I appreciate that many of you don't believe progress has come fast enough," Obama said. "Do not doubt the direction we are heading and the destination we will reach."
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OK, you won a Nobel Prize: Now what?

Now that he's Nobel laureate Barack Obama, will he find smoother sailing for his plans to rid the world of nuclear weapons, to forge Mideast peace and stabilize Afghanistan, to halt climate change? Not likely. The Nobel committee members made no bones about it: Helping Obama achieve ambitious peacemaking goals was their goal in awarding the prize Friday to an as-yet mostly unaccomplished U.S. president. But while the prestige could give Obama and his efforts a boost, nations steer their courses according to their own interests and little else. U.S. lawmakers, too, aren't going to be influenced in politically difficult votes on climate change legislation or nuclear-reduction treaties by the Nobel Peace Prize, no matter who wins it.
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President Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize

President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for giving the world "hope for a better future" and striving for nuclear disarmament. The decision to award one of the world's top accolades to a president less than nine months into his first term, who has yet to score a major foreign policy success, came as a big surprise and provoked strong international criticism as well as praise. The Norwegian Nobel Committee praised Obama for "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." The first African-American to hold his country's highest office, Obama has called for disarmament and worked to restart the stalled Middle East peace process since taking office in January. "Very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future," the committee said in a citation.
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Obama’s mortgage help program not working

The Obama administration's effort to help homeowners avoid foreclosure may not achieve its goal of helping 3 million to 4 million borrowers and may simply delay mortgage defaults for many, a government watchdog group says. The Congressional Oversight Panel, charged with making regular assessments of the $700 billion financial rescue fund enacted last year, said the Treasury Department should consider whether to improve the current $50 billion program or adopt new programs to meet an expected rise in foreclosures fed by increased unemployment. The panel's report is scheduled to be made public Friday. It comes a day after the Treasury said its mortgage relief effort has helped 500,000 homeowners and that it was still on track to help up to 4 million homeowners within three years.
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Obama weighs his options on Afghan war

On the eighth anniversary of the beginning of the war in Afghanistan, President Barack Obama is gathering his national security team for another strategy session. Obama is examining how to proceed with a worsening war that has claimed nearly 800 U.S. lives and sapped American patience. Launched after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to defeat the Taliban and rid al-Qaida of a home base, the war has lasted longer than ever envisioned. House and Senate leaders of both parties emerged Tuesday from a nearly 90-minute conversation with Obama with praise for his candor and interest in listening. But politically speaking, all sides appeared to exit where they entered, with Republicans pushing Obama to follow his military commanders and Democrats saying he should not be rushed.
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Obama administration misplayed Gitmo card

Greg Craig, the top in-house lawyer for President Barack Obama, is getting the blame for botching the strategy to shut down Guantanamo Bay prison by January — so much so that he’s expected to leave the White House in short order. But sources familiar with the process believe Craig is being set-up as the fall guy and say the blame for missing the deadline extends well beyond him. Instead, it was a widespread breakdown on the political, legislative, policy and planning fronts that contributed to what is shaping up as one of Obama’s most high-profile setbacks, these people say.
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Obama looks for safety net programs

With unemployment expected to rise well into next year even as the economy slowly recovers, the Obama administration and Democratic leaders in Congress are discussing extending several safety net programs as well as proposing new tax incentives for businesses to renew hiring. President Obama’s economic team discussed a wide range of ideas at a meeting on Monday, following his Saturday radio address in which he said it would “explore additional options to promote job creation.” But officials emphasized that a decision was still far off and that in any event the effort would not add up to a second economic stimulus package, only an extension of the first.
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Obama must face harsh reality of Afghan war

As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama denounced the war in Iraq and U.S. strategy there, vowing if elected to draw down troops and send them to Afghanistan to address the growing threat from al-Qaida and the Taliban. "There is no military solution in Iraq," Obama said. Now, with mounting U.S. casualties in Afghanistan, waning public support for the war and a dire assessment of the situation on the ground by his commanding general, Obama may be forced to decide there is no military solution in Afghanistan, either.
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Obama: Health care reform means jobs

As the unemployment rate climbs, President Barack Obama is trying to make the case that his health care overhaul would create jobs by making small business startups more affordable. Dismissive Republicans blamed the continuing job losses on Democratic policies and said the president's health proposals won't help. In his weekly radio and Internet video address Saturday, Obama linked one of his biggest challenges — joblessness — with passage of far-reaching changes to the nation's health care system. If aspiring entrepreneurs believe they can stay insured while switching jobs, Obama said, they will start new businesses and hire workers.
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