Archives for White House

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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Obama to Congress: Step back on Fort Hood probe

President Barack Obama on Saturday urged Congress to hold off on any investigation of the Fort Hood rampage until federal law enforcement and military authorities have completed their probes into the shootings at the Texas Army post, which left 13 people dead. On an eight-day Asia trip, Obama turned his attention home and pleaded for lawmakers to "resist the temptation to turn this tragic event into the political theater." He said those who died on the nation's largest Army post deserve justice, not political stagecraft. "The stakes are far too high," Obama said in a video and Internet address released by the White House while the president he was flying from Tokyo to Singapore, where Pacific Rim countries were meeting.
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Obama’s Afghan delay: Indecisive or strategic?

President Barack Obama's drawn-out decision-making on Afghanistan is sending messages. To the Afghan government: Clean up your act. To the Pentagon: I'm no rubber stamp. To the American public: More troops can't be the sole answer. Obama has been accused by some Republicans of "dithering" about whether to send more troops and deepen U.S. involvement in an increasingly unpopular war. The slow process also has left him open to critics who recall his pronouncement in March, after developing what he called a "stronger, smarter and comprehensive" Afghan war strategy, that the situation there was "increasingly perilous." He ordered more troops to battle then, with little discernible result so far.
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Obama rejects all recommendations on Afghanistan

President Barack Obama won't accept any of the Afghanistan war options before him without changes, a senior administration official said, as concerns soar over the ability of the Afghan government to secure its own country one day. Obama's stance comes as his own ambassador in Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry, is voicing strong dissent about a U.S. troop increase, according to a second administration official. Eikenberry's misgivings center on a concern that bolstering the American presence in Afghanistan could make the country more reliant on the U.S., not less. He expressed them in forcefully worded cables to Washington just ahead of Obama's latest war meeting Wednesday.
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Unions prod Obama to fix airline industry

Three decades of airline deregulation have helped make air travel more accessible to consumers through lower fares. Now labor unions are questioning whether the industry is paying the price, and the Obama administration is listening. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was holding a forum Thursday to discuss the state of the airline industry, which is mired in a severe economic slump and blamed for using a business model critics say undermines safety. The industry has suffered repeated shocks in recent years, including the 9/11 terror attacks, the SARS virus, volatile oil prices and the current economic downturn. "U.S. aviation is facing severe economic uncertainty, and an open and frank conversation will help begin a continuing dialogue about the industry's future," Transportation Department spokeswoman Sasha Johnson said.
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Pessimistic Americans still support Obama

President Barack Obama still has the public approval of a majority of Americans, but he finds himself governing an increasingly pessimistic country. This comes at a time when he is trying to revive a struggling economy, weighing more troops for the 8-year-old Afghanistan war, muscling a health care reform overhaul through Congress and hoping to push through other ambitious measures like legislation focused on climate change. The latest Associated Press-GfK poll shows that Americans grew slightly more dispirited on a range of matters over the past month, continuing the slippage that has occurred since Obama took office.
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Can Obama step up and be a leader?

Presidents get elected to run the nation. Some days that means knowing how to heal it. For the first time since winning the White House, President Barack Obama faces such a moment Tuesday at Fort Hood. After a shooting that left 13 people dead and 29 wounded on the bustling Texas Army post, it is Obama's job to offer some comfort, if not answers. Obama will do so privately with the families of those killed, and then publicly at a memorial service sure to be watched by American troops around the world. It is his time to take on the healer-in-chief role that can help shape a presidency at a time of national tragedy.
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Obama close to decision on Afghanistan war

President Barack Obama is nearing a decision to add tens of thousands more forces to Afghanistan, though probably not quite the 40,000 sought by his top general there. The White House emphasized that the president hasn't made a decision yet about troop levels or other aspects of the revised U.S. strategy in Afghanistan. Administration officials told The Associated Press on Monday the deployment would most probably begin in January with a mission to stiffen the defense of 10 key cities and towns. An Army brigade that had been training for deployment to Iraq that month may be the vanguard. The brigade, based at Fort Drum in upstate New York, has been told it will not go to Iraq as planned but has been given no new mission yet.
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Obama ready to sign another stimulus bill

President Barack Obama is set to sign a $24 billion economic stimulus bill providing tax incentives to prospective homebuyers and extending unemployment benefits to the longtime jobless who have been left behind as the economy veers toward recovery. The White House signing ceremony Friday comes a day after the House, displaying rare bipartisan agreement over the seriousness of the jobless situation, voted 403-12 for the measure. The Senate approved it unanimously on Wednesday. The White House said the bill, which also includes tax cuts for struggling businesses, builds on provisions in the $787 billion stimulus package enacted last February that aim at spurring job creation.
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