Archives for White House

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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Obama: Jobs will be the last to recover

As the prospect of double-digit unemployment looms, President Barack Obama on Monday sought to set expectations for the nation, saying job losses will likely roll on "for weeks and months to come" because hiring always lags behind in an economic rebound. "We just are not where we need to be yet," Obama said as he met with a panel of economic advisers. "We've got a long way to go." Unemployment hit a 26-year high of 9.8 percent in September. The next monthly reports come out Friday and could show it topping 10 percent. Still, the economy is growing again. Reports out Monday show improvement in manufacturing, construction and contracts to buy homes.
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Limbaugh: Obama wants to steal liberty, freedom

Rush Limbaugh says President Barack Obama's bid to overhaul the health care system is a government attempt to seize control of a big chunk of the country's economy. The conservative talk show host — who's one of Obama's harshest critics — says Americans are witnessing an unprecedented "kind of radical leadership" in the White House. Limbaugh tells "Fox News Sunday" that the health care proposals in Congress would become "the biggest snatch of freedom and liberty" ever seen in the United States.
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Visitor log shows Obama cozied up to lobbyists, celebs

Celebrities George Clooney and Oprah Winfrey and prominent lobbyists, corporate executives and Democratic fundraisers were among the first to score visits with President Barack Obama, his wife Michelle or top aides at the White House, newly released records show. The White House late Friday afternoon posted a list of roughly 480 records in response to questions about whether specific people visited the president's home. It plans to start disclosing comprehensive visitor lists in coming months. The records are a step toward making good on Obama's promise of transparency. But they also show that despite a campaign pledge to reduce special-interest influence on policymaking, lobbyists are getting face time with him and his aides. The visits included in the records released Friday include roughly eight dozen with Obama.
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Obama claims economy is growing, but…

President Barack Obama said Saturday that reports the economy is growing again and that more than 1 million jobs were saved or created by his stimulus plan show "we are moving in the right direction." But he tempered his upbeat message with a cautious word about further job losses and progress yet to be made. Unemployment hit a 26-year high of 9.8 percent in September, and the October report due next week could show it topping 10 percent. The government reported this week that the economy grew 3.5 percent from July through September, the first signs of growth in a year and unofficial confirmation that the economic slide that began in December 2007 is over. Separately, the White House said Obama's $787 billion stimulus plan — a mix of spending and tax cuts — had saved or created more than 1 million jobs.
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