Archives for White House

Obama may not meet Gitmo closing deadline

President Barack Obama may not be able to meet his stated goal of closing the much-criticized Guantanamo Bay prison by January as his administration runs into daunting legal and logistical hurdles to moving the more than 220 detainees still there. Senior administration officials acknowledged for the first time Friday that difficulties in completing the lengthy review of detainee files and resolving other thorny questions mean the president's promised January deadline may slip.
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Justice Ginsburg released from hospital

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who had cancer surgery earlier this year, made a quick return to work Friday after feeling ill at the office and spending the night in a Washington hospital as a precaution. The 76-year-old justice was released from Washington Hospital Center in the morning and was at her desk by early afternoon, the court said. Ginsburg became lightheaded in her office Thursday afternoon after receiving treatment for anemia. Although she was found to be stable after an examination, the court said she was taken to the hospital as a precaution. Ginsburg underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer in February followed by a round of chemotherapy. A common side effect of chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer is anemia.
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Obama, allies demand inspection of Iran nuke plant

President Barack Obama and the leaders of France and Britain declared Friday that the revelation of a previously secret Iranian nuclear facility puts heavy new pressure on Tehran to quickly disclose all its nuclear efforts — including any moves toward weapons development — "or be held accountable." A defiant Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad retorted that his nation was keeping nothing from international inspectors and needn't "inform Mr. Obama's administration of every facility that we have." French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Iran has until December to comply or face new sanctions. Before that, on Oct. 1, the Iranians are to meet with the U.S. and five other major powers to discuss a range of issues including Iran's nuclear program.
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Iran accused of building secret nuclear facility

President Barack Obama and the leaders of France and Britain will accuse Iran on Friday of building a secret facility to produce nuclear fuel, The New York Times reported. Senior administration officials told the Times that the three leaders would make the announcement in Pittsburgh before the opening of the G-20 economic summit. Obama, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy will demand Tehran open the covert facility up to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Iran has kept the facility, 100 miles southwest of Tehran, hidden from international weapons inspectors for years, but the U.S. has long known of its existence, the Times said. Obama decided to go public with the revelation after Iran learned that Western intelligence agencies were aware of the project. Officials told the Times that the plant could be in operation by next year.
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Obama angers many with lobbyist pick

President Barack Obama's nomination of a trucking industry lobbyist to head the agency that regulates the industry drew fire Wednesday from senators and safety advocates. Anne Ferro, the president and CEO of the Maryland Motor Truck Association for the past six years, was named to head the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a troubled agency that has been widely criticized for allowing safety recommendations to languish for years without action. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., told Ferro at a Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday, that the motor carrier administration is "an agency in dire need of reform." "Given your ties, Ms. Ferro, to the trucking industry ... I am concerned about your ability to take the bold action we need to keep Americans safe," Lautenberg said.
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Obama to world: America can’t do it all

President Barack Obama exhorted world leaders on Wednesday to step up and do their part in tackling global challenges in promoting security and prosperity rather than waiting for America to do it alone. "The people of the world want change," Obama said in his first address to the U.N. General Assembly. "They will not long tolerate those who are on the wrong side of history." In an era where fast-moving technology binds people across borders and old divides, Obama called for "a new era of engagement based on mutual interest and mutual respect." Obama said he will never apologize for defending U.S. interests. But he sought to dispel what he said has become "an almost reflexive anti-Americanism" that has swept the globe.
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All Obama, all the time is too much Obama

Enough already, Mr. President! Barack Obama's incessant pleas in behalf of health care reform have reached a decibel level seldom before achieved by anyone in his job. The appeals became a crescendo over the weekend with taped appearances on the three leading nationally televised Sunday morning public affairs programs and another with comedy host David Letterman on his late night show. And to think it wasn't too long ago that presidents worried that too much television exposure might detract from the majesty of the office by making them all too familiar, warts and all, to the general public. When I was a kid, the president was sort of like the Wizard of Oz, this omnipotent, mysterious figure with a disembodied voice who guided us through our travails. Few of us ever thought we would meet him.
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A tax by any other name is still a tax

Memo to President Barack Obama: It's a tax. Obama insisted this weekend on national television that requiring people to carry health insurance — and fining them if they don't — isn't the same thing as a tax increase. But the language of Democratic bills to revamp the nation's health care system doesn't quibble. Both the House bill and the Senate Finance Committee proposal clearly state that the fines would be a tax. And the reason the fines are in the legislation is to enforce the coverage requirement. "If you put something in the Internal Revenue Code, and you tell the IRS to collect it, I think that's a tax," said Clint Stretch, head of the tax policy group for Deloitte, a major accounting firm. "If you don't pay, the person who's going to come and get it is going to be from the IRS."
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Obama issues warning on health care scare tactics

The Obama administration warned insurance companies Monday they face possible legal action for allegedly trying to scare seniors with misleading information about the potential for lost benefits under health care legislation in Congress. "As we continue our research into this issue, we are instructing you to immediately discontinue all such mailings to beneficiaries and to remove any related materials directed to Medicare enrollees from your Web sites," said a notice from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. Teresa DeCaro, an agency official, sent the notice to all companies that sell private Medicare coverage and stand-alone drug plans to seniors. The warning came as President Barack Obama's health care legislation is moving toward key tests in a Senate committee over the next several days, and with public polls showing widespread skepticism among seniors.
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Obama: ‘I was black before the election’

President Barack Obama on Monday poked fun at claims that racism was behind fierce opposition to his ambitious political agenda, joking that "I was actually black before the election." It was the latest attempt by Obama to tone down the debate, after former US president Jimmy Carter commented that much of the conservative fury directed at Obama's health care plans was motivated by racism. Obama said on the "The Late Show" with David Letterman on CBS that the fact he was elected as America's first African-American president at all was a more accurate indicator of wider race relations in the country. "I think it's important to realize that I was actually black before the election."
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