Archives for White House

In Mideast, Obama tries even-handed approach

There he was, in the heart of the Muslim world, explaining the American mindset to Muslims and the world of Islam to Americans, with the bearing of a college professor.

In his long-awaited speech at the University of Cairo, President Barack Obama took a measured, on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand approach to some of the most charged issues on the planet.

There were no new policy pronouncements on the Mideast, Afghanistan, nuclear weapons or other flashpoints in the Muslim world.

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Obama reaches out to Muslims

President Obama's positive and conciliatory speech was well received by his audience at Cairo University and across the Muslim world generally, and, as much as a single speech can, it may indeed signal, as he said, a new beginning between the United States and Muslims based on mutual interest and respect.

The speech was the subject of intense interest in the Muslim world, and especially among Arab nations, where it was extensively broadcast live. Even radical Hezbollah TV in Lebanon carried it. In Iran, however, it was jammed.

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Obama calls for a ‘new beginning’ with Muslims

President Barack Obama called for a "new beginning between the United States and Muslims" Thursday and said together, they could confront violent extremism across the globe and advance the timeless search for peace in the Middle East.

"This cycle of suspicion and discord must end," Obama said in a widely anticipated speech in one of the world's largest Muslim countries, an address designed to reframe relations after the terrorists attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

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Obama flip flops on health care mandates

President Barack Obama says he's open to requiring all Americans to buy health insurance, as long as the plan provides a "hardship waiver" to exempt poor people from having to pay.

Obama opposed such an individual mandate during his campaign, but Congress increasingly is moving to embrace the idea.

In providing the first real details on how he wants to reshape the nation's health care system, the president urged Congress on Wednesday toward a sweeping overhaul that would allow Americans to buy into a government insurance plan.

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Tim Geithner’s laid-back approach

Rarely has a Cabinet agency seen such a dramatic change of style as the one that has occurred at the Treasury Department. Gone is Hank the hammer and in his place is Tim the mild bureaucrat.

That change was on display in abundant fashion during Timothy Geithner's first trip to China as Treasury secretary.

And judging from the reaction of the Chinese, Geithner may have struck on a winning formula that will reap more benefits for the United States than Henry Paulson's more belligerent style of operation during the Bush administration.

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Obama launches Mid-East peace mission

President Barack Obama embarks on his first Middle East mission, seeking Arab backing for his bid to revive peace moves while a US confrontation steadily builds with staunch ally Israel.

The highlight of the trip will be a much-anticipated address to the Muslim world from Cairo, but Obama will also attempt to prod moribund regional peacemaking back to life.

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Obama: Cheney got his facts wrong

President Barack Obama on Monday struck back at one of his toughest critics, saying former Vice President Dick Cheney was wrong when he criticized White House plans to close the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay.

"He also happens to be wrong. Last time, immediately after his speech, I think there was a fact check on his speech that didn't get a very good grade," Obama told NPR News.

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White House: Health care is economic problem

Fixing the economy requires overhauling the U.S. health care system, a White House report concludes — just the message the administration needs to help implement a sweeping new social welfare program during a recession.

The report by the White House Council of Economic Advisers says that health care costs — now about 18 percent of the gross domestic product — will rise to 34 percent in 30 years if left unchecked, wreaking havoc on the federal deficit, businesses and working Americans.

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A serious move towards open government?

President Obama, it seems, is more than just talking a good game about the need to cut down on the amount of excess government secrecy.

The day after he took office, Obama issued an executive order reversing a Bush administration directive encouraging agencies to err on the side of secrecy. Instead, he said, he wanted "a presumption in favor of openness."

He might have left it at that, knowing that over time the bureaucracies would revert to that protective iteration: When in doubt, stamp it secret.

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