Archives for White House

Obama set to announce new jobs plan Tuesday

In his latest job creation effort, President Barack Obama is trying to find practical and politically feasible ways of spurring hiring among skittish employers.

Among the ideas expected in his economic speech Tuesday is an expanded program that gives people cash incentives to fix up their homes with energy-saving materials, senior administration officials have told The Associated Press. Obama is leaning toward new incentives for small businesses that hire new workers and new spending on roads, bridges and other public works, the officials said.

The president also is open to a federal infusion of money to cash-strapped state and local governments, considered among the quickest and most effective — though expensive — ways to stem layoffs.

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Obama to banks: Lend more money

President Barack Obama on Friday prodded large U.S. banks to boost lending to Main Street and cautiously welcomed news of an unexpected drop in the unemployment rate.

Obama, whose domestic popularity has taken a hit amid frustrations over job losses, visited a metal-working plant and a community college in Allentown, Pennsylvania, as part of a series of events this week aimed at shoring up confidence in his handling of the economy.

In a town hall-style forum at the college, he said he was aware of the toll the "brutal recession" had taken on people's lives and pledged to do all he could to spur job creation. Allentown is an industrial city hard-hit by the downturn.

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Younger voters fault Obama on economy, Afghan war

President Barack ObamaFifty-eight percent of younger Americans approve of President Barack Obama's job performance but many feel differently about his handling of specific issues, a national poll has found.

Harvard University's Institute of Politics said on Thursday at 52 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds polled disapprove of Obama's handling of the economy and healthcare and 55 disapprove on the topic of Afghanistan.

The poll, taken before Obama said this week he was sending 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, found 66 percent of respondents opposed such a buildup.

Support from young voters in 2008 helped sweep Obama into the White House. Exit polls showed Obama won the 18- to 29-year-old segment by a 34-point margin, more than five times the difference of Obama's next best age group.
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Obama played fast and loose with facts

Can more U.S. troops in Afghanistan really convert Afghans into an effective fighting force? Will allies answer the call to do more? Is Pakistan truly prepared to take on the extremists who pose the greatest threat?

President Barack Obama said yes in his speech Tuesday laying out his plan to pour 30,000 more troops into the Afghan war, then begin pulling out in 18 months.

The prospects, though, at least judging by recent history, are mixed.

A look at some of his claims and how they compare with the reality on the ground:

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Obama sounding more and more like Bush

It feels like 2007 all over again. Different war, different president, but "surge" is back in vogue.

President Barack Obama's revamped Afghanistan strategy involves rushing — faster than may prove possible — 30,000 more troops into the fight by next summer. The abrupt infusion of U.S. military might is aimed at jump-starting a war that has crawled along for more than eight years, yielding few lasting gains.

Obama wants to prevent terrorists from plotting fresh attacks and to set Afghanistan on a path to securing and governing itself.

"I am convinced that our security is at stake in Afghanistan and Pakistan," Obama told West Point cadets and a national TV audience Tuesday night.

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Both sides unhappy with Obama’s Afghan plan

Democrats are complaining about President Barack Obama's escalation of the war in Afghanistan and Republicans are unhappy with his promise to withdraw troops in 18 months, but Congress appears willing to approve the buildup's $30 billion price tag.

Lawmakers planned to use two days of high-profile hearings on the war, beginning Wednesday, to express their misgivings about the plan, which calls for a quick infusion of troops through July 2011, when the U.S. will begin to withdraw its forces.

Obama pledged Tuesday night to an audience of Army cadets at the U.S. Military Academy that the shift from surge to exit strategy would depend on the military situation in Afghanistan.

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Despite promises, Obama plays old political tricks

President Barack Obama entered the White House promising a new era of openness in government, but when it comes to bad news, his administration often uses one of the oldest tricks in the public relations playbook: putting it out when the fewest people are likely to notice.

Former White House environmental adviser Van Jones' resignation over controversial comments hit the trifecta of below-the-radar timing: The White House announced the departure overnight on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, when few journalists were on duty and few Americans awake, much less paying attention to the news.

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Obama’s gamble: 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan

President Barack Obama plans to announce on Tuesday that he will send about 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan in a long-awaited war strategy shift that he hopes will defeat the Taliban and allow for a U.S. exit.

After three months of deliberations that some critics called dithering, Obama is to lay out his plan in a speech to cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.

The high-stakes televised address will take place at 8 p.m. EDT.

The troop increase represents a major gamble by Obama. He came to office vowing a greater focus on Afghanistan but has faced skepticism from some key advisers about the wisdom of putting more American lives and money on the line for a government in Kabul widely seen as corrupt and inept.
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The seven things that scare the hell out of Obama

A month-and-a-half away from entering the second year of his Presidency, Barack Obama's carefully-crafted image is coming apart.

Media fascination has vanished, replaced with skepticisim. Public adolation is facing, replaced with impatience. Obama the President is a far cry from Obama the candidate and Obama the President is faced with realities that wipe out the image.

So Obama will soon enter the new year faced with at least seven stories he doesn't want told and seven realities that could destroy the myth.
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Obama plans new effort on foreclosures

The Obama administration, battling a foreclosure crisis that shows no signs of relenting, will step up pressure on mortgage companies to do more to help people remain in their homes, officials said Saturday.

The administration will announce its expanded program on Monday, Treasury spokeswoman Meg Reilly said.

"We are taking additional steps to enhance servicer transparency and accountability," Reilly said. She said the goal was to increase the rate that troubled home loans were converted into new loans with lower monthly payments.

Industry officials said the new effort would include increased pressure on mortgage companies to accelerate loan modifications by highlighting firms that are lagging in that area.

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