Archives for White House

Obama’s state of the union: More of the same

Newly repackaged, President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address will deliver familiar content along with some targeted first-time initiatives that both test and illustrate the limits of divided government in an election year. His message to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday will identify measures where he and Congress can cooperate, and he will press issues that will distinguish him and Democrats from Republicans. He’ll also make a case for acting alone. Illustrating his willingness to act on his own, the White House says Obama will announce that he will sign an executive order increasing the minimum wage
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Obama faces political problems with Keystone pipeline

President Barack Obama will lay out an agenda on jobs, the economy and the environment during his State of the Union speech on Tuesday. But he is unlikely to mention the Keystone XL oil pipeline, a politically charged project that could shape his legacy in each area. Some five years after Keystone XL was proposed, Canadian officials, Republicans and some Democrats in conservative U.S. states are expressing frustration over the lack of a decision by the White House on the initiative. The TransCanada Corp project involves construction of a 1,179-mile (1,900-km) pipeline from Alberta, Canada, to Steele City, Nebraska, where
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Boston bomb survivors, gay basketball player guests for SOTU

Two survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing and an openly gay NBA player are among the guests who will sit with first lady Michelle Obama Tuesday when President Barack Obama delivers the annual State of the Union address. The first lady’s guests are often picked because they symbolize an issue or policy the president is promoting. The White House announced six guests on Monday, with other names to be released ahead of Obama’s address. The guests announced so far are: — Carlos Arredondo and Jeff Bauman, Boston: A photograph of Arredondo, 53, and Bauman, 27, has become one of the
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New poll declares Obama a ‘so-so’ President

Nice guy, so-so president. Taking stock of President Barack Obama at the five-year mark in his term, less than a third of Americans consider him to be an above-average chief executive. Nearly twice as many find him likable. A new Associated Press-GfK Poll finds the president’s personal image to be on the rebound after taking a hit during the government shutdown late last year, with 58 percent now sizing him up as very or somewhat likable. That’s up 9 percentage points from October, just after the shutdown. Yet as Obama prepares to stand before Americans for his annual State of
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Obama targets epidemic of college sexual assaults

President Barack Obama is launching an initiative to combat sexual assault, particularly on college campuses, turning the spotlight on a problem that has devastated millions of Americans yet rarely receives such White House attention. Obama planned to sign a presidential memorandum Wednesday creating a task force to protect students from sexual assault, with a new White House report declaring that no one in America is more at risk of being raped or assaulted than college women. The report, “Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action,” says that 1 in 5 women have been sexually assaulted at college but
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Obama: Marijuana is safer than booze

President Barack Obama said he doesn’t think marijuana is more dangerous than alcohol, “in terms of its impact on the individual consumer.” “As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol,” the president said an interview with “The New Yorker” magazine. Smoking marijuana is “not something I encourage, and I’ve told my daughters I think it’s
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What Obama did and did not change on NSA spying

President Barack Obama is putting limits on the harvesting of Americans’ phone records and seeking revisions to a program that sweeps up email and Internet data around the world, seven months after former National Security Agency analyst Edward Snowden began divulging the secret spying. Some questions and answers about Obama’s plan: ___ Q: Why did Obama decide to make changes? A: The president has been under pressure since Snowden took an estimated 1.7 million documents from the NSA and gave them to journalists around the world. The U.S. public, Congress and allies overseas were shocked to learn the extent of
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Obama signs $1.1 trillion budget bill

President Barack Obama on Friday signed a $1.1 trillion spending bill that funds the federal government through the end of September. Obama put his signature on the 1,582-page measure the day before federal funding was set to run out. He made the short walk from the White House to sign it at a nearby conference center, saying he wanted the ceremony held there because the bill is the product of the hard work of the many budget office employees who work there. “We would not be here and we would not be able to sign this legislation if it hadn’t
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Michelle Obama turns 50, joins AARP

Michelle Obama turned 50 on Friday and promptly showed off her AARP card. “Excited to join Barack in the 50+ club today … check out my @AARP card!” the first lady told her more than 600,000 Twitter followers in a post that included a photo of her smiling and holding up the red-and-white membership card that bears her name. President Barack Obama turned 50 in 2011. Other than the Twitter pic, the first lady spent her big day out of sight, with no public appearances after back-to-back events at the White House earlier this week. It was probably a good
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Obama calls for changes in NSA spying

Seeking to calm a furor over U.S. surveillance, President Barack Obama on Friday called for ending the government’s control of phone data from hundreds of millions of Americans and immediately ordered intelligence agencies to get a secretive court’s permission before accessing such records. Still, he defended the nation’s spying apparatus as a whole, saying the intelligence community was not “cavalier about the civil liberties of our fellow citizens.” The president also directed America’s intelligence agencies to stop spying on friendly international leaders and called for extending some privacy protections to foreign citizens whose communications are scooped up by the U.S.
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