Archives for White House

Mixed reviews as Obamacare enters second year

The first 50-state report on the latest sign-up season under President Barack Obama’s health care law shows that more than 4 million people selected plans for the first time or re-enrolled. The administration called it “an encouraging start.” More than 3.4 million people enrolled using HealthCare.gov as of Dec. 15, and more than 600,000 people selected plans in the state-run marketplaces, according to a Health and Human Services Department report released Tuesday. The figures are generally up to date through Dec. 13. About half of those enrolling are first-timers and half are returning customers, suggesting there are about 2 million
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Is Barack Obama still relevant?

It was supposed to be a joke. “Are you still president?” comedian Stephen Colbert asked Barack Obama earlier this month. But the question seemed to speak to growing weariness with the president and skepticism that anything will change in Washington during his final two years in office. Democrats already are checking out Obama’s potential successors. Emboldened Republicans are trying to push aside his agenda in favor of their own. At times this year, Obama seemed ready to move on as well. He rebelled against the White House security “bubble,” telling his Secret Service detail to give him more space. He
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Obama salutes end of American role in Afghanistan

President Barack Obama marked the end of more than a decade of combat in Afghanistan by paying tribute to America’s military, telling troops on Christmas Day that their sacrifices have allowed for a more peaceful, prosperous world to emerge out of the ashes of 9/11. At an oceanfront Marine Corps base in Hawaii, Obama told troops that while tough challenges remain for the U.S. military in hotspots like Iraq and West Africa, the world as a whole is better off because American troops put country first and served with distinction. He said Americans and their president could not be more
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Obama started 2014 with high hopes

President Barack Obama had high hopes for 2014. Years of waiting for Congress to come around to his point of view had Obama’s patience wearing thin. So as he rang in the new year, the president declared that this would be a “year of action.” Almost daring lawmakers to stop him, he put the nation on notice that he planned to use whatever executive powers he could muster to move his agenda forward. “America does not stand still, and neither will I,” Obama said in his State of the Union address in January. On immigration, climate change and U.S.-Cuba relations,
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North Korea on ‘state terrorism sponsor’ list?

The United States is reviewing whether to put North Korea back onto its list of state sponsors of terrorism, President Barack Obama said as the U.S. decides how to respond to the cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment that law enforcement has blamed on the communist nation. Obama described the hacking case as a “very costly, very expensive” example of cybervandalism, but did not call it an act of war. In trying to fashion a proportionate response, the president said the U.S. would examine the facts to determine whether North Korea should find itself back on the terrorism sponsors list. “We’re
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Obama says Sony wrong to yank film over hack

President Barack Obama declared that Sony “made a mistake” in shelving a satirical film about a plot to assassinate North Korea’s leader, and he pledged the U.S. would respond “in a place and manner and time that we choose” to the hacking attack on Sony that led to the withdrawal. The FBI blamed the hack on the communist government. Speaking of executives at Sony Pictures Entertainment, Obama said Friday at a year-end news conference, “I wish they had spoken to me first. … We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship.” Obama said he
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Obama hoping for quiet vacation after tough year

A tumultuous year all but behind him, President Barack Obama set off for his annual winter getaway in Hawaii hoping for one thing: Quiet. Air Force One touched down late in the evening at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, with the president, first lady Michelle Obama, their daughters and two dogs on board. On Saturday, the family was to begin their roughly two-week retreat from the hubbub in Washington on the lush island of Oahu. Vacationing in Hawaii, where the president was born and spent much of his childhood, has been a tradition every year that Obama has been in the
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Obamacare off to good start of second year

Sign-up season for President Barack Obama’s health care law is off to a stronger start this year. But it’s not perfect, and Americans remain skeptical that the government’s newest social program is right for the country. As one major enrollment deadline loomed Monday, officials granted a last-minute extension for some consumers facing long telephone hold times at the federal call center. They were being asked to leave a number to get called back starting Tuesday. Public attitudes toward Obama’s signature law are only slightly less chilly than before the congressional midterm elections that saw Republicans, still clamoring for its repeal,
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Obama confronts Bush legacy over CIA report

For President Barack Obama, the long-delayed release of a scathing Senate report on harsh CIA interrogations underscores the degree to which the legacy of George W. Bush’s national security policies has shadowed the man elected to change or end them. While Obama banned waterboarding and other tactics upon taking office, his administration struggled for years with how to publicly reveal the scope of the program. Even as Obama claims closure in the torture debate, big chunks of Bush’s national security apparatus remain in place, including the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and sweeping government surveillance programs. Obama has
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Obama says racism, bias remain problems

President Barack Obama is prescribing time and vigilance to tackle problems as entrenched in American society as racism and bias. He also is urging patience, saying progress usually comes in small steps. In an interview with BET, the president described his conversation with a group of young civil rights activists, including a leader of protests in Ferguson, Missouri, he hosted last week in the Oval Office. Obama said he told them that “this is something that is deeply rooted in our society, it’s deeply rooted in our history.” America has made gains, and that “gives us hope” of making more
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