Archives for White House

Obama taps Washington outsider as attorney general

President Barack Obama has chosen federal prosecutor Loretta Lynch to be the next attorney general, sending a Washington outsider as a high-profile confirmation test amid a power shift in the Senate. Obama plans to announce Lynch’s nomination Saturday at a White House event that was quickly arranged after news organizations reported her selection Friday. He had planned to wait until later this month to introduce his trail-blazing choice — Lynch would be the first black woman in the job. The outgoing attorney general, Eric Holder, was the first black head of the Justice Department. But with their hand forced, White
Read More

The big question: Can Obama, GOP work together?

It’s Washington’s billion-dollar question: whether President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans can really make nice and forestall ever-greater dysfunction in a new era of divided government. The first clues will come when the president breaks bread with leaders from both parties at the White House. Three days after midterm elections that were brutal for Democrats, Obama is inviting 16 top-ranking lawmakers on Friday to search for territory ripe for compromise. On the agenda is a host of unfinished business that the current Congress must wrap up before a new, fully Republican-controlled Congress is seated early next year. The last meeting
Read More

Obama strikes defiant tone, says he is optimistic

For anyone expecting postelection contrition at the White House or vows to change course after a disastrous election for Democrats, President Barack Obama had one message Wednesday: Think again. A day after Democrats lost control of the Senate and suffered big losses in House and governors’ races across the country, Obama struck a defiant tone. He defended his policies, stood by his staff and showed few signs of changing an approach to dealing with congressional Republicans that has generated little more than gridlock in recent years. Rather than accept the election results as a repudiation of his own administration, the
Read More

Republican wins could help Obama’s trade pact

Big Republican gains on Election Day would be a blow to much of President Barack Obama’s agenda, but one stymied item on his to-do list might get a fresh chance to move forward: trade. That could breathe life into Asia-Pacific trade talks essential to his efforts to deepen engagement in the region. Obama needs special authority, known as fast track, to negotiate trade deals that Congress can accept or reject, but cannot change. It would smooth the way for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is under discussion with 11 nations, and help advance separate negotiations with the 28-member European Union. Fast-track
Read More

Obama campaigning in Maine in governor’s race

President Barack Obama is heading to Maine to rally votes for the Democratic candidate for governor, the latest in a burst of campaign appearances Obama is making before next week’s midterm elections after months of sitting on the sidelines because of his low approval ratings and unpopularity in some states. Obama is headlining a rally Thursday in Portland for Mike Michaud, a six-term congressman who hopes to unseat Republican Gov. Paul LePage in a neck-and-neck race. Independent candidate Eliot Cutler is running a distant third. Democrats hope a visit by Obama so close to Tuesday’s election will encourage Democrats to
Read More

Ebola focus tops Obama’s schedule

Rarely one to leave anything to chance, President Barack Obama is playing it by ear this week as his administration’s response to the Ebola scare continues to evolve. After waking up in his own bed Monday at his family’s home in Chicago, Obama plans to vote early for the midterms and attend a fundraiser for Democrats. How he’ll spend the rest of the week is anyone’s guess. That’s because Obama’s schedule this week is a work in progress, in a departure from the normal practice in which the president’s schedule is previewed days in advance. The blank slate reflects the
Read More

Wartime Obama overshadows his economic efforts

President Barack Obama’s escalating military campaign in Iraq and Syria has drowned out the economic pitch he hoped would help salvage a midterm election that has been favoring Republicans. But the airstrikes against Islamic State extremists have also introduced a new complicating factor into the fall campaign, forcing both sides to reassess their closing political messages. Obama is drawing new attention to the nation’s recovery from the Great Recession with a speech Thursday at Northwestern University, linking U.S. stature abroad to economic strength at home. It is a delicate argument for a president whose handling of pocketbook issues remains unpopular
Read More

Obama playing coy about naming new AG

Could the White House be hinting at when President Barack Obama might nominate a new attorney general? The White House won’t give away Obama’s timeline. But press secretary Josh Earnest pointed out Friday that there is precedent for the Senate confirming nominees in a lame-duck session, the weeks in Congress between the midterm elections and the new lawmakers are sworn in and seated. Some Republicans are urging Obama to delay a nomination until after a new Senate is sworn in next year. Democrats control the chamber now, but the majority is up for grabs in November. “Rather than rush a
Read More

For Obama, air strikes bring rare coalition victory

For President Barack Obama, the participation of five Arab nations in airstrikes against militants in Syria marked an unexpected foreign policy victory as he plunges the U.S. deeper into a military conflict in the Middle East that he has reluctantly embraced. The U.S. announced the strikes hours before Obama was due to arrive in New York for three days of talks with foreign leaders at the annual United Nations General Assembly. The cooperation by Arab partners provided a significant boost to Obama’s efforts to build an international coalition to take on the Islamic State militants who have moved freely across
Read More

Obama condemns latest beheading in Syria

President Barack Obama on Saturday condemned as a “barbaric murder” the slaying of British aid worker David Haines by Islamic State extremists. Haines was abducted last year in Syria, and extremists released a video on Saturday showing his beheading. In a statement issued Saturday night, Obama said the hearts of Americans go out to Haines’ family and the people of the United Kingdom. “The United States stands shoulder to shoulder tonight with our close friend and ally in grief and resolve,” Obama said. “We will work with the United Kingdom and a broad coalition of nations from the region and
Read More