President Barack Obama's top aides met frequently with lobbyists and health care industry heavyweights as his administration pieced together a national health care overhaul, according to White House visitor records obtained by The Associated Press.
The records, obtained Wednesday, disclose visits by a broad cross-section of the people most involved in the health care debate, weighted heavily toward those who want to overhaul the system.
Like just about everything else these days, President Barack Obama's first State Dinner is generating controversy from the rabid right.
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann examines politics and State Dinners with Congressional Quarterly's Craig Crawford. From Tuesday's "Countdown"Read More
President Barack Obama expects Americans to support more U.S. troops in Afghanistan once they understand the perils of losing, and he is preparing to make his case to the nation next week.
Eight years after the Sept. 11 attacks led the U.S. into Afghanistan, Obama said it is still in America's vital national interest to "dismantle and destroy" al-Qaida terrorists and extremist allies. "I intend to finish the job," he said.
Obama said he would announce after Thanksgiving his decision on additional troops, and military, congressional and other sources said the occasion would be a Tuesday night televised speech laying out his plans for expanding the Afghan conflict — and then ultimately ending America's military role.
The third anniversary of the signing of the U.S.-Colombia free trade pact came and went this month with the Obama administration still negotiating the fine print, Congress showing little interest and business groups frustrated by the lack of action on trade deals.
"For most of 2009 we were willing to sit on our hands" as the new president struggled with the recession and health care, said Bill Lane, a government affairs official for Caterpillar Inc.
"We can't maintain that anymore. It's time we started moving forward," said Lane, who is also corporate co-chairman of the Latin American Trade Coalition.
President Barack Obama's job approval rating has dropped below 50 percent in a second major poll in an indication he is suffering from the long healthcare debate and weakness in the economy, Gallup said on Friday.
Gallup said 49 percent of Americans approved of Obama's job performance. A survey by Quinnipiac University on Wednesday had a similar finding, putting him at 48 percent support.
It was the first time he had fallen below majority support in those two polls. He had been polling in the low 50s for months after taking office in January with an approval rating just under 70 percent.
Some conservative commentators seized on President Barack Obama's deep bow to Japan's Emperor Akihito over the weekend, accusing the U.S. commander in chief of groveling before a foreign leader.
So did he?
While it may have been an awkward moment, it wasn't without precedent. And it appeared to be well within protocol guidelines that the State Department issues for foreign service officers working in other countries.
U.S. presidents from both political parties have often been criticized for their attempts at culturally sensitive greetings to high-ranking foreigners.
Former President George W. Bush, a Republican, was mocked for holding Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah's hand, a traditional sign of friendship in the Middle East, as they strolled together in 2005.
President Barack Obama on Saturday urged Congress to hold off on any investigation of the Fort Hood rampage until federal law enforcement and military authorities have completed their probes into the shootings at the Texas Army post, which left 13 people dead.
On an eight-day Asia trip, Obama turned his attention home and pleaded for lawmakers to "resist the temptation to turn this tragic event into the political theater." He said those who died on the nation's largest Army post deserve justice, not political stagecraft.
"The stakes are far too high," Obama said in a video and Internet address released by the White House while the president he was flying from Tokyo to Singapore, where Pacific Rim countries were meeting.
President Barack Obama's drawn-out decision-making on Afghanistan is sending messages. To the Afghan government: Clean up your act. To the Pentagon: I'm no rubber stamp. To the American public: More troops can't be the sole answer.
Obama has been accused by some Republicans of "dithering" about whether to send more troops and deepen U.S. involvement in an increasingly unpopular war.
The slow process also has left him open to critics who recall his pronouncement in March, after developing what he called a "stronger, smarter and comprehensive" Afghan war strategy, that the situation there was "increasingly perilous." He ordered more troops to battle then, with little discernible result so far.
President Barack Obama won't accept any of the Afghanistan war options before him without changes, a senior administration official said, as concerns soar over the ability of the Afghan government to secure its own country one day.
Obama's stance comes as his own ambassador in Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry, is voicing strong dissent about a U.S. troop increase, according to a second administration official.
Eikenberry's misgivings center on a concern that bolstering the American presence in Afghanistan could make the country more reliant on the U.S., not less. He expressed them in forcefully worded cables to Washington just ahead of Obama's latest war meeting Wednesday.
Three decades of airline deregulation have helped make air travel more accessible to consumers through lower fares.
Now labor unions are questioning whether the industry is paying the price, and the Obama administration is listening.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was holding a forum Thursday to discuss the state of the airline industry, which is mired in a severe economic slump and blamed for using a business model critics say undermines safety. The industry has suffered repeated shocks in recent years, including the 9/11 terror attacks, the SARS virus, volatile oil prices and the current economic downturn.
"U.S. aviation is facing severe economic uncertainty, and an open and frank conversation will help begin a continuing dialogue about the industry's future," Transportation Department spokeswoman Sasha Johnson said.