Archives for White House

Obama to agency heads: Give me budget cuts

President Barack Obama said Saturday he will ask all of his department and agency heads for specific proposals for cutting their budgets at his Cabinet meeting early next week as he searches for ways to streamline government spending.

Obama, who is attending the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad this weekend, said in his weekly radio and Internet address that he would make the request for cuts Monday at a Cabinet meeting.

Read More

Obama’s week of change & turmoil

In a whirlwind week of change, President Barack Obama jettisoned Bush administration policy on greenhouse gases, shone an unforgiving light on its support for torture as an interrogation tactic and eased its restrictions on Cuba.

But there are limits, even to this new president's power, and a campaign pledge to seek a ban on assault weapons is an early casualty as a result.

And while the promise of change was arguably Obama's single most powerful asset in last year's campaign, the week demonstrated anew how carefully he calibrates its impact.

Read More

A new dream of train travel

For years, they were a staple of sci-fi movies. Shining steel rail lines crisscrossing high above the cities of the future as passengers inside were whisked around at fantastic speeds.

Now, President Obama wants to make them real. He said so the other day as that inveterate Amtrak rider/supporter Vice-President Joe Biden stood beside him, salivating.

Read More

Obama vows reform of ‘monstrous’ tax code

President Barack Obama promised Americans his administration would reform the "monstrous" U.S. tax system as millions faced the dreaded annual deadline on Wednesday for filing income tax returns.

Obama used Tax Day, a national ritual of public frustration due to the confusing tax code, to underscore his drive to cut taxes for many Americans while increasing spending to jolt the United States out of its worst recession in decades.

Read More

Obama offers economic realities

Aiming to assert control over the nation's economic debate, President Barack Obama on Tuesday warned Americans eager for good news that "by no means are we out of the woods" and argued his broad domestic agenda is the path to recovery.

In a speech at Georgetown University, Obama aimed to juggle his recent glass-half-full takes on the economy with a determination to not be stamped as naive in the face lingering problems. He summarized actions his administration has taken to steady the limping economy and coupled that with a fresh overview of his domestic goals.
Read More

Obama lifts travel restrictions to Cuba

In a measured break with a half-century of U.S. policy toward communist Cuba, the Obama administration lifted restrictions Monday on Cuban-Americans who want to travel and send money to their island homeland.

In a further gesture of openness, U.S. telecommunications firms were freed to seek business there, too. But the broader U.S. trade embargo remained in place.

Read More

Obama sails clear of pirate crisis

The triumphant end to the Somali pirate crisis let President Barack Obama sail unscathed out of a tricky political squall and may have earned him early stripes as US commander-in-chief.

The seizure by heavily-armed pirates of US merchant Captain Richard Phillips was widely portrayed in the US media as a first test of nerve for the new president, at a time when political critics were ready to pounce.

Read More

Finally, action instead of talk

Finally, there comes an end to negotiations with international thugs.

The surgical removal by snipers to take out three of the pirates holding Capt. Richard Phillips wasn't without future risk to those who venture into the Indian Ocean but it may be the only approach the kidnappers from Somalia understand. And if it leads to more violence as hand wringers warn, it may just be the price of securing some freedom on the high seas. Furthermore, a decision to continue to negotiate rather than respond firmly undoubtedly would prolong the overall threat to shipping that has emboldened the brigands and made them wealthy with ransom money.

Read More

Gates makes news and policy

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, the Bush Cabinet officer who agreed to remain in place in the Obama administration, is demonstrating considerable policy courage.

So far, at least, he has shown himself to be a man for all seasons, politically speaking. In a very partisan time, with particularly intense rancor between Democrats and Republicans, he has been quite adept at bridging the great divide. Indeed, Gates is the first Pentagon head in history to continue in the post after an election resulted in a change in party in the White House.

Read More