Archives for White House

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.


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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.
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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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Obama signals support for Mexico

President Barack Obama's visit to Mexico this week is a signal of support for President Felipe Calderon and his efforts to confront violent drug trafficking gangs, White House officials said on Monday.

The officials, briefing reporters on Obama's upcoming trip to Mexico and Trinidad, gave no indication the U.S. government was planning new initiatives on difficult issues like cross-border trucking or immigration before the visit.


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Obama will hedge on economic realities

President Barack Obama is trying to strike a careful balance between highlighting economic progress and underscoring continued challenges as he seeks to reverse the recession he inherited but now owns.

The president was slated to give an economic speech Tuesday at Georgetown University as his administration nears its symbolic 100-day mark. Aides billed the address as major but acknowledged that it was expected to contain no significant policy announcements.


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Obama passes first national security test

The U.S. economy is showing only glimmers of life and two costly wars remain in the balance, but President Barack Obama's "no drama" handling of the Indian Ocean hostage crisis proved a big win for his administration in its first critical national security test.

Obama's quiet backstage decision to authorize the Defense Department to take necessary action if Capt. Richard Phillips' life was in imminent danger gave a Navy commander the go-ahead to order snipers to fire on the pirates holding the cargo ship captain at gunpoint.


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