A Brand New Day™: Weekly Address. White House Blog Updates.


 

By Jueseppi B.

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Peter Welsch
Peter Welsch

February 01, 2014
06:00 AM EST

 

In his weekly address, President Obama discussed the goals he laid out in the State of the Union address to expand opportunity for all so that every American can get ahead and have a shot at creating a better life for their kids.

 

 

 

VIDEO MENSAJE DE LA CASA BLANCA: Temas del Estado de la Unión de 2014

February 01, 2014 | 2:43 |Public Domain

 

En el mensaje de esta semana, la Directora de los Medios Hispanos Katherine Vargas habló sobre los temas del Estado de la Unión del martes. El Presidente presentó un conjunto de propuestas prácticas y concretas para hacer crecer la economía, fortalecer la clase media, y para empoderar a todas las personas que desean ser parte de la clase media.

 

 

 

Weekly Address: Restoring Opportunity for All

WASHINGTON, DC— In this week’s address, the President discussed the goals he laid out in the State of the Union address to expand opportunity for all so that every American can get ahead and have a shot at creating a better life for their kids.

 

The audio of the address and video of the address will be available online atwww.whitehouse.gov at 6:00 a.m. ET, Saturday, February 1, 2014.

 

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
February 1, 2014

 

Hi, everybody.

 

This week, I delivered my State of the Union Address. Today, here’s the three-minute version.

 

After four years of economic growth with eight million new private sector jobs, our unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in more than five years.  And with the economy speeding up, companies say they intend to hire more people this year.

 

But while those at the top are doing better than ever, average wages have barely budged.  Inequality has deepened.  Too many Americans are working harder and harder just to get by.  And too many still aren’t working at all.

 

Our job is to reverse those trends.  It’s time to restore opportunity for all people – the idea that no matter who you are, if you work hard and live up to your responsibilities, you can make it if you try.

 

The opportunity agenda I laid out on Tuesday has four parts. This week, I took them on the road.

 

Job one is more new jobs: jobs in construction and manufacturing, jobs in innovation and energy.

 

In Wisconsin, I talked with plant workers at GE about part two: training more Americans with the skills to fill those new jobs.

 

In Tennessee, I talked with students about part three: guaranteeing every child access to a world-class education, from early childhood, through college, and right into a career.

 

And with steelworkers in Pittsburgh, and retail workers in Maryland, I laid out part four: making sure hard work pays off for men and women, with wages you can live on, savings you can retire on, and health insurance that’s there for you when you need it.

 

These ideas will strengthen the middle class and help more people work their way into the middle class.  Some of them will require Congress.  But wherever I can take steps to expand opportunity for more families on my own, I will.  I’m going to ask business leaders, education leaders, and philanthropic leaders to partner with us to advance these goals.

 

And every single day, I’m going to fight for these priorities – to shift the odds back in favor of more working and middle-class Americans, and to keep America a place where you can always make it if you try.

 

Thanks.  Have a great weekend.  And enjoy the Super Bowl.

 

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January 31st 2014: Photo of the Day

 

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden provide encouragement to Erick Varela, who was about to introduce the President, prior to an event to outline new efforts to help the long-term unemployed, in the Green Room of the White House, Jan. 31, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden provide encouragement to Erick Varela, who was about to introduce the President, prior to an event to outline new efforts to help the long-term unemployed, in the Green Room of the White House, Jan. 31, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

 

White House Schedule – Week Of February 3rd to 6th 2014

 

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On Monday, the President will attend meetings at the White House.

 

On Tuesday, the President will deliver remarks on education. In the evening, the President will host the House Democratic Caucus for a roundtable and reception at the White House. The Vice President will also attend.

 

On Wednesday, the President will deliver remarks at the Senate Democratic Issues Conference.

 

On Thursday, the President will deliver remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast. The Vice President and the First Lady will also attend. Later, the President will meet with President Martelly of Haiti at the White House.

 

Details about Friday’s schedule will be released as they become available.

 

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Proud To Be

 

Published on Jan 27, 2014

Watch the #BigGame commercial the NFL would never air. Get involved by contacting the Washington Professional Football Team, the NFL and the Washington Post.

 

 

 

President Obama Gets Asked “How Are You?” in a Google+ Hangout

January 31, 2014 | 4:23 |Public Domain

 

During a virtual road trip on Google+, President Obama answered questions from people joining around the country. Including Rob in Portland who asked, “How are you?” Watch what President Obama had to say.

 

 

 

Press Briefing

January 31, 2014 | 47:43 |Public Domain

 

White House Press Briefings are conducted most weekdays from the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room in the West Wing.

 

 

 

Remarks by the President on Giving the Long-Term Unemployed a Fair Shot

January 31, 2014 | 20:58 |Public Domain

East Room.

 

 

 

West Wing Week 01/31/14 or “West Wing Week Turns 200!”

January 30, 2014 | 6:57 |Public Domain

 

This anniversary episode, hosted by the President, coincides with this year’s State of the Union Address. We’ll take you behind the scenes and on the road to speak directly with Americans like you about your lives and your families, and how together we can make sure that every American who works and studies hard has a real chance to get ahead.

 

 

Friday, January 24th

  • The President participated in pre-State of the Union preparations.

 

Tuesday, January 28th

 

Wednesday, January 29th

  • The President toured the Costco in Lanham, Marylandand spoke on the company’s leadership on employee pay.
  • Later that day, the President toured the US Steel Irvin Plant in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania to speak on making hard work pay off for every single American.

 

Thursday, January 30th

  • The President toured the General Electric gas engines factory and discussed the rebounding of the U.S. manufacturing sector in Waukesha, Wisconsin
  • Then, the President delivered a speech on educational opportunity at McGavock High School

 

 

The White House Blog

 

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Kori Schulman
Kori Schulman

January 31, 2014
07:51 PM EST

 

President Barack Obama participates in a virtual road trip across the country via Google+ President Barack Obama participates in a virtual road trip across the country via Google+ Hangouts to discuss the issues and policies that he laid out in the State of the Union address, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. January 31, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

This afternoon, President Obama traveled (virtually) around the country via Google+ Hangout to answer questions about his State of the Union Address from everyday Americans. Starting on the West Coast and heading East, the President spoke to Sheila in San Francisco about immigration reform; Darnell, a fry cook at a fast-food company in Milwaukee, about raising the minimum wage; and Rob in Portland who simply asked, “how are you?

 

Watch the full video of the Hangout below, or over on YouTube. And be sure to follow the White House on Google+ for more opportunities to engage with the President and his administration.

 

 

 

New Transit Projects Connect Communities to Opportunities

 

Road Trip with President Obama

 

President Obama Extends Best Wishes for the Lunar New Year

 

President Obama Travels the Country to Promote Opportunity for All

 

Mad Men, Working Women, and Fair Pay

 

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President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden provide encouragement to Erick Varela, who was about to introduce the President, prior to an event to outline new efforts to help the long-term unemployed, in the Green Room of the White House, Jan. 31, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden provide encouragement to Erick Varela, who was about to introduce the President, prior to an event to outline new efforts to help the long-term unemployed, in the Green Room of the White House, Jan. 31, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Harriet Tubman born Araminta Harriet Ross; 1820 – March 10, 1913

Harriet Tubman born Araminta Harriet Ross; 1820 – March 10, 1913

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President Barack Obama signs a memorandum directing the federal government not to discriminate against those long-term unemployed workers in its own hiring practices

President Barack Obama signs a memorandum directing the federal government not to discriminate against those long-term unemployed workers in its own hiring practices

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Barack Hussein Obama Takes A Seat With “The Leads” Jake Tapper, For CNN.


 

By Jueseppi B.

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CNN Big Moments in January Promo

 

Published on Jan 31, 2014

A promo featuring some highlights from the biggest interviews on CNN in January.

 

 

 

From CNN:

 

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CNN Exclusive: President Obama says he’s not recalibrating ambitions

 

By Jake Tapper and Chelsea J. Carter, CNN

 

Waukesha, Wisconsin (CNN) — Once, Barack Obama spoke of what he wanted for his presidency in terms of healing a nation divided. “This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow, and our planet began to heal,” he said.

 

Today, Obama is talking about executive orders and executive actions — with a pen or phone — if a divided Congress won’t or can’t act on an agenda he laid out this week in his State of the Union address.

 

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But in an exclusive interview airing Friday on CNN, the President insists he has not recalibrated his ambitions.

 

“In no way are my expectations diminished or my ambitions diminished. But what is obviously true is we’ve got a divided government right now,” Obama said.

 

“The House Republicans, in particular, have had difficulty rallying around any agenda, much less mine. And in that kind of environment, what I don’t want is the American people to think that the only way for us to make big change is through legislation. We’ve all got to work together to continue to provide an opportunity for the next generation.”

 

Just days after his address to the nation, where he blended hopeful calls for a unified approach with declarations of presidential independence through executive orders, he sounded less than confident that Congress would come around.

 

“I think there are some issues where it’s going to be tough for them to move forward, and I am going to continue to reach out to them and say here are my best ideas, I want to hear yours,” the President said during the interview conducted in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

 

“But, as I said in the State of the Union, I can’t wait. And the American people, more importantly, cannot wait.”

 

Among the actions the President has taken is securing commitments from some of the nation’s largest companies for a plan to boost hiring of the long-term unemployed.

 

“What we have done is to gather together 300 companies, just to start with, including, some of the top 50 companies in the country, companies like Wal-mart, and Apple, Ford and others, to say let’s establish best practices,” Obama said.

 

“Because they’ve been unemployed … so long, folks are looking at that gap in the resume and they’re weeding them out before these folks even get a chance for an interview.”

 

In a wide-ranging interview that touched on everything from security at the Winter Olympics to the legalization of pot, here is what else the President had to say:

 

‘The imperial presidency?’

Since the President announced 12 areas where he would take executive actions — from raising the minimum wage for federal workers to creating a “starter” retirement savings account — that would bypass Congress, he has been under fire from a number of Congressional Republicans.

 

Sen. Ted Cruz described the actions as “the imperial presidency,” and House Republicans have threatened to rein in the President’s use of executive actions.

 

“I don’t think that’s very serious,” Obama said, adding that every president engages in executive actions.

 

CNN Exclusive: Obama’s diminished expectations?

 

Published on Jan 31, 2014

President Barack Obama gives his first interview since the State of the Union to CNN’s Jake Tapper.

 

 

He said his administration has been disciplined, taking such actions sparingly.

 

“We make sure we’re doing it within the authority that we have under the statute,” Obama said. “But I am not going to make an apology for saying that if I can help middle class families and folks who are working hard to try to get in the middle class do a little bit better, then I’m going to do it.”

 

“It’s a tough argument for the other side to make that not only are they willing to not do anything, but they also want me not to do anything.”

 

And that he said would only make the low opinion Americans have of Congress even lower.

 

 

‘Not going to prejudge

The one area where Obama says he believes he can work with Republicans is on the subject of immigration and the path to citizenship, a cornerstone issue for Democrats.

 

Obama: GOP made progress on immigration

 

Published on Jan 31, 2014

President Obama discusses immigration reform in an exclusive interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper.

 

 

 

The major sticking point between Democrats and Republicans will likely be whether or not the estimated 11 million undocumented workers in this country be given a path to citizenship. Obama refused to say whether he would veto a bill that did not contain such a provision; it is likely that House Republicans would not pass any bill that included a path to citizenship.

 

“I’m not going to prejudge what gets to my desk,” he said.

 

On Thursday, House Republicans released a one-page document that outlined what they called the standards of immigration reform, which calls for legal status, but not citizenship.

 

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“I think the principle that we don’t want two classes of people in America is a principle that a lot of people agree with, not just me and not just Democrats. But I am encouraged by what Speaker (John) Boehner has said,” Obama said.

 

“… I genuinely believe that Speaker Boehner and a number of House Republicans, folks like Paul Ryan, really do want to get a serious immigration reform bill done. And keep in mind that the Senate bill and the legislation that I’ve supported already calls for a very long process of earning citizenship. You had to pay fines. You had to learn English. You had to pay back taxes. And you had to go to the back of the line. And at the end of that, you could get citizenship.”

 

 

The marijuana experiment

When it was pointed out that the President’s remarks to The New Yorker magazine about marijuana — which he described as a bad habit but not any worse for a person than alcohol — contradict the administration’s official policy on marijuana, Obama stood by his views.

 

Exclusive: Obama talks about pot

 

Published on Jan 31, 2014

President Barack Obama talks to CNN’s Jake Tapper about marijuana legalization in an exclusive interview.

 

 

 

The President declined to say whether he would support removing marijuana as a “Schedule One” narcotic, a classification that includes heroin and ecstasy.

 

“I stand by my belief based on the scientific evidence that marijuana for casual users, individual users, is subject to abuse, just like alcohol is and should be treated as a public health problem and challenge,” he said.

 

Obama said his main concern is the criminalization of marijuana use.

 

“My concern is when you end up having very heavy criminal penalties for individual users that have been applied unevenly and, in some cases, with a racial disparity,” he said.

 

“I think that is a problem. We’re going to see what happens in the experiments in Colorado and Washington. The Department of Justice under Eric Holder has said that we are going to continue to enforce federal laws.”

 

At the same time, the President said the federal government doesn’t have the resources to police whether somebody is “smoking a joint on the corner.”

 

Rather, he said, the government was working to make sure that drug traffickers and the spillover of violence from the drug trade are not “creeping out of this experiment that is taking place.”

 

Obama offered what he described as a “cautionary note” for those who see legalization of marijuana as a panacea.

 

“I think they have to ask themselves some tough questions, too. Because if we start having a situation where big corporations with lots of resources and distribution and marketing arms are suddenly going out there, peddling marijuana, then the levels of abuse that may take place are going to be higher,” he said.

 

 

‘Win back confidence’

Obama did not suggest that he was disappointed with National Intelligence Director James Clapper for not being honest in his testimony before Congress last year about the mass surveillance programs that were revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

 

Clapper later justified his untrue answer by saying it was the “least untruthful” one he could give. “Least untruthful” was not exactly a term Obama used on the campaign trail.

 

So did he have concerns about what Clapper said?

 

“I think that Jim Clapper himself would acknowledge, and has acknowledged, that he should have been more careful about how he responded,” Obama said.

 

“His concern was that he had a classified program that he couldn’t talk about, and he was in an open hearing in which he was asked, he was prompted to disclose a program, and so he felt he was caught between a rock and a hard place.”

 

The President acknowledged that the leaks, including details about the wide-ranging use of the surveillance programs, damaged the confidence of Americans as well as other nations.

 

“It’s going to take some time” to win back that confidence, he said. “It’s going to take some work, partly because the technology has just moved so quickly that discussions that needed to be had didn’t happen fast enough.”

 

 

Russia understands ‘the stakes here’

Neither the President, his wife nor his daughters will be attending the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

 

Asked what he would tell close friends who asked if they should attend amid security concerns, he said: “I’d tell them that I believe Sochi is safe and that there are always some risks in these large international gatherings.”

 

Obama on Olympics: I’d tell friends to go

 

Published on Jan 31, 2014

President Obama tells CNN’s Jake Tapper that the 2014 Olympics held in Sochi, Russia will be safe.

 

 

Much has been made about Russia’s ability to keep the athletes, coaches and spectators safe in a region where terror threats are very real.

 

“The Russian authorities understand the stakes here. They understand that there are potential threats that are out there, and we are coordinating with them,” he said.

 

“We’ve looked at their plans. I think we have a good sense of the security that they are putting in place to protect not only the athletes themselves, but also visitors there.”

 

In large settings like the Olympics, there is always some risk, Obama said.

 

“I don’t want to completely discount those. But as we’ve seen here in the United States, at the Boston Marathon, there were some risks if you have lone wolves or small cells of folks who are trying to do some damage,” he said.

 

That said, the President encouraged Americans traveling to the Olympics to register with the U.S. State Department and read the material posted on its web site about “prudent measures” people should take.

 

 

‘In harms way

During his State of the Union address, the President brought many to tears with a tribute to Army Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg, a veteran who was on his 10th deployment when he was injured by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.

 

Remsburg, who is now disabled, was sitting with first lady Michelle Obama when he was given a prolonged standing ovation.

 

Obama had met Remsburg before he deployed, before he was wounded.

 

As commander-in-chief, Obama said he meets what he describes as “amazing” service members who make up the country’s all-volunteer military.

 

“But it also means only 1% of the American people are in harms way, and their families are the ones bearing that burden,” Obama said. “Which means that when we make decisions about war, it is that much more important for lawmakers and the president to understand that there are consequences to this.”

 

Jake Tapper reported from Waukesha, Wisconsin; and Chelsea J. Carter wrote from Atlanta.

 

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“What are you doing for others?” #MLKDay Of Service


 

By Jueseppi B.

MLK-Day

 

 

 

President and First Lady, Vice President Biden, Cabinet Secretaries, Senior Administration Officials Honor Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service

 

President Barack Obama checks in on First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia as they prepare burritos while volunteering at the DC Central Kitchen in Washington, D.C., on Martin Luther King Day, January 20, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama checks in on First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia as they prepare burritos while volunteering at the DC Central Kitchen in Washington, D.C., on Martin Luther King Day, January 20, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Obama Honors MLK Holiday, Visits Soup Kitchen

 

Published on Jan 20, 2014

President Barack Obama and his family honored Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy of service Monday by helping a soup kitchen prepare its daily meals. (Jan. 20)

 

 

WASHINGTON, DC – To honor the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Day of Service and Dr. King’s life and legacy, the President and Mrs. Obama, the Vice President, Cabinet Secretaries, and other senior administration officials participated in community service projects and events.  The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service is an opportunity for all Americans to come together to help meet the needs of their communities and make an ongoing commitment to service throughout the year.

 

The First Family participated in a service project at the DC Central Kitchen, which is also celebrating its 25th anniversary today.  They were joined by Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett. They served alongside volunteers including a number of veterans who have continued to serve in their community through programs and organizations such as DC Central Kitchen, AmeriCorps VISTA, The Mission Continues, Team RWB, Teach for America, and Team Rubicon.  The First Family and Ms. Jarrett prepared meals for distribution to shelters in the local area.

 

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Also today, the Vice President delivered remarks at the National Action Network’s Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Breakfast. The Vice President then joined members of the Catholic Volunteer Network to serve hot lunch to guests at SOME (So Others Might Eat) in Washington, DC.

 

For more on the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Day of Service, please visit the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) at www.serve.gov/mlkday.

 

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“What are you doing for others?”

 

Published on Jan 20, 2014

The First Family commemorates the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr Day of Service by helping prepare meals at D.C. Central Kitchen alongside Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service.

 

 

On January 20th, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Cabinet Members will participate in the Day of Service in the Washington, DC area.   Events include the following:

 

  • Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew will serve by sorting and packing clothing for homeless veterans at the VA Medical Center in Washington, DC with American University Students and Public Allies (an AmeriCorps program);

 

  • Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker will serve food at Food and Friends, a local organization that prepares and delivers meals and groceries to people living with HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other life-challenging illnesses in the DC metropolitan area;

 

  • Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx will speak at the National Action Network’s Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Breakfast in Washington, DC;

 

  • Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will join CityYear corps members and local volunteers at Coolidge High School;

 

  • Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki will volunteer at SOME (So Others Might Eat);

 

  • Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Gina McCarthy will serve at the Marvin Gaye Community Greening Center;

 

  • Ambassador Michael Froman and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough will participate in Family and Community Fun Day alongside veterans and community members at Dunbar High School;

 

  • ONDCP Director Kerlikowske will serve at Clean and Sober Streets (C&SS), a 120-bed residential community in the Federal City Shelter Complex in Washington, DC;

 

  • Peace Corps Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet will visit with grade school children in collaboration with Little Friends for Peace, an award-winning organization centered on peace education; and

 

  • CNCS Director Wendy Spencer will participate in various service projects throughout Washington, DC.

 

  • In addition, on January 18th, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell participated in a service project at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.

 

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<> on August 22, 2011 in Washington, DC.

 

 

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Want To Know What Barack Hussein Obama Thinks About Race. Marijuana. So Do I.


 

By Jueseppi B.

Obama’s Presidency is on the clock. Hard as it has been to pass legislation, the coming year is a marker, the final interval before the fight for succession becomes politically all-consuming. Photograph by Pari Dukovic.

Obama’s Presidency is on the clock. Hard as it has been to pass legislation, the coming year is a marker, the final interval before the fight for succession becomes politically all-consuming. Photograph by Pari Dukovic.

 

From The New Yorker Magazine:

 

ANNALS OF THE PRESIDENCY

GOING THE DISTANCE

On and off the road with Barack Obama.

 

BY 

 

On the Sunday afternoon before Thanksgiving, Barack Obama sat in the office cabin of Air Force One wearing a look of heavy-lidded annoyance. The Affordable Care Act, his signature domestic achievement and, for all its limitations, the most ambitious social legislation since the Great Society, half a century ago, was in jeopardy. His approval rating was down to forty per cent—lower than George W. Bush’s in December of 2005, when Bush admitted that the decision to invade Iraq had been based on intelligence that “turned out to be wrong.” Also, Obama said thickly, “I’ve got a fat lip.”

 

That morning, while playing basketball at F.B.I. headquarters, Obama went up for a rebound and came down empty-handed; he got, instead, the sort of humbling reserved for middle-aged men who stubbornly refuse the transition to the elliptical machine and Gentle Healing Yoga. This had happened before. In 2010, after taking a self-described “shellacking” in the midterm elections, Obama caught an elbow in the mouth while playing ball at Fort McNair. He wound up with a dozen stitches. The culprit then was one Reynaldo Decerega, a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. Decerega wasn’t invited to play again, though Obama sent him a photograph inscribed “For Rey, the only guy that ever hit the President and didn’t get arrested. Barack.”

 

This time, the injury was slighter and no assailant was named—“I think it was the ball,” Obama said—but the President needed little assistance in divining the metaphor in this latest insult to his person. The pundits were declaring 2013 the worst year of his Presidency. The Republicans had been sniping at Obamacare since its passage, nearly four years earlier, and HealthCare.gov, a Web site that was undertested and overmatched, was a gift to them. There were other beribboned boxes under the tree: Edward Snowden’s revelations about the National Security Agency; the failure to get anything passed on gun control or immigration reform; the unseemly waffling over whether the Egyptian coup was a coup; the solidifying wisdom in Washington that the President was “disengaged,” allergic to the forensic and seductive arts of political persuasion. The congressional Republicans quashed nearly all legislation as a matter of principle and shut down the government for sixteen days, before relenting out of sheer tactical confusion and embarrassment—and yet it was the President’s miseries that dominated the year-end summations.

 

Obama worried his lip with his tongue and the tip of his index finger. He sighed, slumping in his chair. The night before, Iran had agreed to freeze its nuclear program for six months. A final pact, if one could be arrived at, would end the prospect of a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities and the hell that could follow: terror attacks, proxy battles, regional war—take your pick. An agreement could even help normalize relations between the United States and Iran for the first time since the Islamic Revolution, in 1979. Obama put the odds of a final accord at less than even, but, still, how was this not good news?

 

The answer had arrived with breakfast. The Saudis, the Israelis, and the Republican leadership made their opposition known on the Sunday-morning shows and through diplomatic channels. Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, called the agreement a “historic mistake.” Even a putative ally like New York Senator Chuck Schumer could go on “Meet the Press” and, fearing no retribution from the White House, hint that he might help bollix up the deal. Obama hadn’t tuned in. “I don’t watch Sunday-morning shows,” he said. “That’s been a well-established rule.” Instead, he went out to play ball.

 

Usually, Obama spends Sundays with his family. Now he was headed for a three-day fund-raising trip to Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, rattling the cup in one preposterous mansion after another. The prospect was dispiriting. Obama had already run his last race, and the chances that the Democratic Party will win back the House of Representatives in the 2014 midterm elections are slight. The Democrats could, in fact, lose the Senate.

 

For an important trip abroad, Air Force One is crowded with advisers, military aides, Secret Service people, support staff, the press pool. This trip was smaller, and I was along for the ride, sitting in a guest cabin with a couple of aides and a staffer who was tasked with keeping watch over a dark suit bag with a tag reading “The President.”

 

Obama spent his flight time in the private quarters in the nose of the plane, in his office compartment, or in a conference room. At one point on the trip from Andrews Air Force Base to Seattle, I was invited up front for a conversation. Obama was sitting at his desk watching the Miami Dolphins–Carolina Panthers game. Slender as a switch, he wore a white shirt and dark slacks; a flight jacket was slung over his high-backed leather chair. As we talked, mainly about the Middle East, his eyes wandered to the game. Reports of multiple concussions and retired players with early-onset dementia had been in the news all year, and so, before I left, I asked if he didn’t feel at all ambivalent about following the sport. He didn’t.

 

“I would not let my son play pro football,” he conceded. “But, I mean, you wrote a lot about boxing, right? We’re sort of in the same realm.”

 

The Miami defense was taking on a Keystone Kops quality, and Obama, who had lost hope on a Bears contest, was starting to lose interest in the Dolphins. “At this point, there’s a little bit of caveat emptor,” he went on. “These guys, they know what they’re doing. They know what they’re buying into. It is no longer a secret. It’s sort of the feeling I have about smokers, you know?”

 

Obama chewed furtively on a piece of Nicorette. His carriage and the cadence of his conversation are usually so measured that I was thrown by the lingering habit, the trace of indiscipline. “I’m not a purist,” he said.

 

The Entire Article By  Can & Should Be Read Here….ANNALS OF THE PRESIDENCYGOING THE DISTANCE.

 

Thank you The New Yorker Magazine

 

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From The Washington Post:

 

17 highlights from the New Yorker’s Interview With The President

By Zachary Goldfarb

 

President Obama sat for lengthy interviews with New Yorker magazine editor David Remnick, who has written a nearly 17,000-word profile of the president as he begins his sixth year in office. Remnick interviewed Obama for hours in the Oval Office and on Air Force One late last year and earlier this month. The story is a great long-read, and you should get a cup of your favorite hot beverage and sit down with it for an hour. But here are the highlights — roughly in order of how they appeared in the story — for those on a tighter schedule:

 

1. The NFL: Obama feels fine about watching football despite the reports of severe concussions and retired players with brain damage. “I would not let my son play pro football,” he said. “But … these guys, they know what they’re doing. They know what they’re buying into. It is no longer a secret. It’s sort of the feeling I have about smokers, you know?”

 

2. Obama’s memoir: When Obama leaves the White House, he will write a memoir that literary agent Andrew Wylie predicted would fetch $17 million to $20 million. First lady Michelle Obama has already started to work on her memoir. Marty Nesbitt, Obama’s friend, said the president will likely focus on “human rights, education, and health and wellness.”

 

3.  Race: Obama acknowledges that the color of his skin might have affect how some Americans perceive his presidency, but he doesn’t think it has a major overall effect one way or the other. “There’s no doubt that there’s some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black President,” he said. “Now, the flip side of it is there are some black folks and maybe some white folks who really like me and give me the benefit of the doubt precisely because I’m a black President.”

 

4. What’s in Obama’s bag: Remnick tells readers what Marvin Nicholson, Obama’s body man, carries in a bag for the president: “pens, the briefing books, the Nicorette, the Sharpies, the Advil, the throat lozenges, the iPad, the iPod, the protein bars, the bottle of Black Forest Berry Honest Tea.”

 

5. Obama has started socializing more: Obama said he hadn’t socialized more in the past because he has two young daughters at home. “I had two young daughters who I wanted to spend time with—and that I wasn’t in a position to work the social scene in Washington,” he said. But now that they’re older, Obama and his wife have been hosting more dinners, with the president drinking a Martini or two, and Obama sometimes pushing guests to stay past 1 a.m. “I’m a night owl! Have another drink,” the president encouraged one set of guests.

 

6. Obama meets with presidential historians: Obama has had a number of presidential historians over as guests, including Doris Kearns Goodwin and Robert Caro, whose work on Lyndon Johnson often is cited as an example of how a president can more effectively get in his agenda through Congress. Remnick writes: “At the most recent dinner he attended at the White House, Caro had the distinct impression that Obama was cool to him, annoyed, perhaps, at the notion appearing in the press that his latest Johnson volume was an implicit rebuke to him. As we were leaving, I said to Obama, ‘You know, my book wasn’t an unspoken attack on you, it’s a book about Lyndon Johnson,’  Caro recalled.” Obama and his team continue to rebuff the idea that more social outings and pressure would lead Republicans to embrace his ideas. Obama pointed out that when Johnson “lost that historic majority [in Congress], and the glow of that landslide victory faded, he had the same problems with Congress that most Presidents at one point or another have.”

 

7. Marijuana: Obama said he is most concerned about the impact of drug laws on minorities and the poor.  “Middle-class kids don’t get locked up for smoking pot, and poor kids do,” he said. “And African-American kids and Latino kids are more likely to be poor and less likely to have the resources and the support to avoid unduly harsh penalties.” He added that he supports Colorado and Washington’s efforts to “go forward” with their efforts at legalization and decriminalization.

 

8. Malia’s career plans: Obama’s older daughter, Malia, wants to be a filmmaker.

 

9. Obama’s must-do list: Remnick asked Obama about what he must get done before the end of 2016. He responded,”I will measure myself at the end of my presidency in large part by whether I began the process of rebuilding the middle class and the ladders into the middle class, and reversing the trend toward economic bifurcation in this society.”

 

10. Iran: Remnick writes that Obama believes if the current diplomatic efforts with Iran prevail, it could bring a new stability to the region.  “It would be profoundly in the interest of citizens throughout the region if Sunnis and Shias weren’t intent on killing each other,” Obama said. “And although it would not solve the entire problem, if we were able to get Iran to operate in a responsible fashion — not funding terrorist organizations, not trying to stir up sectarian discontent in other countries, and not developing a nuclear weapon — you could see an equilibrium developing between Sunni, or predominantly Sunni, Gulf states and Iran in which there’s competition, perhaps suspicion, but not an active or proxy warfare.”

 

11. Syria: Obama said he feels confident that he has made the right decisions on Syria, although he confided, when prompted, that he is “haunted by what’s happened” there. But, he added, “It is very difficult to imagine a scenario in which our involvement in Syria would have led to a better outcome, short of us being willing to undertake an effort in size and scope similar to what we did in Iraq.”

 

12. Drones: Obama also defended his strategy of using drones to kill terrorism suspects abroad, saying that his “preference” remains to capture and prosecute them, but if that proves infeasible, “I cannot stand by and do nothing.” He continued, “What I’ve tried to do is to tighten the process so much and limit the risks of civilian casualties so much that we have the least fallout from those actions. But it’s not perfect.”

 

13.  NSA/Snowden: Obama said he does not regard the leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden as comparable to the Pentagon Papers or other leaks vindicated by history.  Remnick writes: “The leaks, he said, had ‘put people at risk’ but revealed nothing illegal. And though the leaks raised ‘legitimate policy questions’ about N.S.A. operations, ‘the issue then is: Is the only way to do that by giving some twenty-nine-year-old free rein to basically dump a mountain of information, much of which is definitely legal, definitely necessary for national security, and should properly be classified?’”

 

14. Clemency for Snowden: Asked about the prospect of a deal with Snowden, Obama responded, “I do not have a yes/no answer on clemency for Edward Snowden. This is an active case, where charges have been brought.”

 

15. How to address inequality: Although he is focused on inequality and economic opportunity, Obama recognizes he will have a limited capacity to address the issues. “The appetite for tax-and-transfer strategies, even among Democrats, much less among independents or Republicans, is probably somewhat limited.” Obama said. “Marshall Plan for the inner city is not going to get through Congress anytime soon.”

 

16. His key strength: Obama believes that his equanimity endures as one of his key strengths. “I have strengths and I have weaknesses, like every president, like every person,” he said. “I do think one of my strengths is temperament. I am comfortable with complexity, and I think I’m pretty good at keeping my moral compass while recognizing that I am a product of original sin.”

 

17. A president’s limited power to change: Obama said that even the greatest presidents — like Abraham Lincoln — had to operate in the currents of history. “[D]espite being the greatest President, in my mind, in our history, it took another hundred and fifty years before African-Americans had anything approaching formal equality, much less real equality. I think that doesn’t diminish Lincoln’s achievements, but it acknowledges that at the end of the day we’re part of a long-running story. We just try to get our paragraph right.” Remnick concludes the story with Obama saying, “I just wanted to add one thing to that business about the great-man theory of history. The President of the United States cannot remake our society, and that’s probably a good thing.” Obama then adds, “Not ‘probably’. It’s definitely a good thing.”

 

Thank you  Zachary Goldfarb &  The Washington Post.

 

 

ZDF Interview  Claus Kleber with President Barack Hussein Obama, January 18, 2014.

ZDF Interview Claus Kleber with President Barack Hussein Obama, January 18, 2014.

 

ZDF Interview with Claus Kleber Barack Obama – heute journal 18 January 2014 (English original version)

 

Published on January 18, 2014

U.S. President Barack Obama wants to regain lost trust. He admits in an interview with Claus Kleber data misuse and expresses understanding for the concerns of German citizens.

 

 

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