President Barack Obama talks with 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed during the second Astronomy Night on the South Lawn of the White House. Invited to the White House for the science event, Mohamed was handcuffed and questioned by police last month when he brought a homemade electronic clock to class at MacArthur High School in Irving, TX, and officials ‘mistook’ it for a bomb.
Purchases of new homes jumped in August to a seven-year high as Americans took advantage of historically low mortgage rates. Sales climbed 5.7 percent to a 552,000 annualized pace, exceeding all forecasts of economists surveyed by Bloomberg and the highest since February 2008, from a 522,000 rate in July that was stronger than initially reported, a Commerce Department report showed Thursday in Washington.
Steady job gains and cheaper borrowing costs are bolstering demand for new homes, particularly as the supply of previously owned properties is still scant. Further healing in residential real estate should help underpin the U.S. economy amid weakness from the stronger dollar and slower overseas growth. “Housing has now finally started to participate more strongly” in the expansion, saidDavid Berson, chief economist at Nationwide Insurance in Columbus, Ohio, who projected sales would rise. “It’s quite likely we’ll continue to see the gains going forward.”
Today: President Obama greets Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg, alongside his father Craig, during a visit to Remsburg’s new home in Gilbert, Arizona (Photo by Doug Mills)
Washington Post (2013): They were introduced near Omaha Beach in France in 2009, when Sergeant Remsburg was part of a select Army Ranger group chosen to re-enact a parachute drop for celebrations of the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings in World War II.
Four months later, on Oct. 1 2009, Sergeant Remsburg was face down in a canal near Kandahar, thrown by the force of a quarter-ton roadside bomb, shrapnel penetrating his brain and right eye. He spent the next three months in a coma, through operations at military hospitals in Afghanistan, Germany and Bethesda, Md., outside Washington. Through the winter of 2010, he was at a veterans’ hospital in Tampa, Fla., where he slowly regained consciousness. In April 2010, he returned to Bethesda for surgery to rebuild his skull.
Their second meeting came less than a year later at a military hospital outside Washington, where Mr. Obama was stunned to see among the wounded troops from Afghanistan a familiar young man — now brain-damaged, a track of fresh stitches across his skull, and partly paralyzed…..
…. the President came for his annual physical and to visit patients. Entering a hospital room, he saw a photo on the wall — of himself and Sergeant Remsburg in Normandy — and did a double take, looking at the broken man lying there, and again at the strapping soldier in the frame.
“Cory still couldn’t speak, but he looked me in the eye,” the president said later. “He lifted his arm, and he shook my hand firmly. And when I asked how he was feeling, he held up his hand, pulled his fingers together and gave a thumbs up.”
The third meeting was in a private visit in Phoenix, where Sergeant Remsburg did something that neither Mr. Obama nor military doctors would once have predicted: he stood up and saluted his commander in chief.
There was more. Grasping his walker, “Cory took a step, then another, and then another,” Mr. Obama said later, “all the way across the room.”
In 2014, Sgt Remsburg was a guest of the President at the State of the Union
“I first met Cory Remsburg, a proud Army Ranger, at Omaha Beach on the 65th anniversary of D-Day. Along with some of his fellow Rangers, he walked me through the program – a strong, impressive young man, with an easy manner, sharp as a tack. We joked around, and took pictures, and I told him to stay in touch.
A few months later, on his tenth deployment, Cory was nearly killed by a massive roadside bomb in Afghanistan. His comrades found him in a canal, face down, underwater, shrapnel in his brain.
For months, he lay in a coma. The next time I met him, in the hospital, he couldn’t speak; he could barely move. Over the years, he’s endured dozens of surgeries and procedures, and hours of grueling rehab every day.
Even now, Cory is still blind in one eye. He still struggles on his left side. But slowly, steadily, with the support of caregivers like his dad Craig, and the community around him, Cory has grown stronger. Day by day, he’s learned to speak again and stand again and walk again – and he’s working toward the day when he can serve his country again.
“My recovery has not been easy,” he says. “Nothing in life that’s worth anything is easy.”
Cory is here tonight. And like the Army he loves, like the America he serves, Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg never gives up, and he does not quit.”
Army Ranger Sgt. First Class Cory Remsburg is applauded by his father Craig Remsburg, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel during President Obama’s remarks at the 70th French-American Commemoration D-Day Ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, France, June 6, 2014 (Photo by Pete Souza)
AZCentral: An ongoing physical recovery, a new home custom-made for his needs – the only other thing that would really make Cory Remsburg’s day was a visit from the president.
That’s just what happened Friday afternoon … which brought the sixth meeting between the former soldier and the commander-in-chief.
After a visit to Phoenix’s VA hospital, President Obama’s motorcade took an unscheduled detour, heading toward Gilbert and pulling up in front of Remsburg’s newly remodeled home.
… As the motorcade pulled out of Gilbert, Remsburg said the visit was “Completely unexpected,” and “very cool.”
“I’m just a sergeant first class,” he said. “I’m no big deal. He’s the commander-in-chief. He’s a very big deal.”
The home came to Remsburg from Homes for Wounded Warriors, the charity started by NFL player Jared Allen. The organization aims to remodel homes for the most severely disabled veterans who served in Afghanistan and Iraq. (More here)
President Obama visits with Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg and family members at his newly finished home in Gilbert, Arizona, March 13, 2015 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama inspects a guard of honor during his welcoming ceremony
Wing commander Puja Thakur of the Indian Air Force leads the guard of honor
First Post: Wing Commander Puja Thakur Leads Guard Of Honour for Obama, Scores A Win For Modi Govt
US President Barack Obama’s visit to India for the Republic Day parade is on the path of turning out to be a gigantic public relations success for the Narendra Modi government. Just two days after the Prime Minister launched the government’s ambitious ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ campaign, the country witnessed the first guard of honour in the country’s history led by a woman officer. Wing commander Puja Thakur of the Indian Air Force led the guard of honour in the Raj Bhavan in what is being hailed as a inspiring move by the Modi government.
NDTV reported: “President Obama was given a 21-gun salute at the forecourt of the majestic presidential palace, after which Wing Commander Thakur walked him for the inspection of the Guard of Honour. She is the first woman officer to lead a tri-services Guard of Honour.” Thakur told NDTV that while she was proud of the fact that she was allowed to lead the guard of honour, she really hoped that the incident inspired more women to join the armed forces in the country.
President Barack Obama pays tribute to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat
President Barack Obama folds his hands in a traditional Indian greeting gesture, as Indian President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi laugh during a ceremonial reception at the Indian presidential Palace in New Delhi
President Obama hugs nurse Nina Pham, who was declared free of the Ebola virus after contracting the disease while caring for a Liberian patient in Texas, during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House
Pete Souza: “Call him the baby soother. At the Congressional picnic on the South Lawn, the First Lady held a young baby who began crying (top photo). The President then came over to hold the same baby and was able to quiet her down as the First Lady reacted in astonishment in the background of the bottom photo.” June 15, 2011
Pete Souza: “We had just arrived at the helicopter landing zone in Chicago and instead of walking right to the motorcade, the President and First Lady walked past their vehicle to the edge of Lake Michigan to view the skyline of their home town.” June 15, 2012
First Lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama at a talent show in the East Room of the White House, May 20. President Obama’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities held the first-ever White House Talent Show featuring performances by major artists and showcasing the talents of students from schools participating in the Turnaround Arts program which helps to turn around low-performing schools and increase student achievement through arts education
President Obama speaks at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner
Thank You. Thank you so much. Thank you very much. Thank you. Everyone, please have a seat. Have a seat.
Before I get started, can we get the new presidential set up out here? [Laughter] It has worked before. [Laughter] That is more like it.
It is great to be back. What a year, huh? I usually start these dinners with a few self-deprecating jokes. After my stellar 2013, what can I possibly talk about? [Laughter]
I admit it — last year was rough. Sheesh. [Laughter]
At one point, things got so bad, the 47 percent called Mitt Romney to apologize. [Laughter]
Of course, we rolled out Healthcare.gov. That could have gone better. [Laughter]
In 2008, my slogan was “Yes, we can.” In 2013, my slogan was “Control, alt, delete.” [Laughter]
On the plus side, they did turn the launch of Healthcare.gov into one of the year’ s biggest movies. [Laughter] But rather than dwell on the past, I would like to pivot to this dinner.
Let’s welcome our headliner this evening, Joel McHale. [Applause] On “Community,” Joel plays a preening, self-obsessed narcissist, so this dinner must be a real change of pace for you. [Laughter] I want to thank the White House Correspondents Association for hosting us here tonight. I am happy to be here, even though I am a little jet-lagged from my trip to Malaysia. The lengths we have to go to to get CNN coverage these days. [Laughter] [applause]
I think they are still searching for their tables. [Laughter] [applause]
MSNBC is here. [Applause] They are a little overwhelmed. They’ve never seen an audience this big before. [Laughter]
Look, everyone is trying to keep up with this incredibly fast-changing media landscape. For example, I got a lot of grief on cable news for promoting Obamacare to young people on “Between Two Ferns.” But that’s what young people like to watch. And to be fair, I am not the first person on television between two potted plants. [Laughter] [applause]
Sometimes I do feel disrespected by you reporters. But that’s OK. Seattle Seahawks’ cornerback Richard Sherman is here tonight, and he gave me some great tips on how to handle it. Jake Tapper, don’t you ever talk about me like that! I am the best president in the game! What do you think, Richard, was that good? [Laughter] A little more feeling next time. [Laughter]
While we are talking sports, just last month, a wonderful story. An American won the Boston Marathon for the first time in 30 years. [Applause] Which was inspiring and only fair since a Kenyan has been president for the last six. We have to even things out.
We have some other athletes here tonight, including Olympic snowboarding gold medalist Jamie Anderson is here. We are proud of her. Incredibly talented young lady. Michelle and I watch the Olympics, we cannot believe what these folks do. Death-defying feats. We haven’t seen somebody pull a 180 that fast since Rand Paul disinvitied that disgruntled rancher from this dinner. [laughter]
As a general rule, things don’t end well if the sentence starts, “Let me tell you something I know about the negro.” You don’t really need to hear the rest of it. [Laughter] Just a tip for you. Don’ t start your sentence that way. [Laughter]
Speaking of Rand Paul, — [laughter] Colorado legalized marijuana this year. An interesting social experiment. I do hope it does not lead to a bunch of paranoid people who think the federal government is out to get them and listening to their phone calls. [Laughter] That would be a problem. [Laughter]
And speaking of conservative heroes, the Koch brothers bought a table here tonight. But they used a shadowy right-wing organization as a front. Hello, Fox News. [Laughter] [applause] I’m just kidding. Let’s face it, Fox, you’ l miss me when I’ m gone. [Laughter] It will be harder to convince the American people that Hillary was born in Kenya. [Laughter] [applause]
A lot of us really are concerned about the way that money is influencing our politics. I remember when a super pack with me was buying Marlboro 100s instead of regulars. [Laughter] Of course, now that it is 2014, Washington is obsessed on the midterms. Folks are saying that with my sagging poll numbers, my fellow democrats don’t really want me campaigning with them. I don’t think that is true, although I did notice the other day that Sasha needed a speaker at career day and she invited Bill Clinton. [Laughter] I was a little hurt by that.
Both sides are doing whatever it takes to win. The ruthless game. Republicans — this is a true story. Republicans actually brought in a group consultant to teach their candidates how to speak to women. This is true. I don’t know if it’ll work for women, but I understand America’s teenage boys are signing up to run for the Senate in droves. [Laughter] [applause]
Anyway, while you guys focus on the horse race, I’m going to do what I do. I will be focused on everyday Americans. Just yesterday I read a heartbreaking letter. I get letters from folks around the country every day. I get 10 that I read. This one got me. A Virginia man who’s been stuck in the same part-time job for years. No respect from his boss. There was no chance to get ahead. I really wish Eric Cantor would stop writing me. You can just pick up the phone, Eric. [Laughter] [applause]
I am feeling sorry, believe it and not, for the Speaker of the House. These days, the House Republicans give John Boehner a harder time than they give me. Which means orange really is the new black. [Laughter] [applause]
But I have not given up the idea of working with Congress. In fact, two weeks ago, Senator Ted Cruz and I, we got a bill done together and I have to say the signing ceremony was something special. We got a picture of it I think. [Laughter]
Look, I know. Washington seems more dysfunctional than ever. Gridlock has gotten so bad in this town, you have to wonder what did we do to piss off Chris Christie so bad? [Laughter]
One issue, for example, we haven’t been able to agree on is unemployment insurance. Republicans continue to refuse to extend it. You know what, I am beginning to think they have a point. If you don’t want to get paid while not working, you should have to run for Congress just like everybody else. [Laughter] [applause]
There is one thing that keeps Republicans busy. They have tried more than 50 times to repeal Obamacare. Despite that, 8 million people signed up for healthcare in the first open enrollment. [Applause] Which does lead one to ask, how well does Obamacare have to work before you don’t want to repeal it? What if everyone’s cholesterol drops to 120? What if your yearly checkup came with tickets to a Clippers’ game? Not the old Donald Sterling Clippers, the new Oprah Clippers. What if it gave Mitch McConnell a pulse? What is it going to take?
Anyway, this year I have promised to use more executive actions to get things done without Congress. My critics call this the imperial presidency. Truth is I just show up every day at my office and do my job. We have a picture of this, I think? [Laughter] [applause]
You would think they would appreciate a more assertive approach, considering that the new conservative darling is non other than Vladimir Putin. Last year, Pat Buchanan said Putin’s headed straight for the Nobel Peace Prize. He said this. Now I know it sounds crazy but to be fair they give those to just about anybody these days. It could happen. [Laughter] [applause]
But it’s not just Pat, Rudy Giuliani said, “Putin is what you would call a leader. Mike Huckabee and Shawn Hannity keep talking about his bare chest, which is kind of weird. [Laughter] [applause] Look it up. They talk about it a lot. [Laughter]
It is strange to think that I have just two and a half years left in this office. Everywhere I look there are reminders that I only hold this job temporarily. [Laughter] But, it is a long time between now and 2016. And anything can happen. You may have heard the other day that Hillary had to dodge a flying shoe at a press conference. [Laughter]
I love that picture.
Regardless of what happens, I’ve run my last campaign. I’m beginning to think about my legacy. Some of you know that Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently announced that he’s naming a high school after me in Chicago. I was even more flattered to hear that Rick Perry, who is here tonight, is doing the same thing in Texas. Take a look. [Laughter] Thank you, Rick. It means a lot to me.
I intend to enjoy all the free time that I will have. George W. Bush took up painting after he left office. It inspired me to take up own artistic side. I am sure we have a shot of this. Maybe not. The joke does not work without the slide. [Laughter] Oh well. Assume that it was funny. [Laughter] Does this happen to you Joel? It does, OK.
On a serious note, tonight reminds us that we are lucky to live in a country where reporters can give a head of state a hard time on a daily basis. And once a year give him or her the chance at least to return the favor. We also know that not every journalist or photographer or crew member is so fortunate. Even as we celebrate the free press tonight, our thoughts are with those in places around the globe like Ukraine and Afghanistan and Syria and Egypt. People who risk everything. In some cases even give their lives to report the news. And what tonight also reminds us is that the fight for full and fair access goes beyond the chance to ask a question.
As Steve mentioned, decades ago an African-American who wanted to cover his or her president might be barred from journalism school. Burdened by Jim Crow. And once in Washington banned from press conferences. After years of effort, black editors and publishers began meeting with FDR’s press secretary, Steve Irving. They met with the president himself, who declared that a black reporter would get a credential. Even when Harry McAlpin made history as the first African-American to attend a presidential news conference, he was not always welcomed by the other reporters. But he was welcomed by the president, who told him, “I’m glad to see you McAlpin.” I’m very happy to have you here.” Now that sentiment might have worn off once Harry asked him a question or two. And Harry’s battles continued, but he made history.
We are so proud of Sherman and his family for being here tonight and the White House Correspondents Association for creating the scholarship in Harry’s name. [Applause] For over 100 years, even as the White House Correspondents Association has told the story of America’s progress, you’ve lived it too. Gradually allowing equal access to women, minorities, gays and Smericans with disabilities. Yes, radio and television and Internet reporters as well. Through it all you’ve helped make sure that even as societies change, our fundamental commitment to the interaction between those who govern and those who ask questions doesn’t change. And as Jay will attest, it’s a legacy that you carry on enthusiastically every single day.
Because this is the 100th anniversary of the Correspondents Association, I actually recorded an additional brief video thanking you for all your hard work. Can we run the video?
What is going on? I was told this would work. Does anybody know how to fix this? Thank you. [Laughter] Do you have it?
Kathleen Sebelius: I got this. I see it all the time. There. That should work.
Congratulations to the White House Correspondents. Here is to 100 more years.
Thank you very much, everybody.. Bless you. [Applause] [laughter] [laughter] [applause]