President Barack Obama participates in a literacy lesson with children while visiting a pre-kindergarten classroom at Moravia Elementary School in Baltimore, Md., May 17, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama sits in the cockpit of a 787 Dreamliner during his tour of the Boeing Plant production facility in Everett, Wash., Feb. 17, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama arrives on the South Lawn of the White House after a three day West coast trip, early February 18
The week ahead:
Monday: No public events.
Tuesday: The President and First Lady will invite music legends and contemporary major artists to the White House for a celebration of Blues music and in recognition of Black History Month as part of their “In Performance at the White House” series.
Wednesday: The President will deliver remarks at the construction site of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Thursday: The President will travel to Miami, Florida, to participate in an official event.
Friday: The President will host Prime Minister Thorning-Schmidt of Denmark for a meeting in the Oval Office.
John McDonough (Boston.com): I’ve written before about the Obama Administration’s breakthrough efforts to fight health care fraud and abuse. Now there’s more, $4.1 billion more.
Earlier this week, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that the federal government recovered $4.1 billion in taxpayer dollars from individuals and corporations attempting to steal Medicare and Medicaid payments to which they were not entitled.
What’s $4.1 billion? It is the largest amount of money ever recovered, by far, in the history of the programs since they were established in 1965. Here are the numbers from the most recent years….
Herald Sun: At one of her first face-to-face meetings with Barack Obama soon after becoming PM, Julia Gillard said to the leader of the free world: “Are you nuts?”.
It could have been a monumental diplomatic blunder from the woman who admitted foreign policy was not her passion. But Obama didn’t see it as an insult. He considered her disregard for foreign affairs double-speak refreshing.
The two leaders have discovered they share a similar sense of humour and political outlook, and a surprisingly strong personal relationship has blossomed between the Australian Prime Minister and the President of the United States.
They are like-minded left-of-centre politicians both facing difficult domestic challenges, with Obama battling a hostile Congress and Gillard juggling minority government. And both are trail-blazers – the first black President and first female PM.
… Gillard sent Obama a 50th birthday card in August, purchased from the Parliament House florist, with pictures of a kangaroo, the Parliament building, native flowers and the Captain Cook water-jet on Lake Burley Griffin. Inside she wrote a personal note, including the line, “Your life has been remarkable to date but I’m sure the best is yet to come”.
… Gillard told me about their chat in an interview: “I had a discussion in the margins of one of the summits with President Obama who said, ‘You know your Question Time is a good way of speaking to the nation and getting your message out’, to which I said, “Are you nuts? We have this for an hour and half, four days a week’.
“He did laugh. He was not insulted by the ‘are you nuts?’. He thought I was pretty funny,” Gillard recalled.
News.com: As the Occupy camps in Melbourne and Adelaide rage against the ills of Western capitalism, young Australians have given their backing to the man who leads the world’s biggest economy.
A news.com.au survey can reveal that under-35-year-olds are happiest about Barack Obama’s visit, with more than 50 per cent saying they were happy or ecstatic.
…. The feelings of good-will and warmth for Mr Obama are in stark contrast to those George W. Bush aroused when he visited Australia in 2003 and 2007.
… A Gallup poll shows that approval of US leadership nearly tripled among Australians between 2008 and 2010, jumping from 25 per cent to 69 per cent. It was the biggest increase Gallup measured worldwide pre- and post-Obama.
….. greeted by Australia’s Governor-General Quentin Bryce
… greeting Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard
U.S. soldiers begin their journey home from Iraq at the al-Asad Air Base, west of Baghdad, on November 1. President Barack Obama announced on Oct. 21 that American troops would fully withdraw from Iraq by year-end.
KTRK’s Dave Ward with Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood at the White House
The President was interviewed by these local channels today:
Portland – KGW, NBC, Tracy Barr
Phoenix – KSAZ, Fox, John Hook
Denver – KUSA, NBC, Adele Arakawa
Minneapolis – WCCO, CBS, Amelia Santaniello
Houston – KTRK, ABC, Dave Ward
Omaha – KETV, ABC, Rob McCartney
Tampa – WTVT, Fox, Mark Wilson
Hampton Roads – WAVY, NBC, Tom Schaad
Philadelphia – WPVI, ABC, Brian Taff
President Barack Obama signs a proclamation to designate Ft. Monroe, in Hampton, Virginia, a National Monument, in the Oval Office, November 1. The President was joined by, from left to right, Mayor Molly Ward, Hampton, VA, Secretary Ken Salazar, Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Lacy Ward, Jr. Director, Robert Russa Moton Museum, Farmville, VA
From 2004 and 2006, posted by American Bridge on YouTube today:
February 2009: Vice President Joseph Biden shares a moment with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s mother Dorothy Rodham during a ceremonial swearing-in for Sec. Clinton at the State Department
Asked about the death of Hillary Clinton’s mother today, President Obama called her “a strong, determined, gifted person”. “For her to have lived the life that she did and to see her daughter succeed in the pinnacle of public service in this country, I’m sure was deeply satisfying to her.”
President Obama speaks about the passing of Dorothy Rodham, November 1
Thanks Ladyhawke – PCTC just gets better and better, it’s completey brilliant
KGO: Scott Olsen, the 25-year-old Iraq war veteran who was injured by a projectile during Tuesday’s “Occupy Oakland” demonstration, remains in fair condition.
On Saturday, a spokesperson for Highland Hospital said Olsen … had been transferred to another undisclosed hospital.
The spokesperson also said documentary filmmaker Michael Moore tried to visit Olsen on Saturday. The hospital said the family has asked for Olsen’s privacy and asked Moore not to try to visit Olsen and the hospital again.
“We have a very, very polite message to Mr. Moore: Mr. Olsen is not here,” the hospital spokesperson said, “and if you do find out where he is, the Olsen family doesn’t want you to come there either.”
As BWD put it on Twitter, what a “disgusting opportunist” Moore is. What on earth made him think that the Olsen family would want him at Scott’s bedside? Especially after they had asked for privacy? Oh boy, I used to love Michael Moore….
AP: President Barack Obama followed through Friday night on his longtime plan to take his two daughters to see the new monument to Martin Luther King Jr. on the National Mall.
Two days before Obama is to speak at the dedication of the memorial to the civil rights pioneer, the president, first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha made an unannounced visit to the site.
….. At a ground-breaking ceremony for the memorial five years ago, Obama, then a senator from Illinois, spoke about what it would be like to bring his daughters to see it.
“I know that one of my daughters will ask, perhaps my youngest, will ask, “Daddy, why is this monument here? What did this man do?” Obama said.
…… he said when the monument was complete, he would tell his daughters “that this man gave his life serving others. I will tell them that this man tried to love somebody. I will tell them that because he did these things, they live today with the freedom God intended, their citizenship unquestioned, their dreams unbounded.”
March 2010: A 100-square-meter brick art tribute to U.S. President Barack Obama is unveiled in Sydney, Australia. The tribute wall was erected as a lead-up to Obama’s visit to Australia, part of his first international trip of the year which was recently cancelled
Reuters: President Obama will visit Australia and the Indonesian island of Bali in mid-November, the White House said on Monday.
It will be Obama’s first stop in Australia – after scrapping a visit twice last year because of domestic concerns – and his second presidential visit to Indonesia, where he spent part of his childhood.
Obama will be in Australia from November 16-17 after hosting the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in his home state of Hawaii and will then travel to Bali for an East Asia summit.
…. In Australia, one of the closest U.S. partners in the region, Obama will mark the 60th anniversary of the ANZUS alliance and hold talks with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on cooperation to foster global economic growth, trade and jobs.
Obama canceled a visit to Australia in March 2010 to stay home and push his U.S. healthcare overhaul plan through Congress. Another visit was called off in June of last year so that Obama could deal with the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
People cheer as President Obama’s motorcade travels through Presidential Boulevard in Paterson, N.J.
“I know that there’s been some talk about whether there’s going to be a slowdown in getting funding out here, emergency relief. As President of the United States, I want to make it very clear that we are going to meet our federal obligations – because we’re one country, and when one part of the country gets affected, whether it’s a tornado in Joplin, Missouri, or a hurricane that affects the Eastern Seaboard, then we come together as one country and we make sure that everybody gets the help that they need. And the last thing that the residents here of Paterson or the residents of Vermont or the residents of upstate New York need is Washington politics getting in the way of us making sure that we are doing what we can to help communities that have been badly affected.”
President Obama speaks to reporters with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J.
President Obama with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as he prepares to depart Paterson, New Jersey
President Obama jogs down the ramp of Air force One as he arrives at Andrews Air Force Base after a trip to New Jersey
Vice President Joe Biden, with a child survivor of the March earthquake and tsunami, at a temporary housing complex for tsunami victims in Natori, one of the hardest quake stricken cities, in northeastern Japan, Aug. 23
AFP: Vice President Joe Biden praised Japan’s courage and resolve as he visited its tsunami-shattered coast, where American forces helped with a large-scale relief effort.
Biden, near the end of an Asia tour, is the top-ranking American official to travel to the region where the March 11 earthquake and tsunami claimed more than 20,000 lives and sparked the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
…. “I came to express not only my commitment to say, ‘We will do whatever we can to help,’ but to tell you how much the president, how much I, how much the American people admire your character.”
… The United States, which has maintained bases across Japan since World War II, mobilised more than 20,000 troops and some 160 aircraft in disaster relief and recovery operations after Japan’s worst peace-time catastrophe.
One of the core achievements of the US “Operation Tomodachi” (Friend) was to clear Sendai’s international airport, where the tsunami had swept aircraft, cars, mud and debris across runways and into terminals.
At earlier talks in Tokyo, Japan’s outgoing centre-left Prime Minister Naoto Kan thanked Biden for his country’s “enormous assistance” and said he would like to “reiterate our gratitude” on behalf of Japan’s people.
“You do not need to express gratitude to us,” Biden replied. “You’d do the same for us. Our only regret is that we could not do even more.”
President Obama (March 2011): “…. With the time and space that we have provided for the Libyan people, they will be able to determine their own destiny, and that is how it should be.”
The head of Libya’s National Transitional Council tells Al Jazeera that Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam has been captured – live updates at The Guardian site here
Live coverage at Sky News (UK) here and Al Jazeera (here)
(Apologies for the Murdoch/Sky link, but it’s one of the few channels I can find covering this live)
President Obama (March 2011): “…. As the bulk of our military effort ratchets down, what we can do and will do is support the aspirations of the Libyan people. We have intervened to stop a massacre, and we will work with our allies and partners as they’re in the lead to maintain the safety of civilians. We will deny the regime arms, cut off its supply of cash, assist the opposition and work with other nations to hasten the day when Gadhafi leaves power. It may not happen overnight, as a badly weakened Gadhafi tries desperately to hang on to power.
But it should be clear to those around Gadhafi and to every Libyan, that history is not on Gadhafi’s side. With the time and space that we have provided for the Libyan people, they will be able to determine their own destiny, and that is how it should be.”
As drdaddy1970 mentioned in the comments, John McCain is our current expert on Libya!
CBS: Sen. John McCain said Sunday he thought Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s rule in Libya was “nearing the end” and that it would be a “matter of hours” before his ouster. McCain, speaking on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” said that “we will be rid of a guy who has practiced the worst kind of brutalities.”
What changed in two years, John?
Politics Daily (August 2009): Sen. John McCain, visiting Libya this past week, praised Muammar Gaddafi for his peacemaking efforts in Africa. In addition, McCain called for the U.S. Congress to expand ties with Gaddafi’s government, according to Libya’s state news agency. McCain had a face-to-face meeting with Gaddafi, which he detailed on his Twitter page with the following message:
“Late evening with Col. Qadhafi at his “ranch” in Libya – interesting meeting with an interesting man.”
IOL: US First Lady Michelle Obama met South Africa’s first black president Nelson Mandela at his home Tuesday, in a rare visit with the ageing icon whose legacy frames much of her journey here.
The meeting with the 92-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner was discreetly arranged after Obama and her daughters visited archives chronicling some of his 27 years as a political prisoner.
At the Mandela Foundation, his wife Graca Machel guided Obama, her mother, and her daughters Malia and Sasha through an exhibit of his personal photographs and journals, in which he meticulously drafted letters but also kept more mundane notes on his weight and daily routine.
“After leaving here, she proceeded to make a brief courtesy call on former president Mandela,” said Achmat Dangor, the head of the foundation, calling the first lady “a lovely woman without any airs”.
Their visit added to the symbolism surrounding Obama’s journey, with America’s first black family in the White House meeting South Africa’s first black president. President Barack Obama has called the anti-apartheid struggle his first political cause, and US officials say he has had periodic telephone contact with Mandela, who led the struggle against white-minority rule. The two men met in 2006 when then-senator Obama toured Africa. A simple cell-phone picture of that meeting is now in Mandela’s office, aides to the first lady said.
Mandela welcomed her entire family into his home, including a niece and nephew travelling with them. Such visits are increasingly rare. Mandela, who turns 92 next month, has received few guests since he was hospitalised with an acute respiratory infection in January.
Mandela’s legacy in the battle for South African democracy defines much of Obama’s visit. After leaving his home in the leafy Houghton neighbourhood, they travelled to the Apartheid Museum, which chronicles the rise and fall of white rule.
President Obama and Puerto Rico’s Congressional Representative Pedro Pierluisi arrive at Muniz Air National Guard Base
NYT: ….By the time Air Force One landed just before noon in the first “official” visit of a sitting American president since John F. Kennedy, the crowd gathered in a hot hangar at Luis Munoz Marin International Airport had swelled to more than 1,000.
…The president’s schedule included the speech at the airport hangar, a visit to La Fortaleza, the longest-serving governor’s mansion in the Western Hemisphere (the White House says), a tour of the Kennedy Suite, where President Kennedy stayed in 1961, and a concert by a youth orchestra.
Perhaps more important on Mr. Obama’s itinerary, though, was the interviews he scheduled with El Nuevo Dia and Univision of Puerto Rico, and a fund-raising event Tuesday afternoon meant to plump Democratic National Committee coffers.
…About half of Puerto Ricans here now advocate statehood. The other half, more or less, prefer that the island remain a commonwealth because they are concerned about keeping its cultural identity intact. A few would like independence.
Puerto Ricans hold American citizenship and can be drafted, but the territory has no voting representative in Congress. And while Puerto Ricans in Puerto Rico can vote in a presidential primary, they cannot vote in general presidential elections. Only Puerto Ricans in the United States can.
….About that first official visit business: Other sitting American presidents have certainly been to Puerto Rico. President Gerald R. Ford came in 1976, but it was for a Group of Seven economic summit, so that apparently doesn’t count as official, since it wasn’t for official Puerto Rico business. Ditto for President Lyndon B. Johnson – he came in 1968, but it was just to visit a military base on the island, so that’s not being considered official either….
President Obama greets singer Marc Anthony at Luis Munoz Marin International Airport
From left, Musician Marc Antony, Puerto Rico Mayor Jorge Santini Padilla, President Obama, Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuno, Rep. Pedor Pierluisi, D-Puerto Rico, and Adjutant General of the Puerto Rico National Guard Antonio J. Vicens
…arriving to speak to a crowd at an airport hanger at Muniz Air National Guard Base
President Obama, Gov. Luis Fortuno and Rep. Pedor Pierluisi, D-Puerto Rico, tour La Fortaleza
….with Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuno
….with Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuno, his wife Luce Vela and Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi
…. with Sen. Alejandro Garcia Padilla at Kasalta bakery
A woman holds an image of President Obama, dressed as Superman, as she waits for the presidential motorcade in San Juan
President Obama waves from Air Force One prior to departing Luis Munoz Marin International Airport