Posts Tagged ‘news



28
Apr
14

Schooling Ed Henry

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Ed Henry:

More broadly – big picture – as you end this trip, I don’t think I have to remind you there have been a lot of unflattering portraits of your foreign policy right now.  And rather than get into all the details or red lines, et cetera, I’d like to give you a chance to lay out what your vision is more than five years into office, what you think the Obama doctrine is in terms of what your guiding principle is on all of these crises and how you answer those critics who say they think the doctrine is weakness.

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From 31:20

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President Obama:

Well, Ed, I doubt that I’m going to have time to lay out my entire foreign policy doctrine. And there are actually some complimentary pieces as well about my foreign policy, but I’m not sure you ran them.

Here’s I think the general takeaway from this trip. Our alliances in the Asia Pacific have never been stronger; I can say that unequivocally. Our relationship with ASEAN countries in Southeast Asia has never been stronger. I don’t think that’s subject to dispute. As recently as a decade ago, there were great tensions between us and Malaysia, for example. And I think you just witnessed the incredible warmth and strength of the relationship between those two countries.

We’re here in the Philippines signing a defense agreement. Ten years ago, fifteen years ago there was enormous tensions around our defense relationship with the Philippines. And so it’s hard to square whatever it is that the critics are saying with facts on the ground, events on the ground here in the Asia Pacific region. Typically, criticism of our foreign policy has been directed at the failure to use military force. And the question I think I would have is, why is it that everybody is so eager to use military force after we’ve just gone through a decade of war at enormous costs to our troops and to our budget? And what is it exactly that these critics think would have been accomplished?

My job as Commander-in-Chief is to deploy military force as a last resort, and to deploy it wisely. And, frankly, most of the foreign policy commentators that have questioned our policies would go headlong into a bunch of military adventures that the American people had no interest in participating in and would not advance our core security interests.

So if you look at Syria, for example, our interest is in helping the Syrian people, but nobody suggests that us being involved in a land war in Syria would necessarily accomplish this goal. And I would note that those who criticize our foreign policy with respect to Syria, they themselves say, no, no, no, we don’t mean sending in troops. Well, what do you mean?  Well, you should be assisting the opposition – well, we’re assisting the opposition. What else do you mean? Well, perhaps you should have taken a strike in Syria to get chemical weapons out of Syria. Well, it turns out we’re getting chemical weapons out of Syria without having initiated a strike. So what else are you talking about?  And at that point it kind of trails off.

In Ukraine, what we’ve done is mobilize the international community. Russia has never been more isolated. A country that used to be clearly in its orbit now is looking much more towards Europe and the West, because they’ve seen that the arrangements that have existed for the last 20 years weren’t working for them. And Russia is having to engage in activities that have been rejected uniformly around the world. And we’ve been able to mobilize the international community to not only put diplomatic pressure on Russia, but also we’ve been able to organize European countries who many were skeptical would do anything to work with us in applying sanctions to Russia.

Well, what else should we be doing?  Well, we shouldn’t be putting troops in, the critics will say. That’s not what we mean.  Well, okay, what are you saying? Well, we should be arming the Ukrainians more. Do people actually think that somehow us sending some additional arms into Ukraine could potentially deter the Russian army? Or are we more likely to deter them by applying the sort of international pressure, diplomatic pressure and economic pressure that we’re applying?

The point is that for some reason many who were proponents of what I consider to be a disastrous decision to go into Iraq haven’t really learned the lesson of the last decade, and they keep on just playing the same note over and over again. Why?  I don’t know. But my job as Commander-in-Chief is to look at what is it that is going to advance our security interests over the long term, to keep our military in reserve for where we absolutely need it. There are going to be times where there are disasters and difficulties and challenges all around the world, and not all of those are going to be immediately solvable by us.

But we can continue to speak out clearly about what we believe. Where we can make a difference using all the tools we’ve got in the toolkit, well, we should do so. And if there are occasions where targeted, clear actions can be taken that would make a difference, then we should take them. We don’t do them because somebody sitting in an office in Washington or New York think it would look strong. That’s not how we make foreign policy.

And if you look at the results of what we’ve done over the last five years, it is fair to say that our alliances are stronger, our partnerships are stronger, and in the Asia Pacific region, just to take one example, we are much better positioned to work with the peoples here on a whole range of issues of mutual interest.

And that may not always be sexy. That may not always attract a lot of attention, and it doesn’t make for good argument on Sunday morning shows. But it avoids errors. You hit singles, you hit doubles; every once in a while we may be able to hit a home run.  But we steadily advance the interests of the American people and our partnership with folks around the world.

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Ed? Your time is up.

27
Mar
14

The President’s Day

@dougmillsnyt: President Obama meets with Pope Francis, March 27, at the Vatican

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10:15 AM: The President had an audience with Pope Francis

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11:25 AM: Met with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin

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12:15 PM: Arrived the Quirinal Palace

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12:25 PM: Participated in a bilateral meeting with President Giorgio Napolitano of Italy, Quirinal Palace

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1:05 PM: Attended a working lunch with President Giorgio Napolitano of Italy

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2:20 PM: Arrived Villa Madama

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2:25 PM: Participated in a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of Italy, Villa Madama

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3:35 PM: Held a joint press conference with Prime Minister Renzi

Text of remarks here

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4:40 PM: Toured The Colosseum

@dougmillsnyt

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6:30 PM: Met with employees and families of the U.S. Tri-Mission to Italy, The Holy See, and the UN Agencies in Rome

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04
Feb
14

Rise and Shine

On This Day: Senator Ted Kennedy, speaking at a rally for the presidential campaign of Senator Barack Obama in Hartford, the day before the Connecticut Super Tuesday primary. Congressional Representatives Rosa DeLauro, Chris Murphy and John B. Larson are onstage behind Ted Kennedy, along with Caroline Kennedy and Barack Obama. February 4, 2008

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Today:

11:10: President Obama visits a Buck Lodge Middle School classroom, Adelphi, Maryland

11:30: Delivers remarks on ConnectED

White House Live

1:0: Press Briefing by Jay Carney

3:0: The President and Vice President meet with Department of Defense leadership on Afghanistan

4:30: The President and Vice President meet with the House Democratic Caucus, The East Room

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AP: Obama Secures $750M in Pledges to Get Kids Online

Claiming progress in his campaign to get American schools wired for the future, President Barack Obama is announcing commitments from U.S. companies totaling about $750 million to connect more students to high-speed Internet.

Apple is pledging $100 million in iPads, computers and other tools. AT&T and Sprint are contributing free Internet service through their wireless networks. Verizon is pitching in up to $100 million in cash and in-kind contributions. And Microsoft is making Windows available at discounted prices and offering 12 million free copies of Microsoft Office software.

Obama was to announce the commitments Tuesday at a middle school in the Maryland suburbs near Washington. Also in the pipeline: an addition $2 billion that the Federal Communications Commission is setting aside from service fees over two years to connect another 20 million students to high-speed Internet.

More here

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Haaretz: Boycotting reality

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s statement at the Munich Security Conference, that Israel will face boycotts should negotiations with the Palestinians fail, is a level-headed view of reality that the Israeli government chooses to continually ignore.

…. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu beats them all: Instead of welcoming Kerry as an ally, he publicly quarrels with him and hints that the secretary of state is trying to pressure Israel to “give up essential interests.”

Netanyahu refuses to understand that Israel’s most essential interest is ending the conflict, and that Kerry is a fair, dedicated, mediator who needs the support of all parties in order to complete this complex process. Netanyahu refuses to understand that now is the time for big decisions, not small politics.

Full article here

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National Journal: How Obama Won the War on Iran Sanctions

A month ago, the president was on the outs – even among Democrats. Today, he’s quelled critics and getting his chance to make negotiations work.

The push for new sanctions on Iran has stalled. The Democrats who bucked President Obama to back the sanctions bill are backpedaling mightily—no longer even pretending they’re pushing Harry Reid to hold a vote on the measure. And while there’s still plenty of chest-pounding and posturing, the debate’s end result seems clear: The Senate will wait, at least so long as the negotiations move in the right direction.

That’s a full flip from just more than a month ago. Before the December recess, the Senate’s pro-sanctions faction was surging. Senators—including Democrats who are typically Obama loyalists—were agreeing with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s claim that the nuclear negotiations with Iran bordered on capitulation.

So how did Obama — a supposedly feckless president when it comes to handling Congress — turn the tide? Obama’s in-person, all-hands-on-deck advocacy campaign with the Senate appears to have advanced his cause, but it’s not that simple.

More here

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South Carolina’s battle over Medicaid expansion: After the Supreme Court ruled that states were not obligated to expand their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act, South Carolina was one of the first to opt out. PBS NewsHour’s Mary Jo Brooks reports on the effects for residents who are still uninsured, plus a small alternative program designed to reach some of them.

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Bill Hammond (NY Daily News): Anti-Obamacare, facts be damned

House Speaker John Boehner lobbed a social media stink bomb this weekend that distilled Republican attacks on the Affordable Care Act to their cynical, knee-jerk essence.

“Sick kids denied specialty care due to #Obamacare,” his Twitter feed proclaimed on Saturday, linking to a conservative blog post based on a TV news report out of Seattle. His Facebook page weighed in on the same story, calling it “heartbreaking” and vowing that House Republicans “will continue working to scrap this broken law.”

There’s just one problem: The shocking claim — that the President’s health reforms resulted in sick children being denied care — was flat-out false. Which Boehner’s staff must have known, assuming they actually read the material they were helping to spread across the Internet.

In fact, all of the children in question did get care, as was perfectly clear in the Jan. 30 press release from Seattle Children’s Hospital that got this snowball started.

More here

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USA Today: Obama to visit Saudi Arabia in March

President Obama will visit Saudi Arabia next month amid reports of a strained American-Saudi relationship over Iran and Syria.

White House press secretary Jay Carney announced that Obama would meet with Saudi King Abdullah in late March, calling it “part of regular consultations” between the two countries.

“The president looks forward to discussing with King Abdullah the enduring and strategic ties between the United States and Saudi Arabia as well as ongoing cooperation to advance a range of common interests related to Gulf and regional security, peace in the Middle East, countering violent extremism, and other issues of prosperity and security,” Carney said.

The Saudi stop will be added to a late March trip that includes the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Vatican City.

More here

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Brian Beutler: Angry right’s secret revulsion: Why they really dodge minimum wage questions

Obama’s decision to increase the minimum wage for a small number of federal contractors has drawn out the crazies

It’s no great secret that Republicans oppose increasing the minimum wage. They don’t pretend it’s something they want to do under any circumstances. They don’t even really bother disguising their opposition. They cloak their view in dated and oversimplified economic arguments about labor demand and economic growth when the real impediment is ideological, and so it’s a somewhat better kept secret that many Republicans oppose the minimum wage altogether.

Opposing the minimum wage isn’t a politically seemly thing to do, though, and thus the great political consequence of President Obama’s decision, announced during his State of the Union address, to institute a $10.10 minimum wage for future federal contracts, will be to draw the extent of this opposition out into the open.

More here

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Missed this yesterday:

Jonathan Capehart: O’Reilly outFoxed by Obama

The pre-Super Bowl interview with President Obama conducted by Bill O’Reilly was not only notable for the Fox News anchor’s constant interruptions, but also for his harping on old news. The travails of HealthCare.gov, the murderous attacks in Benghazi and the actions taken by the IRS against conservative groups chewed up 9 minutes and 45 seconds of the 10-minute sitdown.

We all know that those topics are nothing but chum for O’Reilly’s anti-Obama audience. But the president successfully avoided the rhetorical traps set by the ambassador from “fair and balanced.” And he respectfully stood up to the disrespect demanded by said audience by giving as good as he got.

…. It’s always difficult to tell whether the tail is wagging the dog over there at Fox, but I would argue that the IRS conspiracy theories and others are in large part due to O’Reilly and Fox. Neither the station nor its anchor has shown Obama or his office the respect both deserve. And that 10-minute interview was a perfect illustration of it.

Full article here

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Steve Benen: A narrow path for ‘common ground’

Every Saturday morning, President Obama delivers a weekly address, which is immediately followed by a Republican response, but this week’s GOP address was a little different: it was delivered by four Republicans instead of one. The message: there may be some room for a little “bipartisan common ground.”

…. Before getting into the particulars, it’s striking to realize just how small the “common ground” is. There are all kinds of popular ideas that enjoy broad public support – on job creation, aid to struggling families, immigration, public safety, etc. – but none of them made the cut in the official Republican statement.

Instead, progress is now possible in just four areas – four narrow areas.

More here

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Steve Benen: NRCC crafts new fundraising gambit

Florida’s 13th congressional district will host a special election next month and by all appearances, it should be a close contest. Democrats have nominated former state CFO Alex Sink, who very nearly won the 2010 gubernatorial race, and have high hopes about her chances.

The National Republican Congressional Committee is also taking the race very seriously – so seriously, in fact, that the NRCC has come up with an unusual fundraising gambit.

Folks can go to a website that looks legitimate – contribute.sinkforcongress2014.com – and find a nice photo of the Democratic candidate alongside a graphic that reads, “Alex Sink – Congress.” If you’re not reading carefully, you might assume this is a page for Sink supporters to make a campaign contribution to their preferred candidate. But it’s not – this is a page set up by Republicans.

More here

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On This Day:

Hartford, February 4, 2008

Senator Obama shakes hands with supporters at the end of a rally at the XL Center in Hartford

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President Obama greets attendees after making remarks in Washington, D.C., Feb. 4, 2010 (Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

President Obama signs pictures and other items in a holding room before making remarks in Washington, D.C., Feb. 4, 2010 (Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

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Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport, Feb 4, 2013

The Minneapolis Police Department Special Operations Center, Feb 4, 2013

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MoooOOOooorning!

02
Feb
14

And The Winner Is….44

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Pete Souza: POTUS pre-game interview w Bill O’Reilly of Fox

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20
Dec
13

President Obama Holds A News Conference

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2PM EST / 1PM CST / 11AM PST

White House

C-SPAN

CBS

12
Dec
13

Megyn Kelly – Santa is white, and real!

Rhodes Scholar Megyn Kelly of Fox “News” (snort*giggle*) has given us a wonderful opportunity to badger her again. It seems to happen every time she opens her mouth, but this time it was a doozy.

In an article written by Aisha Harris at Slate, Ms. Harris suggested that Santa didn’t have to be white. Which is a valid point to make, as Santa isn’t, you know, real. (Sorry to my 2 year old nephew for breaking the news to him.)

Kelly, in a fit of pique, had this to say:

“For all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white,” Kelly said. “But this person is just arguing that maybe we should also have a black Santa. But Santa is what he is.”

“Just because it makes you feel uncomfortable doesn’t mean it has to change, you know?” she added. “I mean, Jesus was a white man too. He was a historical figure, that’s a verifiable fact, as is Santa — I just want the kids watching to know that.”

Of course, again, Santa isn’t exactly real—regardless of what NORAD says every Dec. 24—and Jesus, well, he was a Jew from the Galilee. Not a haven for 6-foot tall, blond, blue-eyed Nordic supermen—again, regardless of what painters from throughout Western history say.

Maybe Megyn Kelly wants to start a Race War on Christmas, or at least on those who don’t adhere to her yearning for a “white” Christmas. Whatever. Enjoy some Tweets.

Continue reading ‘Megyn Kelly – Santa is white, and real!’

05
Dec
13

Too Funny

I. Am. Still. Weeping.

Fixed it for them:

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Coming Up:

1:30: Jay Carney briefs the press

2:0: President Obama tapes an appearance on Hardball with Chris Matthews

4:10: President Obama delivers remarks at a Hanukkah reception

8:0: President Obama delivers remarks at a Hanukkah reception

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Chat away!

13
Sep
13

Some more news items….

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Continue reading ‘Some more news items….’

13
Sep
13

Chat Away

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Continue reading ‘Chat Away’

12
Sep
13

Rise and Shine

@petesouza: President Obama greets family members at 9/11 Pentagon ceremony

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Today (all times Eastern):

11:0: The President holds a cabinet meeting; The Vice President also attends

6:30: The Vice President and Dr Jill Biden host a reception in honor of the 19th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act at the Naval Observatory

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But…..

Steve Benen: Jobless claims plummet, but there’s a catch

Occasionally, when economic news is so great that you’re left thinking, “This can’t be right,” it’s wise to trust your instincts. The newly released figures from the Department of Labor on initial unemployment claims offer an example of this….

….take this one with a grain of salt.

More here

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Fareed Zakaria: Obama on the path to success in Syria

Whatever the twisted path, whether by design or accident, the Obama administration has ended up in a better place on Syria than looked possible even days ago….

…. Obama’s aim is solely to affirm an international norm. To this end, he already has achieved something important. He has mobilized world attention, and there is now a chance, albeit small, that he might get a process in place that monitors and even destroys Syrian chemical weapons. Almost certainly he has ensured that such weapons won’t be used again by the Assad regime. That’s more than he could have achieved through airstrikes — which are unlikely to have destroyed such weapons. (Bombing chemical weapons facilities could easily release toxins into the atmosphere.) This is a significant success.

…. The Obama administration is right to carefully and thoroughly pursue the diplomatic path — even though it will be difficult. While Syria and Russia are doing so as a way to avert an attack, Russian President Vladimir Putin might also be happy to see Assad’s weapons locked up or destroyed. In fact, this gambit might be a way for Russia to achieve its real goals in Syria: no regime change and no chemical weapons…..

Full article here

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Max Fisher: No, Obama did not just confer international legitimacy on Assad

…. there’s one argument against Obama’s approach that’s generating increasing attention but maybe shouldn’t be. The case goes like this: Obama has previously called on Assad to step down. But if he strikes this deal for the removal of Syria’s chemical weapons, he’ll be implicitly acknowledging Assad’s authority and thus conferring greater international legitimacy on the Syrian dictator, thus undermining his own effort to isolate Assad.

The problem with this argument is that Obama never actually sought to remove Assad from power against his will and has consistently acknowledged him as Syria’s head of state…

More here

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Dana Milbank: Conservatives use Sept. 11 to attack Obama

Here’s a hot new entry in the “Is nothing sacred?” category:

Conservatives are using Sept. 11, that most somber day for the nation, as yet another occasion to condemn President Obama.

Rather than join in the bipartisan ceremonies marking the 12th anniversary of the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil, they rallied on the West Lawn of the Capitol, carrying signs that said “Impeach Obama” and, over a cartoon of the president trampling Uncle Sam, “Americans Don’t Support Terrorists or Their Minions.”

…. One might dismiss the partisan antics of those tarnishing the solemn anniversary. But some of the most prominent figures in the Republican Party joined in marring the memorials with Benghazi politics.

More here

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Steve Benen: Republican leaders vs. the GOP’s ‘Neanderthals’

House Republicans, perhaps tired after four days in the six weeks, will wrap their work week today around noon, leaving just five days in September in which the chamber will be in session. And as House members depart this afternoon, they’ll leave increasing odds of a government shutdown in their wake.

Part of the problem is simply a matter of logistics: the government will run out of money on Sept. 30, and House leaders haven’t left themselves much time to get their work done.

But just as important is the fact that Republican leaders have absolutely no idea how they intend to govern. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and the GOP leadership team thought they’d worked out a viable solution, which House Republicans rejected less than a day after it was introduced. Party officials are looking for someone to blame.

More here

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I’m still snorting loudly at this photo of the huuuuuuge Benghazi conspiracy rally on Capitol Hill

ThinkProgress

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Obama Foodorama: First Lady Michelle Obama To Ask Everyone To “Drink Up” With More Water

Today, First Lady Michelle Obama will join the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) and actress Eva Longoria in Watertown, Wisconsin to announce PHA’s new effort to encourage everyone to drink more water, an easy choice to improve health and well-being every day. The effort brings together more than a dozen organizations committed to encouraging everyone to drink more water more often. According to the CDC, approximately one fourth of children do not drink any water on a given day. This new effort will remind people that drinking more water helps you have more energy to do more, longer and with better focus.

….. For complete information about the PHA effort, visit youarewhatyoudrink.org

More here

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WH.gov: Upcoming Guidance on Música Latina: In Performance at the White House

Monday, September 16 * White House – As part of their In Performance at the White House series, the President and First Lady will invite music artists to the White House for a celebration of Latin music during Hispanic Heritage Month.

Música Latina: In Performance at the White House will showcase Latin musical heritage, reflecting the influence of richly diverse Latino communities from throughout the Americas. The program celebrates the beauty and diversity of that music. From the lively rhythms of Central America and the Caribbean to the beautiful sounds of South America, Latin music is known for blending a wide variety of styles.

The evening will feature artists Natalie Cole, Lila Downs, Gloria Estefan, Raul Malo, Ricky Martin, Prince Royce, Arturo Sandoval, Romeo Santos, Alejandro Sanz and Marco Antonio Solis. The entire event will be streamed live on http://www.whitehouse.gov/live starting at 7:00 p.m. ET.

More here

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MooooOOOOoooorning!




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