Entries in Barack Obama (10)


NAACP Board Votes in Support of Same-Sex Marriage

Mario Tama/Getty Images(MIAMI) -- The NAACP made waves on Saturday evening when its board of directors voted to support same-sex marriage, releasing a statement that "civil marriage is a civil right and a matter of civil law" and citing the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution as a reason for backing marriage equality.

"The mission of the NAACP has always been to ensure the political, social and economic equality of all people," said Roslyn M. Brock, chairman of the NAACP's board of directors, in a statement. "We have and will oppose efforts to codify discrimination into law."

"The NAACP's support for marriage equality is deeply rooted in the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution and equal protection of all people," said Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, in a statement.

The announcement from the civil rights organization arrived on the heels of President Barack Obama's own recent statement in support of same-sex marriage in the U.S.

The African-American community has been slow to warm to the idea of same-sex marriage, but the NAACP's statement on Saturday, when paired with recent endorsements by President Obama and rapper Jay-Z, could indicate that the tide in the black community is flowing in the direction of marriage equality.

In an ABC News/Washington Post poll following President Obama's announcement of his support for same-sex marriage, 54 percent of African-Americans agreed with him. But in similar polls in mid-2011 and early 2012, just 41 percent of African-Americans took the same stance.

Prior to issuing the blanket statement in support of marriage equality, the NAACP had opposed legislation that would prevent same-sex marriage, including California's Proposition 8 and North Carolina's Amendment 1.

NAACP made its proclamation from a Miami, Fla.-based gathering of its board of directors, where only two board members expressed opposition to same-sex marriage, according to a tweet from NAACP senior vice president for development Maxim Thorne.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation issued a glowing statement following NAACP's announcement, saying, "We applaud President Ben Jealous and the NAACP Board of Directors for their leadership on this issue."

GLAAD President Herndon Graddick said in a statement: "Across races, faith traditions, and political persuasions, a majority of our culture recognizes that denying gay couples the chance at happiness that comes with being married is unfair and un-American."

Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker also tweeted his support of the NAACP's position, writing, "'Arc of the universe is long but it bends toward justice' RT @dawnnozziwitter: It's on NAACP website under press release WOOHOO! About time!"

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Calls Governors of Storm-Ravaged States

Pete Souza/Official White House Photo(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama called the governors of Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky on Saturday regarding the deadly tornados that have claimed at least 35 lives across a wide swath of the United States since Friday.

A White House release says Obama was briefed by FEMA director Craig Fugate before the call, and pledged the emergency response agency is poised to provide assistance to state recovery efforts if necessary. The president offered condolences to the victims of the storms and acknowledged it may be days before the full extent of damage is known.

Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky bore the overwhelming majority of casualties from the last day’s storms, which were only the latest waves of extreme weather to hit the Midwest and South in the last week. All three have declared a state of emergency.

FEMA says the federal government has already deployed surveyors to Illinois and Missouri for damage assessment at the request of those states. The officials are there to help governors determine if additional help is required from Washington. The administration also says it is in the process of stocking a Kentucky staging area with 98,000 meals and other commodities to be released if requested by governors.

“Our priority, as always, is to make sure that we are here to support local efforts to keep residents and communities safe,” Fugate said in a written statement. “FEMA has teams on the ground in hard hit areas and is prepared to deploy additional teams and resources if needed by the state.”

People who wish to donate to relief efforts or volunteer can find more information here.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Rod Blagojevich Sentenced to 14 Years

Tim Boyle/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- A federal judge has sentenced impeached Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to 14 years in prison, giving little weight to Blagojevich’s first-ever apology Wednesday morning since his arrest three years ago.

“The jury didn’t believe you and neither did I,” U.S. District Court Judge James Zagel said.

Blagojevich was convicted on 18 corruption charges, including the scheme to peddle the vacated Senate seat of Barack Obama.

Blagojevich started the day by telling the court that he was, “unbelievably sorry” for his “terrible mistakes” -- it was his last chance to convince the federal judge that he deserved some mercy when he was sentenced on corruption charges.

Prosecutors argued that he has failed the people of Illinois and instead, “further eroded the public’s confidence in government and government officials.”

Defense lawyers argued that because Blagojevich received no money in his assorted schemes to peddle his power, he did not deserve extended time behind bars.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Personally Awards Purple Heart to Wounded Marine

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BETHESDA, Md.) -- Cpl. Justin Crabbe, 22, received a special visitor in his hospital room at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., becoming one of the few service members to personally receive the Purple Heart from President Obama.

In a video posted to YouTube by the Crabbe family, the president, clad in hospital scrubs, is seen greeting the Marine, who lost parts of both legs while fighting in Afghanistan.

“This is a testimony to the high regard and honor the entire country feels towards you,” the president told Cpl. Crabbe Monday as he bestowed the military decoration awarded to those who have been wounded in combat.

President Obama met with 38 wounded troops and awarded four Purple Hearts on his 11th visit to meet with injured service members at the military hospital Monday. According to the Pentagon, 46,542 troops have been wounded in connection with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Americans Skeptical of Obama’s Jobs Plan

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- Amid President Obama’s campaign to promote his new job-creation plan, a new poll finds that few Americans think it will make a significant dent in the country’s unemployment rate, which stands at 9.1 percent.

Just one-in-six people in the latest National Journal/United Technologies poll said Obama’s $447 billion stimulus package would reduce unemployment “a lot.” One quarter of respondents said the bill, if enacted, would not affect employment levels at all.

The findings, from a survey conducted Sept. 8, come as Obama travels to Ohio to drum up popular support for his plan, trying to leverage pressure on Congress to pass it and regain control of the narrative on the economy and jobs after weeks of dwindling approval ratings.

Thirty-nine percent of Americans think Obama’s economic policies have made things worse, according to the National Journal poll. That’s nearly twice as many as those who thought Obama had made things better.

There is some silver lining in the numbers, however. Roughly half of respondents think Obama’s jobs plan would help improve employment at least “a little,” and slightly more Americans, 37 percent to 35 percent, say they still trust the president’s ideas over those offered by congressional Republicans.

The poll was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International and has a margin of error of roughly 4 percentage points.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


President Obama Will Go to Australia

Ablestock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama is headed to Australia.

The White House has confirmed that Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has invited the president to visit on Nov. 16-17 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the US–Australia alliance.

The trip is set to follow the APEC Leaders Meeting hosted by President Obama in Hawaii, and should provide the two leaders with an opportunity to expand bilateral cooperation to increase global economic growth.

Australia is one of the United States’ closest allies, and both U.S. and Australian troops have served together in Afghanistan and other conflict zones around the world.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama to Union Members: 'Let's Get America Back to Work'

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images(DETROIT) -- At a union labor celebration in Detroit on Labor Day, President Obama offered one big hint about a proposal he will include in his jobs address to Congress this coming Thursday.  

"We've got roads and bridges across this country that need rebuilding, we've got private companies with the equipment and the manpower to do the building," Obama told a crowd of union workers at a rally on Monday. "We've got more than one million unemployed construction workers ready to get dirty right now."

President Obama, who stressed that job creation should be the top priority for everyone in Washington, says he will present his plan to Congress on Thursday. He told the crowd Washington lawmakers need to worry less about their own jobs, and more about the jobs of Americans.

"There is work to be done and there are workers ready to do it," said Obama. "Labor is on board, business is on board, we just need congress to get on board. Let's get America back to work."

Obama also reiterated his support of workers' rights.

"Having a voice on the job and a chance to organize and a chance to negotiate for a fair day's pay, after a hard day's work, that is the right of every man and woman in America -- not just the CEO in the corner office, but also the janitor who cleans that office after the CEO goes home."

Obama acknowledged that "times are tough," but urged the thousands of union members in attendance to not give up.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Defends Debt Ceiling Decision to Supporters 

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama asked for about 140 seconds of his supporters' time Monday to explain in a video released by his re-election campaign why he did what he did to push through a deal on raising the nation's debt ceiling.

The president explained that Washington had no other choice but to avoid defaulting on the government's bills, a default that would have dealt "a devastating blow to our economy at a time when we can least afford it."

In downplaying the GOP success in getting the deal done, Obama also tried to minimize the coming $1 trillion in spending cuts that will occur over the first decade of the plan.

What the president said he's most concerned with is the second phase of the proposal, involving a special commission of 12 legislators who will recommend reductions to shrink the deficit by another $1.5 trillion by 2021.

With their recommendations due this November, Obama vowed to push for an end to tax breaks for the top two percent of American wage-earners and corporations, saying a balanced approach is the best way to replenish the nation's coffers.

Failing that, triggers are built into the plan that would mean automatic big reductions in Medicare and Pentagon spending.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


U.S. Slashes $800 Million in Military Aid to Pakistan

Pete Souza/The White House(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- In a sign of tensions with Pakistan following the U.S. raid on former Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, White House chief of staff Bill Daley said Sunday that the U.S. will suspend some $800 million in aid to Pakistan's military.

Daley confirmed a report in The New York Times Sunday morning that "up to about $800 million in military aid and equipment, or over one-third of the more than $2 billion in annual American security assistance to Pakistan, could be affected" because of concerns over Pakistan's expulsion of American military trainers, as well as Pakistan's ineffectiveness in fighting militants.

Tensions have been on the rise since the successful U.S. mission against bin Laden in May, who was hiding in a suburb of Pakistan's capital, with Pakistani officials angry over the incursion into their territory without permission.

"It's a complicated relationship in a very difficult complicated part of the world," Daley said. "Obviously there is still a lot of pain that the political system in Pakistan is feeling by virtue of the raid that we did to get Osama bin Laden, something that the President felt strongly about, that we have no regrets over.

Frustration with Pakistan boiled over in Congress in June, after news that the half-dozen-or-so Pakistanis who were vital to the mission to get bin Laden had been detained by Pakistan's top spy agency.

"How long do we support governments that lie to us? When do we say, 'Enough is enough'?" Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., asked Secretary of Defense Robert Gates at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing June 15. "They arrested people who helped us get him."

Gates prompted laughter with his response:

"First of all, I would say, based on 27 years in CIA and four-and-a-half years in this job, most governments lie to each other," he said. "That's the way business gets done."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


President Obama Makes Surprise Visit to Afghanistan

Photo Courtesy - AFP/Getty Images(BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan) -- President Obama arrived in Afghanistan Friday for an unannounced visit with American troops.

The president's visit comes as his administration nears completion of a strategic review of the nine-year war and as diplomatic cables made public by WikiLeaks express concern about corruption in the government of Hamid Karzai.

The trip is Barack Obama's third trip to the country, and his second as president.

The president was originally scheduled to have a "working dinner" with Afghan President Hamid Karzai at his presidential palace in Kabul in this unannounced visit, and to meet with civilian personnel at the U.S. Embassy in the capital city. But strong winds and low cloud cover made helicopter travel hazardous, so in the last few hours of the president's trip to Bagram on Air Force One, the Kabul part of the visit was scrapped.

The principal reason for the trip is for the president to thank U.S. troops for their service during the holiday season, National Security adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters traveling on Air Force One. "It's a tough time" for troops since they're away from their loved ones.

The president will meet with eight wounded patients at Bagram -- five troops and three civilians -- and present four Purple Heart awards. He will also meet with troops from the 101st Airborne Division, which is in the midst of its fourth combat deployment since 2003, having served two tours in Iraq and one previous 15 month rotation from 2008 through 2009.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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