Entries in Obama (11)


King Center Releases Trove of Personal Notes on MLK Day

Tom Williams/Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- Visitors Monday commemorated the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. at his memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., marking the first holiday at the site, which opened in August.

The King Center Monday also posted about 200,000 never-before-seen documents by the slain civil rights leader on its Web site. The documents are wide ranging and give a closer look into the portfolio of  one of the world’s most revered civil rights leaders. The online archive contains materials such as King’s transcript from Harvard University, his personal notes, telegrams to President John F. Kennedy and letters to and from Vice President Richard Nixon.

In a letter to Nixon, King describes the need for a sustained grassroots movement, a message that resonates even today.

“It is almost my firm conviction that the full effect of the Civil Rights Bill will depend in large degree upon the program of a sustained mass movement on the part of Negroes,” King wrote to Nixon Aug. 30, 1957. “History has demonstrated that inadequate legislation supported by mass action can accomplish more than adequate legislation which remains unenforced for the lack of a determined mass movement.”

The archives released Monday also include such personal notes as hate mail to King, calling African-Americans “savages” and accusing the Nobel Peace Prize recipient of winning the distinguished award only because he came from America.

The archives were financed and overseen by JP Morgan Chase, which built a team of more than 200 individuals for the project.

Meanwhile, President Obama and the first family commemorated King Monday with a service project at a local school. “There’s nobody who can’t serve,” the president told volunteers of the civil rights leaders’ legacy, adding that volunteering is the best to mark this holiday.

Civil rights leaders and federal officials Monday morning laid a wreath at King’s memorial to remember the leader.

The highlight of the $120 million project, led by the King Memorial Foundation, is a 30-foot tall sculpture of King inspired by his “I have a Dream” speech.

Last week, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar gave the National Park Service a 30-day deadline to fix an inscription that shortens one of the civil rights leaders’ sayings.

The inscription now reads: “I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness.”

But King instead said: “Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness.” The quote is from a sermon titled “The Drum Major Instinct” that 39-year-old King delivered two months before he was killed, discussing how he would want to be remembered.

Poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou, a leading critic of the paraphrasing, has said that the out-of-context quote makes King sound like “an arrogant twit.”

“He had no arrogance at all. He had a humility that comes from deep inside,” she told the Washington Post last year. “The ‘if’ clause that is left out is salient. Leaving it out changes the meaning completely.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Illegal Alien Hero at Center of Debate on New Policy for Immigrants

John Moore/Getty Images(ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.) -- The Obama administration's new policy allowing illegal immigrants without criminal records to remain in the country has stirred up debate, and Antonio Diaz Chacon, the country's latest illegal immigrant hero, is in the middle of it.

On Monday, Chacon, 23, jumped into his pickup truck when he saw a 6-year-old girl being abducted and chased down the alleged abductor, who crashed into a light pole and ran into the desert in Albuquerque, N.M. Chacon then rescued the child, and the suspect has since been arrested and charged with kidnapping and child abuse.

While being questioned by reporters, Chacon revealed his immigration status.

Chacon, who is originally from Chihuahua, Mexico, is married to an American and has been in the United States for four years.

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry declared Friday Antonio Diaz Chacon Day in the city and presented Diaz Chacon with a Spanish language plaque at an afternoon ceremony.

Chacon's wife, Martha Diaz, who is a U.S. citizen, said she and her husband are worried about the consequences of revealing his immigration status, but "he thinks thinks this happened for a reason," according to

Under the new immigration policy announced by the Obama administration this week, it is possible that Chacon would not be deported.

Jennifer Allen of Border Action Network says the policy would apply to those who have been in the United States for many years and have been positive members of the community.

"The President is recognizing it simply does not make sense for this country to be removing children who have grown up and know this country better than they know any other country; or removing the spouses of active duty military, certain service men and women," Allen told ABC News affiliate KGUN-TV in Tucson, Ariz.

In a White House blog post, Cecilia Munoz, the administration's director of intergovernmental affairs, defended the new policy.

"It makes no sense to spend our enforcement resources on these low-priority cases when they could be used with more impact on others, including individuals who have been convicted of serious crimes," Munoz wrote.

"This means more immigration enforcement pressure where it counts the most, and less where it doesn't," she said. "That's the smartest way to follow the law while we stay focused on working with the Congress to fix it."

Officials noted that cases can and will be re-opened at any time if the government receives new information on criminal behavior.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama at Dover Air Force Base to Witness Return of Fallen Soldiers

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(DOVER, Dela.) -- President Obama arrived at Dover Air Force Base Tuesday to pay his respects to the fallen service members who lost their lives in this weekend’s deadly helicopter crash in Afghanistan, and to witness the dignified transfer of their remains.

The president arrived at Dover at 12:30 p.m. to see the arrival of the remains of the 22 SEALs, three Air Force controllers, and five Army helicopter crew killed Saturday when Taliban insurgents shot down a CH-47 Chinook in the Tangi Valley, marking the deadliest single attack in the Afghan war's ten year history.

The identities of the 30 victims are being withheld at this time.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Gen. Shalikashvili, Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Dies

Dirck Halstead//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Gen. John M. Shalikashvili, who was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1993 to 1997 under President Bill Clinton, died at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington Saturday. He was 75.

Shalikashvili, who was better known by his nickname, General Shali, died from complications following a stroke.

"From his arrival in the United States as a 16-year old Polish immigrant after the Second World War, to a young man who learned English from John Wayne movies, to his rise to the highest ranks of our military, Shali's life was an 'only in America' story. By any measure, he made our country a safer and better place," President Obama said in a statement.

The general served for more than 39 years on active duty and is best known for his role during the dissolution of the Soviet Union, during which time he worked to ensure the security of nuclear weapons of the former Soviet states.

With then Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, he helped create NATO's Partnership for Peace and NATO enlargement programs that fostered relationships between former Soviet states and NATO.

"As Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he strengthened our alliances in Europe and in Asia, forged closer defense ties with Russia, and championed the Partnership for Peace with the former Soviet states. At the same time, he oversaw successful military operations in Bosnia and Haiti, and elsewhere," the president's statement said.

When Shalikashvili retired in 1997, Clinton awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award given by the United States.

"Throughout his career, Gen. Shalikashvili was a tremendous leader and mentor to thousands of servicemen and women, and as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff he represented our nation and its military with great dignity and success," read a statement from the JBLM. "Locally, he has been a stalwart supporter to our military community, a trusted adviser to military leaders at the base and a friend to the entire region."

Shalikashvili is survived by his wife, Joan and their son, Brant.

An open memorial service is scheduled to be held on Aug. 6 at the Tacoma Convention Center. A funeral service will be held at a later date at Arlington National Cemetery.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Awards Six Purple Hearts

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(BETHESDA, Md.) -- President Obama on Wednesday visited the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, where he awarded six Purple Hearts and met with wounded warriors and their families.

“During his visit to the National Naval Medical Center today, the President met with 22 service members -- 21 of whom served in Afghanistan, 1 of whom served in Iraq,” White House Spokesperson Nick Shapiro said in a statement. “While at the hospital, the President awarded 6 Purple Hearts.”

The president spent an hour and a half at the Medical Center before returning to the White House.  Mr. Obama visited the Medical Center almost exactly a year ago, for a physical, after which he visited with 12 service members who had been injured in Afghanistan or Iraq.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Nation Marks 38th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Pro-life and pro-choice advocates are in Washington this weekend to mark the 38th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade.

The famous ruling, which legalized abortion in the U.S., has its roots in 1969, when a woman named Norma L. McCorvey tried to end her pregnancy. She eventually sued the state of Texas under the alias Jane Roe. The case ultimately rose to the Supreme Court, where Justice Harry Blackmun wrote the famous court opinion drawing a vague legal line prohibiting abortion when a fetus becomes viable, or able to live outside the womb. The ruling continues to be a fiercely polarizing issue.

President Obama released a statement marking the anniversary on Saturday, asserting his belief that abortion is a matter of privacy and a "constitutional right."

"I hope that we will recommit ourselves more broadly to ensuring that our daughters have the same rights, the same freedoms, and the same opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams," the president said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Congress Approves Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act

Photo Courtesy - ABC News Radio(WASHINGTON) -- The House passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 on Thursday by a vote of 264-157. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had joined Democrats on Wednesday to call for the swift passage of the bill.

The $4.5-billion bill, which passed unanimously in the Senate last August, would expand eligibility for school lunch programs, establish nutrition standards for all school meals, and encourage schools to use locally sourced food. It would also raise the reimbursement rate to six cents per meal, marking the first time in over 30 years that Congress has increased funding for school lunch programs.

Passage of this legislation helps to advance the Obama Administration's goal of addressing the childhood obesity problem within a generation -- a sentiment at the heart of the first lady's "Let's Move!" campaign.

Despite their support, some Democrats opposed the way the Senate bill is funded, since it would take $2.2 billion away from food stamp programs. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., fought back against critics who questioned the legislation’s hefty price tag. "Some folks will say, ‘How can we afford this bill at the moment?,’" she said. "How can we afford not to pass it? Leaving millions of children hungry and malnourished now in the name of budget cutting is penny wise and pound foolish."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


President Obama Wishes Service Members a Happy Thanksgiving

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama took time out to wish members of the U.S. armed services a Happy Thanksgiving.

The White House said the president called 10 members of the armed services Thursday morning to thank them for their service and sacrifice, and to wish them and their families a Happy Thanksgiving.  
Obama called two service members from the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy deployed for Operation New Dawn and Operation Enduring Freedom.  

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Obamas Give Back for Thanksgiving

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(WASHINGTON) – President Obama and family took time to give back this Thanksgiving by helping out underprivileged families in the D.C. area.

The First Family, along with 29 family members, distributed Thanksgiving food baskets Wednesday to Martha’s Table, a charity organization that provides struggling families with much needed help.

"On behalf of our families in our education programs, staff and volunteers, we are honored that the First Family has chosen to spend their Thanksgiving with Martha's Table again this year," Said Lindsey Buss, President and CEO of Martha's Table.  "Their example of service and the spotlight they bring to the challenge of hunger and nutrition, especially for children, is a tremendous asset for all of us working to find solutions to poverty."

The Obamas volunteered their time by filling bags with fresh produce, turkeys and pies as well as spending time to help with daycare and after-school programs.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Fifteen to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(WASHINGTON) – The White House Wednesday released the names of 15 people who will be honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom early next year. The Medal of Freedom is considered to be the nation’s highest civilian honor.

“These outstanding honorees come from a broad range of backgrounds and they’ve excelled in a broad range of fields, but all of them have lived extraordinary lives that have inspired us, enriched our culture, and made our country and our world a better place,” Obama said in a statement.
The award will be presented at a White House ceremony early next year to the following individuals: 

President George H. W. Bush
Chancellor Angela Merkel, Federal Republic of Germany
Congressman John Lewis
John H. Adams
Maya Angelou
Warren Buffett 
Jasper Johns 
Gerda Weissmann Klein
Dr. Tom Little (posthumous)
Yo-Yo Ma
Sylvia Mendez
Stan Musial
Bill Russell
Jean Kennedy Smith
John J. Sweeney

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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