Entries in President Barack Obama (5)


President Obama Committed to Helping Colorado Deal with Wildfire

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama spoke with Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper Friday to reaffirm his commitment to helping Colorado as it deals with the most destructive wildfire in the state’s history.

The White House said Saturday that Hickenlooper updated the president about the current conditions on the fire just outside Colorado Springs.

President Obama expressed his concern for the damage that has been caused by the fire that started Tuesday and gave his condolences to the families who have lost relatives.

Nearly 500 homes have been destroyed and two people were killed preparing to flee from the wildfire.  Authorities have lifted some evacuation orders and thousands of people are expected to return to their homes Saturday.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Dewey Bozella: Wrongfully Convicted Man Now Free to Box 

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- Dewey Bozella wanted just one shot, one chance, to box professionally. Now, at the age of 52, he finally got the chance to step into the ring.

Bozella was one of the oldest persons ever to box in a sanctioned match when he won a unanimous decision over Larry Hopkins at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Saturday night. Bozella fought with a simple message: Don't ever give up.

For more than a quarter century, he had every reason to lose hope, every excuse to give up.

He spent 26 years in New York's infamous Sing Sing prison for a murder he did not commit.

Four times he could have walked out a free man—if only he would have admitted to the crime. Each time he refused, maintaining his innocence.

In boxing, Bozella found salvation.

This most brutal of sports gave Bozella an inner peace, and the strength to carry on. Day after day, month after month, year after year, the hope of having one fight as a free man kept him going.

In October 2009, Bozella was formally cleared. He was finally released from prison and this past summer, he was honored by ESPN as its 2011 Arthur Ashe Award winner for his courage.

Boxer Bernard Hopkins heard Bozella's story, and offered him the chance to fight on the undercard of his championship bout against Chad Dawson at the Staples Center Saturday.

"This is not a charity case," Hopkins told the Los Angeles Times this week. "This man is fulfilling his dream."

For so long, a dream is all Bozella had.

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Bozella was 9 years old when he witnessed his father beat his pregnant mother to death. One brother was later stabbed and killed. And another brother was shot in the head. Young Dewey fell into a life of petty crime.

He moved to upstate Poughkeepsie, N.Y., hoping to turn things around. He took up boxing and trained at a gym run by former heavyweight champ Floyd Patterson. He showed promise. But trouble soon came knocking.

In 1983, he was convicted in the brutal killing of a 92-year-old Poughkeepsie woman.

There was no physical evidence tying him to the killing; he said he had been bicycling far from the scene. But two convicts fingered Bozella in return for their own freedom. He received a 20-year sentence.

"Every day I had to ask myself, 'How do I survive this nightmare, Sing Sing,' a place where hate and anger are the order of the day," Bozella told ESPN earlier this year.

"I didn't merely want to survive, I wanted to thrive," he said. "Boxing awakened me. I felt free during my workouts for the first time. I was no longer a prisoner."

In 1990, Bozella won a second trial. As the jury deliberated, the prosecutor offered him a deal: admit guilt, and walk out of prison. Bozella refused. And then the jury convicted him.

"I'd die before I would tell you I did it. I can't, I can't. You are not going to make me say something I didn't do," he told ESPN.

Bozella spent his days in Sing Sing's gym, and his nights earning his GED, and his bachelor's and master's degrees.

He fell in love with a woman who was visiting another inmate, and got married.

"I learned to take myself from the bad position and make it a better position, because if I hold onto it I'm just going to burn with hatred," he said. "If I have to die in prison, that's just the way it is."

Bozella continuously reached out to lawyers and to journalists, and for years he wrote the Innocence Project the exact same letter, week after week, urging them to take up his case. Five years after receiving the first letter, the Innocence Project agreed—only to discover that the police had destroyed all of the physical evidence in the case.

The law firm WilmerHale eventually picked up the case and tracked down the senior lead detective in the case, leading to an astonishing break.

The detective handed over a copy of the case file—the only file he had taken home with him after he retired.

"I had figured someday someone would come knocking on my door," the detective, Arthur Regula, told ESPN. "There were certain things in the case that made me have doubts whether Dewey Bozella was actually involved. I just could never throw it away."

The file revealed that prosecution witnesses had lied, and that another suspect had confessed to the crime—information that had been withheld from Bozella's lawyers all those years.

On Thursday, as Bozella prepared for his first—and he says, only—professional fight, he received a phone call. It was President Obama.

"I heard about your story and wanted to call and say good luck in your first professional fight," Obama told him. "Everything you have accomplished while you were in prison and everything you have been doing since you got out is something that I think all of us are very impressed with."

A short time later, a beaming Bozella spoke to ABC New York station WABC-TV about the dream he harbored all those years.

"My message is, 'To never let fear define who you are, and never let where you came from determine where you are going,''' he said.

"When I was in prison, they were telling me, 'You can't do this, you can't do that, it's never going to happen.' And now look," he said. "It was something I believed in my heart would happen, and now the possibilities are happening."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


9/11 Anniversary Plot: Terror Suspects Came From Inside U.S. YORK) -- Officials told ABC News that the suspects alleged to be plotting a 9/11 anniversary terror attack began their journey to jihad inside the U.S., traveling to the al Qaeda stronghold in the tribal areas along the Afghanistan/Pakistan border in the late summer before returning to the U.S. on Aug. 30 or Sept 1.

This more specific information comes from the same CIA informant who said three people were dispatched by al Qaeda to carry out a bomb plot in either New York City or Washington D.C., and has allowed the intelligence manhunters to dramatically narrow down the pool of names that could match the partial descriptions the informant provided.

ABC News reported Friday that one name may have been identified already—about a day after the hunt began in earnest. The hunt has included an analysis of flight logs and other documents.

The intelligence from the informant, who is considered reliable by the CIA, led to the national state of high alert over the possible terror strike on the anniversary of 9/11, but the informant's information itself may be secondhand, ABC News has learned.

Despite the secondhand nature of the source, the high quality of the information led authorities to deem the threat credible, if uncorroborated, and triggered the massive rapid police response in Washington D.C. and New York City, and the all-hands intelligence community and law enforcement manhunt.

"What's striking about this particular information is its clarity," a senior official told ABC News. "Usually intelligence comes in bits and pieces and officials have to connect dots. Here, I'm told, there were no dots to connect, there was so much detail in one place at one time. It was all laid out. If it's a plot, it is well-planned and there's an intention to go forward with it. If it turns out not to be real then it's definitely not. There is no middle ground."

With the anniversary less than 24 hours away, officials say they have no choice but to act as if the threat is real and the clock is ticking.

"Al Qaeda again is seeking to harm Americans and, in particular, to target New York and Washington," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Friday in New York. "We are taking this threat seriously. Federal, state and local authorities are taking all steps to address it."

It was only four days ago, on Wednesday in Pakistan, according to officials, that the CIA developed the information about a possible al Qaeda terror plot targeting the United States.

Three men, including at least one and maybe two American citizens, had allegedly travelled to the U.S. in mid-August, from Pakistan through Dubai, assigned to attack New York City or Washington D.C. with a vehicle bomb on Sept. 10, 11 or 12.

The intelligence was relayed to Washington and CIA headquarters late Wednesday night.

Early Thursday, at the White House, the president and the vice president received the first of several briefings on the threat.

Around 7 p.m. Thursday, as the president arrived to address Congress, the FBI and the CIA were in high gear.

"You use all the resources that we have, people are working 24/7 on this issue," said Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., ranking minority member of the House Intelligence Committee, who was among the members of Congress briefed on the alleged threat. "Any time you get a reliable source and you're attempting to corroborate it or confirm it, you use all the resources that we have. People are working 24/7 on this issue."

Late Thursday night, the FBI and Homeland Security issued a bulletin to 18,000 law enforcement agencies detailing the threat, including explosives, small arms and poisons.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


President Obama Discusses High-Speed Internet

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(MARQUETTE, Mich.) -- President Obama traveled to frigid Marquette (the temperature was negative 19 degrees with the wind chill) Thursday to sell his plan to make high-speed wireless Internet service available to at least 98 percent of Americans. 

Residents and businesses in rural Marquette are using super-fast WiMAX Internet, and towns like Marquette, the president said, will create the jobs and businesses of tomorrow.

“For our families and businesses, high-speed wireless service - that’s the next rail train station. It’s the next off-ramp. It’s how we’ll spark new innovation, new investments, new jobs,” Obama said. 

The president also wants to double wireless spectrum availability for mobile broadband, invest $3 billion in development of emerging wireless technologies, and develop a nationwide wireless network for public safety.  The White House says the president’s plan will cut the deficit by nearly 10 billion over the next decade. Republicans are likely unwilling to increase spending for the president’s wireless plan. 

Making the point that throughout history Americans have taken on bold infrastructure projects in order to expand the economy, the president told the crowd about how the early Americans who fanned out from the 13 colonies to settle the continent built the transcontinental railroad.

“This is a new century.  And we cannot expect tomorrow’s economy to take root along yesterday’s infrastructure. We’ve got to think about the next new thing.”

Emphasizing how critical it is that the nation get virtually all Americans access to high-speed Internet, President Obama pointed out to the crowd that 90 percent of homes in South Korean subscribe to high-speed broadband.  “In America, the nation that created the Internet...only 65 percent of households here in America can say the same.  When it comes to high-speed Internet, the lights are still off in one-third of our households,” said Obama. “For millions of Americans, the railway hasn’t showed up yet.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Tucson Shooting: Friend of Jared Loughner Speaks Out About Motive

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- Investigators are searching for a black bag that alleged Arizona gunman Jared Lee Loughner took from his family's car, as President Barack Obama heads to a memorial service to honor the victims of the shooting that left six people dead and 13 injured.

On the morning of the Tucson shootings, Loughner's father saw him take a black bag out of a car trunk. When the father approached, his mumbling son took off running and the father chased him in his car, investigators said.

Police haven't said what was in the bag, but they continue to search for it.

Meanwhile, a high school friend of the 22-year-old Loughner remembers a man starkly different from the unstable man with the piercing stare in his mugshot.

"I wish I could have helped him.... I just forgot about him, you know," Zach Osler said. "We stopped talking to each other. I wish there was something I could have did or said to help him or try to get him help. I just didn't, so that's why it's hard to look at the picture of him, it looks like a monster."

Loughner was arraigned at a federal court in Phoenix Tuesday on charges related to the deadly shooting that has left Rep. Gabrielle Giffords fighting for her life.

Giffords remains in critical condition, but doctors remain optimistic about her recovery. She is now breathing on her own.

"He wasn't shooting people, he was shooting at the world," Osler said.

Loughner's downward spiral and increasing anger began after a high school girlfriend broke up with him, Osler said. As a teen, Loughner turned to heavy drinking and drugs, such as the legal hallucinogen Salvia, Osler said.

"He would say he was using it and he would talk about it and say what [it] would do to him and I was like, 'Dude, that's screwed up.'"

Osler described the Loughner family home as uninviting.

"The house itself is kind of shrouded, it's covered cold, cold dark unpleasant....I always felt unwelcome, always, like I shouldn't be there," Osler said.

Loughner's parents, Randy and Amy Loughner, did not attend his arraignment. Instead, the devastated parents issued a statement Tuesday saying they "don't understand" what prompted their son to allegedly go on a "heinous" shooting rampage.

"This is a very difficult time for us. We ask the media to respect our privacy," according to the statement. "There are no words that can possibly express how we feel. We wish that there were so we could make you feel better. We don't understand why this happened.

"It may not make any difference, but we wish that we could change the heinous events of Saturday. We care very deeply about the victims and their families. We are so very sorry for their loss."

It was the first word from Loughner's family since the carnage on Saturday.

Loughner's parents have sealed themselves in their suburban Tucson home since Saturday's shooting, blocking access to the front door with a piece of wood to presumably keep people off their property.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio