Entries in Cabinet (5)


President Obama Golfing with Cabinet Secretaries

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- After a week of hearings in Washington and despite cloudy skies, President Obama is spending his Saturday afternoon on the golf course.

Obama's foursome included Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Senior Policy Advisor Sam Kass.

Obama has frequented the golf course often this spring, but until Saturday always with male golfing partners. Sebelius is the first woman to join the president on the golf course this year.

Sebelius was seen getting into the president's SUV before the motorcade left the White House.

Kass is also the executive director of Let's Move! and an assistant chef at the White House.

The president’s golf outing comes after the White House spent a week dealing with a series of political scandals, from the IRS targeting conservative groups seeking tax exempt status for extra scrutiny, to the administration’s release of a trove of e-mails about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last year, to the Department of Justice obtaining phone records of Associated Press reporters.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Obama’s Cabinet Shuffle: Who Is Leaving, Who Was Asked to Stay

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) --- With the departure of Hilda Solis at the Labor Department, we have now seen five members of the President Obama’s Cabinet announcing their intention to leave since the election: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson and now, Secretary of Labor Solis.

Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood has also long suggested he would not stay for a second term.

There’s nothing unusual about second term Cabinet changes, of course, and there may be more to come.  But a senior White House official tells ABC News' Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl that at least three other cabinet secretaries have been asked to stay as the Obama begins his second term:

  • Attorney General Eric Holder
  • Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
  • Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki

Among the others we are waiting to hear from: Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and, not in the Cabinet but important, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Romney Demurs on Dems in Cabinet at Education Summit

Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post(NEW YORK) -- Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney Tuesday refused to divulge whether he would include Democrats in his cabinet like Education Secretary Arne Duncan, should he win the White House in November.

“I haven’t chosen cabinet secretaries,” Romney said when asked by Brian Williams during NBC’s “Education Nation” summit in New York City. “I’m not putting anybody on my cabinet right now … It’s a little presumptuous of me, but just a little.”

Romney in the past has praised Obama’s education secretary and did so Tuesday too while highlighting areas where he doesn’t support everything that Duncan has done in the Obama administration.

“He wants to promote at the same time a national curriculum. I prefer to let states and communities decide what their own curriculum will be, but that’s, that’s his choice,” Romney said. “But I do believe his focus on more choice and creating opportunities for the best teachers to be better compensated is a good idea.”

The forum Tuesday at the New York Public Library also featured a taped interview with President Obama speaking about education, drawing another side-by-side comparison of the candidates.

Romney was asked in light of the Chicago teachers strike this month if teachers should be allowed to strike.

“I don’t know that I would prevent teachers from being able to strike,” he answered. “I just think the most important aspect in being able to have a productive relationship between the teachers’ unions and the districts and the states that they’re dealing with is that the person sitting across the table from them should not have received the largest campaign contributions from the teachers’ union itself. ”

Romney noted that he didn’t mean to be “terribly partisan,” alluding to President Obama’s support from the teachers union, “but I kind of am.”

He said this is a conflict of interest in his book that should be addressed.

“The largest contributors to the Democratic Party are the teachers’ unions, the federal teachers’ unions, and so if they can elect someone, then that person is supposed to be representing the public, vis-à-vis the teachers’ union, but actually most for their money came from the teachers’ union,” he said. “I do believe we have to have a recognition that the person sitting across the table is representing the public and the students, not the teachers’ union.”

Romney’s own education was targeted during the course of the summit, as he was asked if the nation owes every student the equivalent of the  education he received growing up in suburban Detroit private school as a high school student.

“I reject the idea that everybody has to have a, if you will, a Harvard-expense level degree in order to be successful,” Romney replied. “I realize it’s not just money, that it is instead a focus on how you spend the money, attracting the best and brightest in the profession, promoting the very best, measuring the performance of students, giving his students the incentive to excel.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


‘Fire a Lot of People’? Carville Advice for Obama Has Risks, Rewards

Scott Halleran/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Democratic strategist James Carville’s brash advice for President Obama -- “fire a lot of people” -- has raised some eyebrows in Washington, and with it the question of whether he could be right.

“It’s not going to work with the same team, the same strategy and the same excuses,” Carville said in an open letter to Obama posted on “It’s time to show them the exit. Wake up -- show us you are doing something.”

Carville, who has advised the presidential campaigns of Bill and Hilary Clinton and Sen. John Kerry, hasn’t been bashful about criticizing the Obama White House.  But his latest prescription -- “panic!” -- ups the ante just a little bit more.

Obama needs to take a page from the playbooks of Clinton and Reagan, who both revitalized their political standing at points during their presidencies by shuffling their staffs and throwing some members out the door, Carville said.

But history also offers examples of presidential purges gone awry.

Princeton University presidential historian Julian Zelizer said Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter both deeply undermined their credibility to govern after making similar moves.

When Ford shook up his cabinet and rearranged his staff in 1975, “it backfired,” Zelizer said. “It looked like Ford was losing control and not gaining control.”

Four years later, Jimmy Carter’s “great purge” -- ousting 34 cabinet members and staff aides -- met a similar fate.

“It looked like he was out of control and didn’t know what he was doing, as it were,” Zelizer said.

“I think it’s very hard to play out politically what’s the public going to think of a shake-up. So I don’t know if Carville is right about the political consequences,” he said.

One potential concern for Obama could be that cleaning house would publicly confirm that something is wrong with his approach on the economy -- an admission neither he nor his aides have been willing to make.

Obama has devoutly affirmed his policy, while asking for patience -- and an end to partisanship -- to see it through.

“We are going through extraordinary times,” Obama told a crowd of donors at a private Washington, D.C., fundraiser Thursday night. “Historically, after financial recessions, it is a challenge and a struggle.  And over the last two and a half years what we’ve been able to do is stabilize an economy, but at a level where unemployment remains way too high.”

That fact won’t disappear soon, staff shake-up or not. And it’s something many Democrats point to in suggesting Obama’s strategy has got to change.

“I think it’s up to the president right now … to make clear what he stated the other day -- that he’s going to get up and think about jobs, [that] there’s a sense of urgency and commitment,” said Andy Stern, the former president of Service Employees International Union, “and he’s not going to just sit around and referee, you know, disagreement between the two political parties.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Super Bowl Party at the White House, Including J-Lo, Republicans

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The president this weekend will host his annual Super Bowl party at the White House to watch the Green Bay Packers take on the Pittsburgh Steelers.   But among the usual guests, including members of Congress, cabinet members and White House staff are Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, the First Lady’s Office confirmed Thursday.

Some members of Congress and their families, most of whom have a particular allegiance to their home state’s team, were also invited.

Those members of Congress who have so far RSVP-ed are the senators from Pennsylvania -- Republican Sen. Pat Toomey and Democrat Sen. Bob Casey. Rep. Reid Ribble, R-Wisc., and State Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Texas, from Dallas will also attend.

Members of the president’s cabinet, including Attorney General Eric Holder, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will also watch the game at the White House.

White House staff will also attend the party that will be in the state floor of the White House.

The president, a Chicago Bears fan, has said that he remains neutral on who to root for during Sunday’s game.

“Now that the Bears have lost, I've got to stay neutral,” Obama told YouTube’s head of news and politics, Steve Grove, last week. Obama added, “And may the best team win.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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