Entries in POTUS (7)


Weekly Address: President Obama Wants Congress to Stop an Income Tax Hike for the Middle Class  

The White House(WASHINGTON) -- In his weekly address, President Obama reminds the nation he wants to protect the middle class from an income tax hike.

Obama says, “Leaders in Congress are working on a way to prevent this tax hike on the middle class, and I believe we may be able to reach an agreement that can pass both houses in time.”

If an agreement is not reached in time, the president will “urge the Senate to hold an up-or-down vote on a basic package that protects the middle class from an income tax hike, extends vital unemployment insurance for Americans looking for a job, and lays the groundwork for future progress on more economic growth and deficit reduction.”

Obama warns that “if [Congress] still want to vote no, and let this tax hit the middle class, that’s their prerogative – but they should let everyone vote.”

The president closes with “You meet your deadlines and your responsibilities every day.  The folks you sent here to serve should do the same.  We cannot let Washington politics get in the way of America’s progress.  We’ve got to do what it takes to protect the middle class, grow this economy, and move our country forward."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama's Weekly Address: Marking the Anniversary of the End of the Iraq War

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(FORT BLISS, Texas) -- Two years after he ended the combat mission in Iraq, President Obama is touting his plan to bring troops home from Afghanistan, saying it’s time to “do some nation-building here at home.”
In his weekly address, the president congratulated troops for a “job well done” in Iraq but noted “there is still difficult work ahead of us in Afghanistan.”
“We’ve broken the Taliban’s momentum in Afghanistan, and begun the transition to an Afghan lead.  Next month, the last of the troops I ordered as part of the surge against the Taliban will come home, and by 2014, the transition to Afghan lead will be complete,” he said in remarks taped at Fort Bliss in Texas, where Obama addressed troops Friday.
The focus on Afghanistan comes after the Obama campaign criticized newly-minted GOP nominee Mitt Romney for failing to mention the men and women serving there in his speech at the GOP convention.
“As long as we have a single American in harm’s way, we will continue to do everything in our power to keep them safe and help them succeed.  That means giving them a clear mission and the equipment they need on the front lines,” Obama said. “But it also means taking care of our veterans and their families.  Because no one who fights for this country should have to fight for a job or a roof over their head when they come home.”
The president highlighted his administration’s efforts to boost veteran services and support military families, saying “it’s time to build a nation that lives up to the ideals that so many Americans have fought for -- a nation where they can realize the dream they sacrificed to protect.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Bill Clinton Struggled to Deal With Lewinsky Affair, Film Says

Mario Tama/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Bill Clinton apparently struggled with whether to talk publicly about his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, as his aides were surprised, even dismayed, about his relationship with the 23-year-old.

A new documentary focusing on Clinton’s life and presidency reveals that he contacted pollster Dick Morris to gauge whether he should come out with the truth when news of the affair broke.

“He said, ‘Ever since I got here to the White House I’ve had to shut my body down sexually, I mean, but I screwed up with this girl. I didn’t do what they said I did, but I may have done so much that I can’t prove my innocence,’” Morris recalls in the film Clinton, which was written and directed by Barak Goodman.

“And I said to him, ‘The problem that presidents have is not the sin, it’s the cover-up and you should explore just telling the American people the truth.’ He said, ‘Really, do you think I could do that?’ And I said, ‘Let me test it, let me run a poll.’ So I took a poll and I tested popular attitudes on that and I called him back and I said, ‘They will forgive the adultery, but they won’t easily forgive that you lied,’” Morris says in the documentary to air on PBS next week.

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Meanwhile, several of Clinton’s aides were convinced he was set up.

“He’s got all these enemies who are out to get him,” Clinton’s labor secretary, Robert Reich, said in the film. “He wouldn’t be so stupid as to jeopardize his entire presidency. For what? No, that was not the Bill Clinton I knew.”

Clinton first denied the affair that broke out in the news media in 1998, famously saying he “did not have sexual relations with that woman.” He later admitted to oral sex with the young intern and said his relationship with Lewinsky was wrong and inappropriate.

“I am profoundly sorry for all I have done wrong in words and in deeds,” he said Dec. 11, 1998. “I never should have misled the country, the Congress, my friends or my family. Quite simply, I gave in to my shame.”

Although his subsequent impeachment made him only the second U.S. president to be impeached, Clinton’s aides say that in a way, the former president himself set up barriers that he could then leap across and he was always confident he could find his way back.

“How many second chances does any one person deserve?” his former press secretary, Dee Dee Myers, said in the film. “Clinton’s view is as many second chances as a person is willing to try to take. As many times as you fail, don’t you deserve the chance to redeem yourself? Isn’t history loaded with people who have fallen and gotten up, fallen and gotten up and done great things?”

Clinton declined to comment on the film.

The documentary also details the challenges Hillary Clinton faced as first lady. Clinton was, behind the scenes, a powerful force in the White House but aides said her strengths often turned into his weaknesses.

“Voters thought that it was a zero-sum game, that for Hillary to be strong, Bill would have to be weak, and as a result the perception of Hillary’s strength became a perception of Bill’s weakness,” Morris said.

Hillary Clinton was blamed by many for a weak turnout in the 1994 election and for the failure of the administration’s health care reform plan in 1993 that failed to gain momentum.

“She was outspoken, she was smart, she was hard driving, and some people resented her,” Clinton Deputy Chief of Staff Harold Ickes said in the film. “Remember during the campaign, it was two for the price of one, well people aren’t electing two for the price of one. They’re electing the president.”

The documentary airs on PBS Feb. 20-21, as part of  its American Experience series.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Four Donors Headed to Dinner with President Obama

(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)(WASHINGTON) -- Another group of donors has been chosen to dine with President Obama Thursday night, and the campaign is flying them in from across the country.

The donors: Ken Knight works for the U.S. Postal Service in Chandler, Ariz.; Casey Helbling owns a small business in Minneapolis;  Wendi Smith of Corydon, Ind., is identified by the campaign as an artist and retired professor; and Juanita Martinez is a retired teacher from Brighton, Colo.

The campaign added Vice President Joe Biden’s name to the guest list in June, hoping to attract more entries.

“Not just anyone gets the chance to sit down to dinner with President Obama,” the appeal read. “And even fewer people have the opportunity to sit down to dinner with both the President and the Vice President.”

But Biden will be a no-show. He’s en route to Saudi Arabia on a diplomatic mission.

For a future dinner, the Obama campaign website in September solicited donations of $5 with a “Dinner with Barack” promotion.

Before the contest closed, however, first lady Michelle Obama sent out a solicitation lowering the threshold to $3.“These dinners mean a lot to Barack,” she wrote. “They’re a chance for him to talk with a few of the people who are driving the campaign, and a chance for him to say thank you, so come prepared to tell your story, and say whatever’s on your mind.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Gum in White House Photo Fuels Curiosity on Obama's Smoking Habit

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- It's not news that President Obama uses nicotine gum to help aid his tobacco addiction, but in a White House photo released Tuesday there is some indication that the president may still be chewing it.

Next to his iPad, on an otherwise very clean desk, in a picture taken last Sunday, is what appears to be nicotine gum like Nicorette, in its trademark square packet.

In March, President Obama celebrated a year on the wagon not smoking with the aid of nicotine gum and celery sticks.


Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Yarmuth: If Bachmann is GOP Candidate, Obama Would Win All 50 States’

ABC/Donna Svennevik(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth is rooting for Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann to win the GOP presidential nomination.

On ABC’s “Top Line” today, Yarmuth, D-Ky., said he thinks the Republican Party “is much too sensible” to hand the nomination to Bachmann, R-Minn., a tea party favorite who’s quickly positioned herself in the top tier of presidential contenders.

But if Bachmann does win, Yarmuth asserted, expect President Obama to be reelected in an unprecedented landslide.

“Michele Bachmann is not equipped to be president of the United States. She is totally out of the mainstream. Her ideas are extremely radical and reckless,” Yarmuth told us.

“Just saying that she's not going to vote against the debt ceiling under any circumstances indicates to me she's obviously not equipped to be president of the United States. She would bring this economy to its knees, just for some philosophical ideology that she has. But that's the way she is.”

“She's a very talented marketer. She knows her assets and she markets them well. But if she were fully exposed to the scrutiny of a presidential campaign, I'm very confident President Obama would win all 50 states.”

Yarmuth made similar comments about the impact of a Bachmann candidacy last week in an interview with the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


President Obama Changing Policy on Service Member Suicides

Jupiterimages/Comstock(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- President Obama this week decided to change the longstanding policy that until now excluded families of U.S. service members who killed themselves in war zones from receiving presidential condolence letters, White House officials told ABC News.

The policy -- decades old, and likely rooted in military perceptions that suicide is dishonorable -- has been under review by the president’s National Security Staff since December 2009.

Since then, a senior White House official said, the National Security Staffer engaged in an exhaustive review process, and the president decided to make the change, prompted by "the conversations we had with experts about de-stigmatizing suicide, (and) the conversations we had with military families.”

Letters to families of service members who die in war zones will be from the president, and will differ depending on the type of death, as in a combat death versus an accidental death.

“The President feels strongly that we need to de-stigmatize the mental health costs of war to prevent these tragic deaths, and changing this policy is part of that process,” a senior White House official said.

The Pentagon has been trying to address the skyrocketing rates of suicide in recent years. More than 200 U.S. service members have killed themselves in the theaters of war in Iraq and Afghanistan since those wars began.

Still more have committed suicide outside combat areas. In August 2010, the final report of the Department of Defense Task Force on the Prevention of Suicide by Members of the Armed Forces concluded: “The physical and psychological demands on both the deployed and non-deployed warriors are enormous. In the 5 years from 2005 to 2009, more than 1,100 members of the Armed Forces took their own lives, an average of 1 suicide every 36 hours.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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