January 12th, 2011
05:56 PM ET

Vice President Biden arrives in Iraq

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden has arrived on an unannounced visit to Iraq following earlier stops in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The visit comes after Iraq announced the formation of an inclusive national government last month. That announcement followed a months long political stalemate between Iraq's various ethnic groups and sects following national elections in March of last year.

Biden's visit also comes after the United States formally ended its combat mission last August leaving less than 50,000 troops there in an advisory role. "The remaining troops are advising and assisting Iraq’s security forces, conducting partnered counter-terrorism operations, and protecting U.S. civilians," the White House said in a written statement announcing Biden's visit to Iraq. "In accordance with an agreement between the U.S. and Iraqi governments, all U.S. forces will leave Iraq by December 31, 2011. At the same time, the United States is increasing its diplomatic, political and economic engagement with Iraq, opening consulates and branch offices throughout the country and pursuing important programs to help train Iraq’s police and judiciary and to build strong business and investment ties."
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Topics: Iraq • Vice President Biden
Obamas depart for Tucson
The Obama's walk on the White House South Lawn as they leave for Tucson
January 12th, 2011
01:28 PM ET

Obamas depart for Tucson

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama have left the White House to head to Tucson for this evening's memorial service.

Among those expected to travel with the president to Arizona aboard Air Force One are Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary Janet Napolitano, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, Senator Gillibrand, and Representatives Pelosi, Flake, Wasserman Schultz, Gosar, Franks, Quayle, Schweikert, and Clyburn.

In addition to adressing the memorial service, Senior White House Correspondent Ed Henry reports the president will also meet with families of the victims in last Saturday's shooting rampage.

The preliminary agenda for tonight's program is as follows:
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Obama meets with Lebanese prime minister
President Obama and Prime Minister Saad Hariri meet in the Oval Office Wednesday
January 12th, 2011
01:05 PM ET

Obama meets with Lebanese prime minister

WASHINGTON (CNN) - On the same day the Lebanese government fell, President Obama expressed his commitment to Lebanon on Wednesday, and praised the leadership efforts of its prime minister, Saad Hariri, according to a White House readout of Obama’s meeting with Hariri in the Oval Office. The meeting was closed to coverage by print and television journalists.

Earlier on Wednesday in Beirut, members of the Hezbollah movement and its allies resigned from Lebanon’s unity movement, causing the collapse of Hariri’s government. The White House said Hezbollah’s efforts “demonstrate their own fear and determination to block the government’s ability to conduct its business and advance the aspirations of all of the Lebanese people.”
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Topics: President Obama
January 12th, 2011
12:00 PM ET

Poll: When will a woman be elected president?


Topics: Poll
Vice President Biden arrives in Pakistan
January 12th, 2011
11:20 AM ET

Vice President Biden arrives in Pakistan

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Vice President arrived in Pakistan this morning on a mission to make clear the American-Pakistani relationship is of vital importance to both countries.

In remarks alongside Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani at the prime minister’s residence in Islamabad, Biden said he wanted to clear up any “misconceptions” about U.S. intentions toward Pakistan, and to assure the United States is not waging a “war on Pakistan.” Biden said it was violent extremists who had “found refuge in some of the most remote parts of your country,” and who “violate Pakistan’s sovereignty and corrupt its good name.”

“Our goal is to work with your leaders and restore and strengthen sovereignty in those areas of your country where extremists have violated it,” he said.
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January 12th, 2011
10:55 AM ET

What should POTUS say tonight? Check Twitter

WASHINGTON (CNN) - With President Obama set to address a memorial service this evening in Tucson, his speechwriters are certainly hard at work crafting a message that will set the right tone. But if the president is looking for any suggestions from outside the White House, he need only look at social media sites buzzing with ideas today.

Under the hash tag #Obamashouldsay, Twitter is offering a forum for its users to offer their own suggestions of what they think they think the president should say. There is a wide array of opinion already.

@benpershing, said Obama “should just give the same speech Pres. (Bartlett) did after the school bombing,” referring to the fictional President Bartlett played by Martin Sheen on “The West Wing.”
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January 12th, 2011
07:44 AM ET

POTUS Schedule for Wednesday January 12, 2010

In the morning, the President will receive the Presidential Daily Briefing in the Oval Office. This meeting is closed press.

 Later in the morning, the President will meet with Prime Minister Saad Hariri of Lebanon to discuss U.S. support for Lebanon’s sovereignty, independence, and stability, the ongoing work of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, and other regional issues.  Lebanon is an important partner in U.S. efforts to promote peace, stability, and justice in the Middle East. The President and Prime Minister Hariri will meet in the Oval Office. This meeting is closed press.

 In the afternoon, the President and the First Lady will travel to Tucson, Arizona. The departure from the South Lawn is open press.

 In Tucson, the President and the First Lady will attend the memorial event “Together We Thrive: Tucson and America” at the University of Arizona Tucson to support and remember victims of the mass shooting in Tucson. Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Justice Anthony Kennedy, Circuit Justice for the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, will also attend the memorial event. This event is open to pre-credentialed media. The University of Arizona is handling media credentials.

The President and the First Lady will return to Washington, DC at night. The arrival on the South Lawn is open press.

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Topics: The Vault • White House