March 2nd, 2011
07:41 PM ET

Obama dodges Libya questions until tomorrow

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The unrest in Libya has been a big focus of the Obama administration, but the president himself has avoided taking any questions on the violence or embattled leader Colonel Moammar Gadhafi.

As Mr. Obama wrapped up a surprise visit to the briefing room Wednesday where he expressed outrage over the attack in Frankfurt, Germany that killed two Americans, CNN asked if he had “anything to say on Libya?”

The president, who was already exiting the room returned to the podium. “I will have a chance to take some questions tomorrow, “ he said. “President Calderon from Mexico will be here and so I’ll give you guys a chance to ask a couple of questions on some of these and other pressing topics.”
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Topics: Libya • President Obama • The News
Helping schools fight childhood obesity with new $$
File photo: First Lady Michelle Obama working in the White House garden as part of her Let's Move! initiative.
March 2nd, 2011
05:42 PM ET

Helping schools fight childhood obesity with new $$

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Saying schools are the "frontlines of our efforts to fight childhood obesity," first lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the government is amping up efforts to get schools to serve more nutritious meals.

In a conference call Wednesday with educators and parent groups from around the country, Vilsack said the Department of Agriculture is putting up $5.5 million dollars in an effort to entice more school districts to join the HealthierUS School Challenge.

Right now only about 500 schools are certified in the program which sets concrete goals to serve more nutritious school meals. The participating schools adopt USDA standards for the food they serve and also agree to educate teachers, parents and kids on how to eat healthier and offer physical activity programs.
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Topics: Michelle Obama • The News
The James Taylor Briefing Room
March 2nd, 2011
05:07 PM ET

The James Taylor Briefing Room

WASHINGTON (CNN) –- The White House’s James Brady Briefing Room turned into the James Taylor Briefing Room on Wednesday afternoon.

James Taylor, fresh from receiving his Medal of Arts from President Obama in the East Room, and his wife Kim toured parts of the White House and ended up in the press briefing room where he was greeted by a dozen reporters and photographers. FULL POST


Topics: Briefing Room • People • The Buzz
March 2nd, 2011
03:47 PM ET

Barbour accuses Obama of driving up energy prices – sound familiar?

CNN reported earlier today that Mississippi Governor and potential GOP presidential candidate Haley Barbour accused the Obama Administration of actively pushing for higher energy prices.

“In 2008, four dollar gasoline brought my state to its knees, before Wall Street melted down, and we have blown through three dollars a gallon on our way to four," Barbour said in a speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

"We don't need that where I am. But this administration's policies have been designed to drive up the cost of energy in the name of reducing pollution, in the name of making very expensive alternative fuels more economically competitive," he continued.

Sound familiar?

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Topics: Energy • President Obama • The News • Uncategorized
Michelle Obama: happy birthday Dr. Seuss!
First Lady Michelle Obama with Librarian of Congress James Billington, NEA President Dennis Van Roekel, Education Secretary Arne Duncan (not pictured) and the Cat in the Hat at the kick-off for Read Across America Wednesday.
March 2nd, 2011
03:21 PM ET

Michelle Obama: happy birthday Dr. Seuss!

WASHINGTON (CNN) – "I do not like green eggs and ham!" exclaimed first lady Michelle Obama Wednesday at the Library of Congress.  No this wasn't the latest round in her mission to eliminate obesity in America but instead a push to get children to read.

Mrs. Obama along with Education Secretary Arne Duncan celebrated the 107th birthday of beloved children's author Dr. Seuss by reading one of his most popular books, "Green Eggs and Ham," to more than 300 elementary school children at a Read Across America event.

Wearing festive red and white stovetop hats, from another Seuss classic "The Cat in the Hat," the first through third graders sat in rapt attention as the first lady theatrically read her part.

President Obama issued a proclamation declaring March 2nd Read Across America Day. Mrs. Obama confided to the children that the first family reads all the time. "The president is a reader. We call him the fact-guy because he reads so much. He knows facts about everything," she said. FULL POST


Topics: Michelle Obama • The News
White House reorganization...shaking it up!
Melody Barnes, Director of the Domestic Policy Council
March 2nd, 2011
12:56 PM ET

White House reorganization...shaking it up!

WASHINGTON (CNN) – As the White House reorganization continues, the Office of Health Reform has dissolved and health policy will now be overseen by Melody Barnes, the White House’s Director of the Domestic Policy Council, an administration official confirms to CNN. The Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy once headed by Carol Browner will also be folded into Barnes’s portfolio according to a second administration official.

Nancy-Ann DeParle, who led the push for the passage of health care reform legislation as Director of the Office of Health Reform, was tapped earlier this year to become Deputy White House Chief of Staff for Policy. DeParle will still play an “active” role in health care policy issues according to one of the officials.

The changes, part of an on-going larger reorganization of White House operations, come as Republicans on Capitol Hill have sought to block funding for various heads of policy, or ‘czars’ in the White House. FULL POST


Topics: The News
Robert Gibbs returns to press secretary job?
Former press secretary Robert Gibbs, and his successor
March 2nd, 2011
12:42 PM ET

Robert Gibbs returns to press secretary job?

WASHINGTON (CNN) –Memo to the White House press office – you might want to throw that old blast email template away.

A brief moment of confusion, humor, and reflection of days gone by ensued for reporters at the White House Wednesday when a standard message announcing a change of time for the daily press briefing listed Robert Gibbs as the briefer. For the record, Jay Carney succeeded Robert Gibbs three weeks ago after Gibbs left the White House to take on a role as an outside adviser to the administration.

"Thanks for rubbing it in," a staffer in the press office said when CNN called to clarify the identity of today's briefer. An updated email bearing Carney's name quickly followed.
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Topics: Press Briefing
Wednesday Poll
March 2nd, 2011
12:00 PM ET

Wednesday Poll


Topics: Poll
POTUS Schedule for March 2, 2011
March 2nd, 2011
06:19 AM ET

POTUS Schedule for March 2, 2011

We will see some familiar faces at the White House today when President Obama awards the 2010 National Medal of Arts, and National Medal of Humanities. Quincy Jones, Sonny Rollins, James Taylor, Joyce Carol Oats, and Philip Roth are among the recipients. The situation in Libya is likely to top the discussion in the Oval Office later today when President Obama and Vice President Biden meet with Secretary Clinton.

President Obama and Vice President will have their weekly lunch at the White House today, and the president will receive his daily briefings, and meet with his advisors.

Check out a full list of the award recipients and the president's schedule:
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Topics: President Obama