WASHINGTON (CNN) – It wasn't his beloved Chicago Bears or White Sox, but President Obama finally got to welcome one his hometown's teams to the White House as the Chicago Blackhawks were honored for their 2009-2010 Stanley Cup Championship with a ceremony on the South Lawn.
The president congratulated the players and coaches but then praised the fans for their perseverance. "We have a proud tradition in Chicago of believing that no matter how long it takes, how much we have to endure, it's only a matter of time before our team finally wins it all," Mr. Obama said. "The waiting builds character. We have a lot of character. Now, I have to say, even by Chicago standards, 49 years, that's a pretty long time." FULL POST
The 1600 Report helped our friends at the Political Ticker live blog President Obama's press conference. The president took questions from seven reporters and he wrapped up in 48 minutes. Check it out.
President Obama sent his condolences to the people of Japan over the devastating 8.9 magnitude earthquake, and declared that the U.S. stands ready to offer aid because of the "unshakeable" bond between the two nations.
Obama, who was informed of the earthquake at 4 am ET by Chief of Staff Bill Daley, also said he has instructed the Federal Emergency Management Agency "to be ready to assist Hawaii and the rest of the U.S. states and territories that could be affected" by tsunamis.
Obama, who had already scheduled an 11:15 am ET Friday news conference at the White House to discuss soaring energy prices in the U.S., will no doubt have more to say about this new international crisis as well.
The White House released the following readout of President Obama's briefing today on the earthquake and tsunami in Japan earlier today, as well as preparations underway on the west coast of the United States for possible tsunamis -
President Obama received a briefing this morning at 9:30 a.m. in the Oval Office on the earthquake in Japan and the tsunami warnings across the Pacific from a number of senior US government officials including Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate via phone, and in the Oval Office with Chief of Staff Bill Daley, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security John Brennan, National Security Advisory Tom Donilon, Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough, Senior Advisor David Plouffe, Deputy Chief of Staff Alyssa Mastromonaco, National Security Staff Senior Director for Resilience Richard Reed and National Security Staff Director Asian Affairs Daniel Russel.
The senior officials provided the President with an update on the evolving situation stemming from the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that struck Japan early this morning including the actions being taken to assist U.S. states and territories that could be affected by the tsunami, as the President directed earlier this morning – as well as the work being done to be prepared to assist the people of Japan.
The US government continues to monitor the situation closely throughout the Pacific region. To support potentially impacted areas in the United States, the federal government remains in close contact and coordination with state and local officials, and stands ready to support them. The government’s message to the public is simple: listen to the instructions of state and local officials. We urge everyone in the regions who could be impacted to listen to a NOAA Weather Radio and their local news to monitor for updates and directions provided by their local officials.
The president will have a full press conference today at 11:15, his 12th so far in office. Last night the White House said the focus would be on rising fuel prices, but it is likely the president will also address the earthquake in Japan and resulting tsunamis and tsunami warnings for the US.
In an early morning paper statement released by the White House, the president and first lady offered their condolences to victims and said the US stands ready to help. Obama called the relationship between the US and Japan “unshakeable” and said that the White House would “continue to closely monitor” the situation going forward.
He urged all US citizens to heed any warnings and added, “I have instructed FEMA to be ready to assist Hawaii and the rest of the US states and territories that could be affected."
The president was notified of the situation by Chief-of-Staff Bill Daley at 4am.
Later at 2:50pm, the president is expected to host the 2009-2010 Stanley Cup Champions, the Chicago Blackhawks with a ceremony on the South Lawn.
Afterwards, first lady Michelle Obama will join the NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and USA Hockey Executive Director Dave Ogrean on a South Lawn temporary skating rink where they’ll hold a clinic, along with members of the Blackhawks and the Washington Capitals, for local kids as part of the first lady’s “Let’s Move!” initiative.
Today's schedule, as released by the White House: