April 13th, 2011
05:03 PM ET

Biden sleeps as Obama talks

WASHINGTON (CNN) - It's not easy living under the glare of the spotlight, especially when you are caught on camera drifting to sleep while your boss delivers a major speech.  That's what happened to Vice President Biden, who appears to take a short catnap while President Obama is presenting his deficit reduction plan at George Washington University Wednesday afternoon.

We should give Biden the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe he was in the middle of a deep thought about what Obama was talking about, Medicare ending as we know it and not keeping our promise to seniors.  His eyes opened up as the president was saying, "tough luck – you're on your own."

No one can blame him for closing his eyes for 25 seconds during a 44-minute speech. If he could sleep for 20 years like Rip Van Winkle, maybe the deficit would be cut in half by then.

Photo of the week
President Obama delivers his view on deficit reduction at George Washington University
April 13th, 2011
02:48 PM ET
Obama calls for $4 trillion in deficit reduction
Members of Congress listen to Obama speak at George Washington University
April 13th, 2011
02:43 PM ET

Obama calls for $4 trillion in deficit reduction

By CNN's Alan Silverlieb and Tom Cohen -
WASHINGTON (CNN) -President Barack Obama unveiled his long-awaited deficit reduction plan Wednesday, calling for a mix of spending reductions and tax hikes that the White House claims would cut federal deficits by $4 trillion over the next 12 years without gutting popular programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

Obama's plan includes a repeal of the Bush-era tax cuts on families making more than $250,000 annually - something sought by Democrats but strongly opposed by Republicans. The president also called for the creation of a "debt fail-safe" trigger that would impose automatic across-the-board spending cuts and tax changes in coming years if annual deficits are on track to exceed 2.8% of the nation's gross domestic product.

The president claimed that by building on or adjusting the health care reform bill passed last year, $480 billion would be saved by 2023, followed by an additional $1 trillion in the following decade. For example, he proposed tightly constraining the growth in Medicare costs starting in 2018.
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Topics: Budget • President Obama • The News
Obama to call for end of tax cuts for wealthy
April 13th, 2011
09:20 AM ET

Obama to call for end of tax cuts for wealthy

WASHINGTON (CNN) -President Obama is setting a goal of reducing the deficit by $4 trillion in 12 years or less, according to a senior administration official.

A senior administration official also said President Obama’s speech on long term deficit reduction at George Washington University is expected to last 40-45 minutes.

The official also confirmed that the president will call for an end to the Bush era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, those making over 250-thousand dollars a year.

For more analysis on the plan, check out CNNMoney.


Topics: Budget • President Obama • The News
POTUS schedule for April 13, 2011
View of Lafayette Park from the North Portico of the White House
April 13th, 2011
07:04 AM ET

POTUS schedule for April 13, 2011

WASHINGTON (CNN) - This afternoon President Obama will lay out his ideas  for long-term deficit reduction.     He will do this during a 1:35pm speech at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.    Just prior to the speech he will discuss his fiscal policy with the bipartisan leadership of both the House and the Senate.

The official schedule is after the jump

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Topics: Daily Schedule • Tax cuts • White House
Joining Forces
First Lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday in the East Room speaking of the new "Joining Forces" initiative.
April 13th, 2011
06:46 AM ET

Joining Forces

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Starting Wednesday, first lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President Joe Biden, plan to visit four states in two days to raise public awareness of the needs of families of military service members.

The tour marks the launch of "Joining Forces," a new initiative to encourage institutions, businesses and individuals to do more to help military families. Obama and Biden are scheduled to make stops in North Carolina, Texas, Colorado, and Ohio.

The first lady and Biden will be joined at various stops by such celebrities as Jessica Simpson, Nick Jonas, Martha Stewart and the cast of Sesame Street.

"This campaign is about all of us," said Obama at a Tuesday White House ceremony, "all of us joining together, as Americans, to give back to the extraordinary military families who serve and sacrifice so much, every day, so that we can live in freedom in security."

The first lady and Biden were joined by their husbands at the ceremony.

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