Clock ticking for Obama security team
President Obama and his new national security team in the East Room on Thursday
April 28th, 2011
07:28 PM ET

Clock ticking for Obama security team

WASHINGTON (CNN)–When President Obama unveiled his revamped national security team in the East Room, he quickly joked about how badly Defense Secretary Robert Gates has been itching to finally get serious about retirement.

"When I took office, Bob Gates had already served under seven presidents, and he carried a clock that counted down the days, hours, and minutes until he could return to Washington State with his wife Becky," said Obama, adding that he felt lucky to get Gates to keep pushing the exit date back to deal with wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as some major budget decisions confronting the nation.

First it was Obama during the presidential transition in December 2008 getting Gates to stay on for just one more year for continuity's sake. Then that grew to staying on for first two and a half years of the administration.

Senior officials tell me Obama had even been hoping to somehow convince Gates to stay on through all four years of the first term for the good of his country, but the president finally gave in and then set his sights to twisting the reluctant arm of CIA Director Leon Panetta to delay his own retirement to take the top spot at the Pentagon.

As Obama noted to laughter about his lobbying of Gates, "At some point along the way, Bob threw out that clock."
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First Lady fields wide ranging questions from kids
First Lady Michelle Obama answers questions in the East Room on Thursday
April 28th, 2011
06:58 PM ET

First Lady fields wide ranging questions from kids

WASHINGTON (CNN)–With thousands of parents across the country taking their children to work Thursday, it was no different for employees at the White House as First lady Michelle Obama welcomed the children of Executive Office employees to the White House for ‘Take our Daughters and Sons to Work Day’.

Appearing in the East Room, Mrs. Obama wasted no time with opening statements, and immediately opened up the forum to questions with her guests quizzing her about everything from her job, to her favorite sports teams, and life with Bo, the family’s Portugese Water Dog.

“When you have kids, we do what you do so that becomes our favorite thing,” she said as she described her favorite things to do with her daughters, Sasha and Malia, which included going to their soccer and lacrosse games. She said tennis was “without a doubt” her favorite sport, but that she enjoyed basketball as well.
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Topics: Michelle Obama
Picture of the week
April 28th, 2011
12:00 PM ET

Picture of the week

(CNN) - It was a busy day for reporters at the White House Wednesday after President Obama's long-form birth certificate was released.

White House mobilizes response in wake of deadly storms
President Obama dispatched the FEMA administrator to Alabama where at least 131 have been killed in deadly storms. Tuscaloosa, AL suffered major destruction.
April 28th, 2011
11:24 AM ET

White House mobilizes response in wake of deadly storms

WASHINGTON (CNN) Federal emergency management officials including FEMA administrator Craig Fugate will travel Thursday toAlabama, one of the most severely hit areas, after a series of devastating tornadoes killed more than 200 people in six states this week.  More than two thousand National Guard troops are already on the ground assistingAlabamafirst responders in the search and rescue effort.

President Barack Obama Wednesday night declared a state of emergency inAlabamaafter tornadoes there killed at least 131 people. The president and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano called Alabama Governor Robert Bentley Wednesday night and the president issued this statement, "[I] told him that I have ordered the Federal Government to move quickly in our response and informed him that I approved his request for emergency Federal assistance, including search and rescue assets. While we may not know the extent of the damage for days, we will continue to monitor these severe storms across the country and stand ready to continue to help the people ofAlabamaand all citizens affected by these storms." FULL POST


Topics: President Obama • Storms • The News
White House Schedule Thursday April 28, 2011
April 28th, 2011
11:23 AM ET

White House Schedule Thursday April 28, 2011

10:15AM        THE PRESIDENT receives the Presidential Daily Briefing/ Oval Office/ Closed Press

10:50AM        THE PRESIDENT holds a meeting onLibya/ Situation Room/ Closed Press

11:30AM        THE PRESIDENT meets with Secretary of State Clinton    /Oval Office/ Closed Press

2:05PM           THE PRESIDENT meets with a group of influential Hispanics from across the country on the importance of fixing our nation's broken immigration system to meet our 21st century economic and national security needs so that America can win the future/ Roosevelt Room/ Closed Press

3:10PM           THE PRESIDENT makes a personnel announcement/ Rose Garden/ Open Press

3:45PM           THE PRESIDENT meets with Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli/ Oval Office/ Closed Press

4:20PM           THE PRESIDENT and Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli will deliver statements to the press/ Oval Office / Pooled Press


Topics: Daily Schedule • White House