President closes day with fundraisers
May 19th, 2011
06:35 PM ET

President closes day with fundraisers

By CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser

WASHINGTON (CNN) –For the third time this week President Barack Obama ends his day by raising campaign cash.

After giving a major address on the Middle East earlier Thursday, the president is the main attraction at two evening fundraisers. Obama headlines the Women's Leadership Forum's 17th Annual National Issues Conference at the Grand Hyatt in the nation's capital, and then attends a dinner at a private residence.

A Democratic source with knowledge of the events says approximately 550 people will be at the Women's Leadership Forum, including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, who is the new Democratic National Committee chair, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. The source adds that approximately 50 people will attend the dinner.
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Topics: 2012 Election • Campaign • President Obama
May 19th, 2011
02:09 PM ET

Obama announces new 'chapter in American diplomacy'

By CNN's Alan Silverleib

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The United States will support efforts for reform across the Middle East and North Africa, including "transitions toward democracy," President Barack Obama said Thursday

In a speech at the U.S. State Department laying out his policies toward the region, the president said he is marking "a new chapter in American diplomacy."

He pointed to recent popular uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, and elsewhere. "The events of the past six months show us that strategies of oppression and strategies of diversion will not work anymore," Obama said.

People in parts of the region "have seized control of their own destiny," he said.
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Topics: Egypt • Libya • Middle East • Osama Bin Laden • President Obama • The News
Picture of the week
May 19th, 2011
01:11 PM ET

Picture of the week

President Obama gives the Hawaiian hand sign as he poses with a newly commissioned officer and his father from Hawaii during the United States Coast Guard Academy commencement ceremony in New London, Connecticut on Wednesday.

POTUS schedule for Thursday, May 19, 2011
May 19th, 2011
08:02 AM ET

POTUS schedule for Thursday, May 19, 2011

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama will give his highly-anticipated speech on the affairs in the Middle East this morning at the State Department. While some have said it’ll be a second speech to the Muslim world, White House aides say that it will be aimed at a broader audience. According to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, “the President views the situation in the Middle East as a moment of opportunity, the Middle East and North Africa, as a real moment of opportunity forAmericaand for Americans. In the last decade, our focus in the region was largely onIraq, which was a military effort, and on the hunt for Osama bin Laden and the fight against al Qaeda.  That fight against al Qaeda continues, but there is an opportunity in that region to focus on advancing our values and enhancing our security, and that’s what the President looks forward to discussing tomorrow in his speech.”

Also, in the Mideast speech, President Obama will announce economic proposals forEgypt and Tunisia that will “provide a powerful incentive to other countries in the region who are considering democratic reforms,” according to senior administration officials.  

Other items on the president’s agenda tomorrow include an interview with the BBC, closed meetings with senior advisors and then with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, and remarks at the Women’s Leadership Forum at the Grand Hyatt, and finally a DNC fundraiser at a private home in DC.

 At this point, there is no White House briefing or gaggle scheduled. We’ll update you if that changes.

For the full guidance from the White House, see below the jump. FULL POST


Topics: Daily Schedule • The Vault
Obama Mideast stakes
May 19th, 2011
07:18 AM ET

Obama Mideast stakes

WASHINGTON (CNN) -  By now, top aides to President Barack Obama like Dan Pfeiffer have learned to just tune out the round-the-clock punditry that tends to build up every speech by this commander-in-chief as the pivotal moment in his presidency.

The phrase "stakes are high" has been used so many times for speeches about anything from health care to the tragedy in Tucson, Arizona, to the war in Libya that the White House communications director has voted with his remote control.

"My TV is off," Pfeiffer said Wednesday, pointing up at the blank flat screen in his West Wing office. "If you worried about Washington expectation-setting, you'd never get anything done."

And yet here we go again with soaring expectations for Obama's Thursday speech about U.S. policy in the Mideast - though it's worth noting the president himself brings on some of the attention by trying to pull so much into one address.

As Pfeiffer told me, the president's goal in delivering this speech is to "take it from the Arab Spring through Libya and on to (Osama) bin Laden and put it in context for everyone."

For the full story, click here.


Topics: Middle East • President Obama • The News