Picture of the week
President Obama toasts German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a State Dinner in the Rose Garden at the White House this week.
June 9th, 2011
02:57 PM ET
Obama to focus on rural America's economy
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack at the White House Thursday for the announcement of the new rural council. Shaun Donovan, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior and Melody Barnes, White House Domestic Policy Advisor will participate in the council.
June 9th, 2011
01:00 PM ET

Obama to focus on rural America's economy

(Washington) CNN–Ahead of the 2012 election and amid more bad unemployment news, the Obama administration Thursday announced a new program to focus government resources building economic growth and the improving the quality of life in rural America. Nearly 60 million Americans, or just over 20 percent of the U.S. population, live in rural areas.

That's a big chunk of the electorate but Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who will head the White House Rural Council, bristled when asked if the establishment of this program is to appeal to those rural voters. "[T]his is about the fact that so many folks in rural America have deep concerns about the future of rural America," Vilsack told reporters on a conference call Thursday. FULL POST


Topics: 2012 Election • Economy • President Obama
Gabon’s Bongo drums up controversy with Oval Office visit
President Obama meets with President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon in the Oval Office Thursday.
June 9th, 2011
11:42 AM ET

Gabon’s Bongo drums up controversy with Oval Office visit

Washington (CNN) - When the president of the United States invites a world leader into the Oval Office it elevates the meeting and extends the warmest of embraces to his visitor.  That’s why Thursday’s meeting with President Ali Bongo of the West Central African nation of Gabon is raising eyebrows.

The oil rich nation of an estimated 1.5 million people has been ruled by the Bongo family for decades, but there have long been allegations of corruption.

A 2009 New York Times headline read: “Underneath Palatial Skin, Corruption Rules Gabon.”

The article detailed the lavish life of the Bongo family, which stands in stark contrast to the ‘have-nots…just around the corner.”

Pressed on the wisdom of the visit in light of swirling allegations, White House Spokesman Jay Carney said President Bongo is “making reform efforts which we support.” FULL POST


Topics: Africa • President Obama
POTUS's schedule for Thursday, June 9, 2011
June 9th, 2011
09:39 AM ET

POTUS's schedule for Thursday, June 9, 2011

President Obama will stay mostly out the view of TV cameras today with only a few closed press meetings in the Oval Office on his public schedule. While he and Michelle spent the morning at daughter Sasha's school for an end-of-the-year event, the rest of the president's day will be occupied with receiving his daily briefings, meeting with his advisors, and an afternoon meeting with the President of Gabon.

Click below for the full guidance from the White House. FULL POST


Topics: Daily Schedule • The Vault • White House