President Obama Not Endorsing “Millionaire’s Surtax” … Yet
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney left the door open for the president to endorse Senator Reid's proposed tax on millionaires.
October 5th, 2011
06:56 PM ET

President Obama Not Endorsing “Millionaire’s Surtax” … Yet

I asked President Obama today if he endorses Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s proposed “millionaire’s surtax” during a photo opportunity in the Oval Office with Honduran President Lobo.  In fact, he was asked the question three times in all by reporters covering President Lobo’s visit, but he passed on the opportunity to endorse the plan, instead staying mum.

But White House Press Secretary Jay Carney made clear today that the White House is open to the idea.

“The meat of this legislation, the President's [jobs] proposal, are the provisions that put teachers back to work, put construction workers to work, cut taxes for working Americans, incentivize small businesses to grow and hire and increase their wages and that will be voted on,” Carney said.  “How you pay for it, we've always said, was something we were open to negotiate and debate.”

Why not issue a full endorsement of Reid’s proposed tax increase? It’s an issue of timing, a senior administration official tells me. The tax increases proposed by President Obama to pay for his jobs plan would not kick it until 2013 – he proposes a tax increase on individuals making $200,000 or more per year and couples making $250,000 or more to pay for most of his plan.

Senate Democratic aides tell CNN the Reid tax increase would take effect at the beginning of 2012, a full year earlier than the president has proposed. That would give Republican critics an election-year opening to argue that President Obama and the White House want to raise taxes while the economy is still very fragile.

Since Reid’s surtax is in line with “the Buffett Rule” – President Obama’s assertion that millionaires should not enjoy a lower tax rate than the middle class taxpayers – both White House and congressional sources are confident an agreement can be worked out.  When they find that agreement, the White House and congressional Democrats hope to present a unified front, slamming Republicans they anticipate will oppose the surtax as protecting the wealthy rather than creating jobs for middle class Americans.


Topics: President Obama • Tax cuts
Pres. Obama meets with Honduran Pres. Porfirio Lobo
President Obama meets in the Oval Office with Honduran President Porfirio Lobo on Wednesday, October 5, 2011. The two presidents discussed a broad range of bilateral and regional economic and security issues. (Adam Aigner-Treworgy/CNN)
October 5th, 2011
06:06 PM ET

Pres. Obama meets with Honduran Pres. Porfirio Lobo

President Obama met with President Porfirio Lobo of Honduras this afternoon in the Oval Office and reaffirmed the friendship between their two nations. Both presidents made brief statements – translated consecutively – emphasizing the need to work on issues of human rights and drug trafficking. Honduras recently went through a coup, and President Lobo thanked President Obama for his help during that crisis.

Here's some selections of their statements. First from President Obama:

Today also begins a new chapter in the relationship between our two countries.  Two years ago, we saw a coup in Honduras that threatened to move the country away from democracy, and in part because of pressure from the international community, but also because of the strong commitment to democracy and leadership by President Lobo, what we’ve been seeing is a restoration of democratic practices and a commitment to reconciliation that gives us great hope.

And President Lobo’s leadership is responsible not only for helping to restore constitutional order and democracy and a commitment to fair and free elections, but it’s also allowed Honduras once again to rejoin the Organization of American States, and for Hondurans - the Honduran relationship with its neighbors to be restored to a normal place. FULL POST


Topics: President Obama
Michelle Obama's White House harvest
First lady Michelle Obama harvests vegetables with local children from Bancroft and Tubman Elementary schools as they participate in the White House Kitchen Garden Fall Harvest, October 5, 2011 at the White House in Washington, DC. Michelle Obama planted the White House kitchen garden to help connect kids with the food they eat - an essential component of her Let's Move! initiative. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
October 5th, 2011
05:24 PM ET

Michelle Obama's White House harvest

First Lady Michelle Obama and children from Bancroft and Tubman Elementary Schools harvested vegetables today at the third annual White House kitchen garden fall harvest. Here’s what the White House put out about the garden:

Mrs. Obama planted the White House kitchen garden to help connect kids with the food they eat – an essential component of her Let’s Move! initiative. Children from both local elementary schools have been to the garden on several occasions and the White House chefs adopted Tubman Elementary School as part of the Chefs Move to Schools program. Produce harvested on Wednesday will be used in next week’s State Dinner and also donated to Miriam’s Kitchen in Washington, D.C..


Topics: Michelle Obama
Pres. Obama to hit the road...again
President Barack Obama waves to people from along a road in Harmony, Minnesota on August 15, 2011, during a three-day bus tour in the Midwest. (Official White House Photo/Pete Souza)
October 5th, 2011
02:15 PM ET

Pres. Obama to hit the road...again

President Barack Obama is headed out on another bus tour, according to new information from a White House official. The president’s second such tour since taking office will bring him through North Carolina and Virginia – two states he won in 2008 that promise to be crucial states on any path to victory in 2012.

Although the specific stops are still unknown, the official confirmed that the tour will take place from October 17 to 19, and will primarily focus on urging congress to pass the president’s jobs proposal, the American Jobs Act. If the itinerary of this trip is anything similar to the president’s August bus tour through the Midwest, it will likely be chock-full of “off the record” retail campaign stops, informal meetings with small groups of voters, as well as larger campaign-style rallies and town hall meetings.


Topics: Bus Tour • President Obama
Wednesday Poll
President Obama the "underdog"?
October 5th, 2011
02:03 PM ET

Wednesday Poll

Earlier this week President Obama told an interviewer he felt he was "absolutely" the underdog in the upcoming 2012 presidential election.  The president pointed to the struggling economy as the reason.  But in the end, Mr. Obama said the 2012 election would "be a contest of values and vision" believing his vision would be more persuasive to the American people.  What do you think?


Topics: Poll
Michelle Obama jokes daughters fight over Secret Service
October 5th, 2011
01:27 PM ET

Michelle Obama jokes daughters fight over Secret Service

Turns out the Secret Service doesn’t just protect the Obamas, they also are the root of a bit of tension between the younger members of the first family.

That’s according to first lady Michelle Obama who, during a tour of the U.S. Secret Service headquarters Wednesday, joked her daughters will often fight over which agents are assigned to cover them for the day.

"’You took Scott... That's not fair,’" the first lady told secret service members, reciting how a typical conversation unfolds between her two daughters, Sasha and Malia. Mrs. Obama added the matter had become regular topic of "dinner table conversation."

The first lady addressed more than 200 employees of the service, praising the agency charged with protecting their lives as an organization that “is always 100 percent on point."

The comments followed a tour of the facility, where the first lady joked she learned more about how her security works than she may have liked.

"The work you do here is pretty scary," Mrs. Obama also said to laughter, according to a pool report of the event. "Let's just say that. All I can say is after my little tour...ignorance is bliss. I just don't want to know. You all can handle all that. Just tell me where to run."


Topics: Michelle Obama
White House names new chief usher
October 5th, 2011
09:30 AM ET

White House names new chief usher

The White House is a transitory place: presidents come and go at least every eight years and staff members often exit faster than that. But the job of White House Chief Usher is traditionally a much longer commitment. In fact, there have only been eight individuals to hold that role since the 1800's.

Now Angella Reid is set to become the ninth. Reid, the first woman to get the job, is currently the General Manager at The Ritz-Carlton in nearby Pentagon City, Virginia and has 25 years of hotel management experience.

According to the White House, Reid will oversee all operations pertaining to the Executive Residence. She will also be in charge of maintaining close relationships with the White House Historical Association, the Committee for the Preservation of the White House and the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts.

Reid was not immediately available for interviews.


Topics: The News
Morning Briefing: Obama's got his groove back?
October 5th, 2011
08:40 AM ET

Morning Briefing: Obama's got his groove back?

President Obama’s got his groove back?  That’s what some Democrats think after he has struck a decidedly more aggressive tone toward congressional Republicans over the last month.  But based on his static poll numbers, independents appear less than wowed.

Meanwhile, the White House is no doubt keeping an eye on the Republican presidential field, where Chris Christie announced (again) he is not running, Herman Cain is surging in the polls, and Rick Perry is reporting an impressive fundraising haul.

It’s all part of the 1600 Report’s Morning Briefing below:

President Obama goes on the attack, to Democrats’ delight [WashPo]

With Christie Out, Republican Race Begins for Real [NYTimes]

Cain Catches Romney [CBSNews]

Perry raises $17 million [POLITICO]

Bernanke tells Congress to cut out the brinkmanship over budget [WashPo]

POTUS' Day Ahead: Oval Office diplomacy
October 5th, 2011
08:19 AM ET

POTUS' Day Ahead: Oval Office diplomacy

Good morning from the White House. After a busy day on the road Tuesday, the president is largely staying behind closed doors today, save for a public statement from the Oval Office ahead of his meeting with Honduran President Porfirio Lobo in the afternoon.

Also on the president's agenda: He will sign the CR bill passed by the House on Tuesday that keeps the government funded through mid November.

POTUS' full schedule after the jump:

FULL POST