Portugese President Silva: "The Euro will survive"
Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silvo talks at the stakeout camera at the White House, after meeting with President Obama in the Oval Office.
November 9th, 2011
06:00 PM ET

Portugese President Silva: "The Euro will survive"

President Aníbal Cavaco Silva of Portugal stopped outside the White House today to take a few questions from both U.S. and Portuguese reporters following a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office with President Obama.

Asked to predict the future of the Euro, President Silva offered a defense of countries that have been hit strongest with “financial difficulties” and said that fault lies with the EU government, not the countries themselves. Although he did not specifically cite Portugal in his answer, Silva’s country is often grouped in with Italy, Greece and Spain as an EU member facing a potential debt crisis.

Here’s what the president said:

European integration has been a great success, and there are many countries which want to be members of the European Union in the future. And the Euro Zone is a crucial compliment of the European integration. This is an important asset of Europe to face the challenges of the future. I am convinced that at the end of the crisis we shall have a stronger European union and the euro will be a strong world currency. ...

Now there is a problem and the problem is related to a failure in the surveyance by European institutions of the budgeting situations of some member states. It's wrong to blame just the countries with financial difficulties because for many years the commission and the consulate ministers have not done their job. They were supposed to accompany the excess deficit situation of member states. But they complied with the situation. It was called peer pressure. So – they were good friends. So they let the situation continue and now we are correcting that situation. So this movement was an economic union implies a strong surveyance forcing countries to comply in full with their obligations, keeping budgetary situations within the margins, which are in the treaty.

Silva ended by proclaiming confidently, "The Euro will survive."


Topics: Stake Out
First African American policy conference held at White House
November 9th, 2011
05:48 PM ET

First African American policy conference held at White House

Washington (CNN) – While President Obama has enjoyed relatively strong support from the African American community, grievances have been palpable over the disproportionate affect the weak economy has had on the black community.

Today the White House chose to address many of the concerns directly, hosting the first African American Policy in Action Leadership Conference. Cabinet officials and top White House staff sat on panels enumerating the president’s efforts and achievements that affect unemployment, health care and education among the areas of greatest issue.

Like going to church, there were moments of praise and prayer during the meeting. Congenial, but serious, the room of community and civil rights leaders, academics, faith leaders, and elected officials sought insight on how policies will address the most harrowing issues their communities face. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said the growing poverty in his city has exceeded New York City’s in number of hungry children.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius told the group that 20 percent of African Americans don’t have health insurance.  Her opening remarks highlighted the dichotomy that exists in American health care services: “We have some of the best health care in the world, and some of the worst care in the world,” said Sebelius, pointing out that at issue is access for many of the poor and people of color.

Timed to the conference was the release of a new policy report outlining how administration policies impact the African American community.  Sebelius touted the extra one million children who she says currently have access to health care as part of the Affordable Care Act.
FULL POST


Topics: President Obama • The Buzz
Geithner plays attack dog
November 9th, 2011
05:33 PM ET

Geithner plays attack dog

He’s President Obama’s top economic advisor. But these days, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is delving into raw politics.

CNN caught up with Geithner at an Intel Corp. manufacturing plant in Chandler, Arizona Tuesday. Geithner’s location alone is significant: Arizona is key to the president’s reelection efforts – a swing state with 10 electoral votes where Obama garnered a respectable 45 percent of the vote in 2008 despite the fact that Arizona’s own John McCain was on the opposing ticket.

It was there the treasury secretary took a break from negotiating Europe’s financial future to instead sell the president’s jobs bill – and the president’s political message – with unusual force.

He slammed the House Republicans’ economic proposals while calling on the GOP to start acting immediately.

“I don't think there is a Republican plan for tax reform. And there is no Republican plan to create jobs and economic growth,” said Geithner, adding later, “Unless the Republicans are willing to do more things to help the economy right now, then unemployment will stay too high.”

And he didn’t shy away from campaign politics either, when asked about Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney’s lengthy debt reduction plan that calls for significant government cuts.

“You can't cut your way to growth,” Geithner said. “We're in the middle of a very important debate about what the government can do and should do to make the economy stronger. But it would make us weaker as a country if we were to go out and cut our way to growth.”
FULL POST

Cutting government waste-start with the swag!
November 9th, 2011
10:01 AM ET

Cutting government waste-start with the swag!

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As Americans continue to struggle with their personal budgets in a fragile economy, President Obama is taking steps Wednesday to cut billions of dollars in what the White House terms wasteful spending in the federal budget.  Targeting areas such as government travel, the doling out of smart phones and laptops to government workers and limiting who gets a free car for official duties, the plan builds on the Campaign to Cut Waste program which the administration says has already saved $8.5 billion.  An administration official tells CNN the new cuts could save billions more. 

Wednesday the president will sign an executive order, once again bypassing Congress, to expand an already existing administration program to cut waste and promote efficient spending across the federal government according to an official release from the White House.  

The latest plan aims to cut spending by 20% on travel, technology and federal vehicles.  The administration is directing agencies to cut back on travel and conference-related spending and instead use video conferences and webinars. 

For instance the administration says NASA has cut its travel budget $17 million in 2012 by cutting back on the number of people it sends to conferences and even having employees share rental cars on trips.

The government will also be taking a close look at who gets those coveted technology toys.  Smart phones, I-Pads and laptops will all come under scrutiny. 

The White House says agencies like the Department of Commerce have already cut back here, saving $3 million this year by just disconnecting 2,648 wireless lines that hadn't been used in the past 3 months.  Turns out many of those phones had been given to people who retired or quit their jobs and the accounts had never been turned off. 

And all those chauffeured official vehicles cruising the streets of DC—no more!  The administration says it costs $9 million a year for all ofWashington's official cars.  Agencies will be tasked to cut back on this perk too. 

The government will also cut back on wasteful printing and instead use email or post items on line.  Finally don't look for those free mugs with your favorite agency logo anymore.  Agencies are being told to "avoid purchasing goods that are frivolous or unnecessary". The edict:  no more clothing items (t-shirts, hats), mugs and "non-work related gadgets" for promotional purposes. 

While the administration is cutting costs the savings won’t go toward cutting the debt or deficit.

All the savings will be reinvested.

“The billions that is no longer spent on unnecessary travel, printing, IT devices, or other extraneous items – will allow us to focus our resources on the things that really matter, like supporting veterans and our armed forces, and investing in our nation’s infrastructure to help grow the economy,” an administration official told CNN. 

Bottom line– cut the swag!


Topics: Budget • President Obama
The President's Schedule for Wednesday
November 9th, 2011
08:07 AM ET

The President's Schedule for Wednesday

9:30AM           THE PRESIDENT and THE VICE PRESIDENT receive the Presidential Daily Briefing Oval Office Closed Press

12:10PM          THE PRESIDENT meets with senior advisors Oval Office Closed Press

12:30PM         THE PRESIDENT and THE VICE PRESIDENT meet for lunch Private Dining Room Closed Press

4:15PM           THE PRESIDENT holds a bilateral meeting with President Silva of Portugal   Oval Office Stills Only Photo Spray at the Top (Final Gather 4:00PM ? Brady Press Briefing Room)

8:35PM           THE PRESIDENT delivers remarks at the National Women'sLawCenter's Annual Awards dinner

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Topics: Daily Schedule