President Obama continued the tradition of hosting championship sports teams to the White House and today it was the NHL's Boston Bruins' turn.
The Bruins beat the Vancouver Canucks in a seven game series to win their Stanley Cup since 1972. President Obama congratulated the team for their long-fought victory.
"These Bruins understand that winning the Stanley Cup is more than just men on ice. It’s about the people that stand behind them," the president said. "And that’s why, since the last buzzer sounded in June, the Bruins have been taking their Cup all over the world to share it with their fans."
The president told the crowd assembled in the East Room that the Cup had been to a sauna in Finland, used in a christening, made its way to Pebble Beach and even was used by head coach Claude Julien's daughter as a cereal bowl.
The Boston Bruins were also congratulated for their work off the ice. The Boston Bruins Foundation donated more that $7 million to charities in New England last year. They also hosted a hockey clinic with local DC children on Monday.
One key member of the Boston Bruins was absent from today's event, goaltender Tim Thomas. According to ESPNnews.com, Thomas made the choice not to come and wouldn't discuss his reasoning with the media. He was expected to make a statement on his Facebook page later in the day.
In the last two weeks, the president hosted the St. Louis Cardinals and the Dallas Mavericks to celebrate their championship seasons as well. The Boston Bruins were in town to play the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney announced Mark Kelly, husband of Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, has been invited to sit in the first lady’s box for the State of the Union address. Giffords, who was shot in the head last year recently announced she is resigning from Congress.
President Obama isn’t just taking his State of the Union message on the road – he’s also taking it online.
In the latest iteration of the Obama administration’s efforts to connect to supporters via social media, the White House announced the president will participate next Monday in a Google+ ‘Hangout," a chat room-like feature of Google+ that allows users to connect with each other via video connections.
The White House pledges the president will answer “several of the most popular questions” submitted through YouTube while some questioners will be invited to participate in a live conversation on Google+.
The latest social media push follows a Twitter town hall the president held over the summer. To the disappointment of some, in that forum the president merely answered pre-selected questions from twitter users but did not respond on the social media website himself.
This time, the president’s answers will show up on a video stream hosted by Google+ while participants can comment on his answers in real time.
The White House says the upcoming forum is an example of the president’s commitment to “creating a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration.” But it remains unclear exactly how the White House will select the questions the president answers.
Obama also held a similar Facebook town hall at the web giant’s headquarters in Palo Alto, California in the Spring and a YouTube town hall at the White House in February. At both events, the White House was criticized for ignoring the subject that drew by far the most queries: whether he supports legalizing marijuana.
The ‘hangout’ follows a three day, five city tour later this week during which the president will echo the themes of his State of the Union Address.
President Obama will host Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti early next month, according to a statement released by the White House
From the White House:
President Obama will host Prime Minister Mario Monti of Italy at the White House on Thursday, February 9th. Italy and the United States are close NATO allies, and coordinate continuously on a full range of regional and global priorities. The two leaders will discuss the comprehensive steps the Italian government is taking to restore market confidence and reinvigorate growth through structural reforms, as well as the prospect of an expansion of Europe’s financial firewall. Italy is also a founding member of NATO and the President appreciates Italy’s important contributions to international security, within Europe and beyond, including its continuing leadership in the ISAF mission in Afghanistan. President Obama looks forward to consulting with Prime Minister Monti about preparations for the 2012 G8 and NATO Summits that the United States will host in Chicago, as well as discussing developments in the Middle East and North Africa.
The 1600 Report's daily roundup of what the White House is reading this morning online and in the papers:
Obama to seek balance in State of the Union [WashPost]
WashPo hits Obama admin over contraceptives [WashPost]
Fareed Zakaria examines Obama’s foreign policy record [CNN]
GOP race gets uglier as it heads to Florida [NYT]
Attacking ‘elite media’ pays off for Gingrich [NYT]
Mitt’s still looking for his own debate moment [Politico]
Why can’t Santorum catch a break? [WashPost]
K Street’s bubble has burst [Politico]
Federal workers owe $1 billion in unpaid taxes [WashPost]
President Obama lays relatively low the day before delivering his fourth State of the Union Address. His only public event comes at 1:40 p.m., when he will honor last year's Stanley Cup winner, the Boston Bruins.
The only other event on the president's schedule is his daily briefing at 10:30 am.