Yankee Doodle is dandied!
United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps perform at all armed-forces arrival ceremonies for visiting dignitaries and heads of state.
March 12th, 2012
06:04 PM ET

Yankee Doodle is dandied!

Washington (CNN) –With all the pomp and circumstance of a royal event, President Obama officially welcomes British Prime Minister David Cameron to the White House Wednesday.

But don't expect those fifes and drums to be playing the standard welcome "Yankee Doodle".

It seems that's a little too reminiscent of our past relationship with the Brits.  Although the United States and Great Britain are today the closest of allies, it was only two hundred plus years ago we brash Americans were fighting for our freedom from the British monarchy.

The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps which performs at all armed-forces arrival ceremonies for visiting dignitaries and heads of state at the White House always play "Yankee Doodle." It's a tradition according to one member of the corps. That is except when the visiting dignitaries are from our former enemy nation Great Brittain.  A member of the corps told CNN for those occasions they play an alternate piece of music, "British Grenadiers."  Checkmate diplomacy!

With additional reporting from CNN’s Chandler Friedman

A little touch up around the house
March 12th, 2012
04:31 PM ET

A little touch up around the house

The U.S. Park Service does a bit of painting here and there while preparing for the official visit of British P.M. David Cameron.

March 12th, 2012
03:17 PM ET

Campaign touting the auto bailout

Washington (CNN)—When Vice President Joe Biden hits the campaign trail in the pivotal swing state of Ohio this week, he will likely focus on one of the Obama administration’s successes – the bailout of the auto industry. 

Biden gives the first in a series of four high profile speeches at a United Auto Workers union hall inToledo on Thursday. 

A Democratic campaign official tells CNN the speeches are designed "to begin framing the core issues of the general election."

The auto industry in Ohio, a critical swing state in the upcoming presidential election, is key to the state’s economy. 

Ohio is only second to Michigan in auto production, employing 72,000 workers in the auto and parts industries.  FULL POST

Biden headlines fundraising dinner at Kerry home
March 12th, 2012
12:12 PM ET

Biden headlines fundraising dinner at Kerry home

(CNN) - Days before Vice President Joe Biden hits the campaign trail in Ohio on behalf of the Obama reelection effort, the president’s No. 2 is the headliner at a campaign fundraiser in the swanky Georgetown home of Sen. John Kerry and wife Teresa.

The fundraiser Monday night, which includes a sit-down dinner, is expected to draw upwards of 75 guests, according to an Obama campaign official. Tickets to the exclusive affair begin at $10,000 per couple and go from there.

Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, is no stranger to raising money and has continued to tap his vast fundraising network on behalf of the party since his losing bid for the White House eight years ago.

Biden has largely played a behind-the-scenes role in the president’s reelection bid, quietly raising money at lower-profile events and at times, delivering speeches to grassroots activists in key states.

But the Obama campaign signaled last week that Biden – who has long been recognized as an effective campaigner on the stump - would soon be assuming a more prominent role in the reelection campaign, beginning with a speech in Toledo on Thursday. Three other high-profile speeches are expected to follow in the coming weeks.

Obama Administration: Shooting won’t derail progress in Afghanistan
President Barack Obama talks on the phone with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai from his vehicle on Sunday, March 11, 2012.
March 12th, 2012
11:52 AM ET

Obama Administration: Shooting won’t derail progress in Afghanistan

(CNN) - Even as U.S. officials work overtime to mitigate Afghan outrage caused by the reported killing of 16 Afghan civilians by a U.S. soldier over the weekend, administration officials assert the massacre will not derail discussions on the role of U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014, when foreign combat troops are scheduled to withdraw.

“This was a horrific and shocking incident,” a senior administration official tells CNN. “But it does not change the strategic imperative for us to continue implementing our strategy - defeating al Qaeda and strengthening the Afghan state so that groups like al Qaeda can never find a home there again.”

Citing a recent agreement by U.S. and Afghan officials on a U.S. run detention center, the official said the two countries will continue to work together even during this tense time. The ‘memorandum of understanding’ (or MOU) signed Friday details how the U.S. will hand over control to Afghan authorities of a detention center housing 3,000 people and was agreed to despite the outrage and anti-U.S. violence stemming from the apparently inadvertent burning of Korans by U.S. troops last month. The negotiation took more than a year to complete and was a key sticking point in negotiations on the role of the United States in Afghanistan.
FULL POST

Obama campaign wants you to submit a bracket – and join its e-mail list
The Obama campaign website is soliciting brackets -- and email addresses
March 12th, 2012
11:31 AM ET

Obama campaign wants you to submit a bracket – and join its e-mail list

(CNN) - It’s a rare chance to beat President Obama at his own game.

The basketball-fan-in-chief has unveiled his bracket in a highly choreographed ESPN special for the last three years. The same drill is expected this year before the first games begin Tuesday.

But now the president’s reelection campaign is soliciting supporters to fill out their own bracket and will publish the names of all the individuals whose brackets end up out-performing the president’s.

Of course, there is a catch. In the process of filling out a bracket, participants are required to divulge personal information like their e-mail address and zip code –valuable commodities to any campaign seeking to expand its potential fundraising network.

Obama’s bracket will be released before Tuesday’s first round of games in Dayton, Ohio, where the president – along with British Prime Minister David Cameron – will attend an early-round game featuring Mississippi Valley State vs. Western Kentucky.

The president has gone 1-3 in calling the NCAA championship winner. In 2009, he correctly forecasted North Carolina would be cutting down the nets on the final weekend. But he wrongly went with Kansas in 2010 and 2011. The Jayhawks fell during the Elite 8 round in 2011 and were upset in the second round in 2010.


Topics: Uncategorized
The British are coming! But is it a state visit?
March 12th, 2012
11:22 AM ET

The British are coming! But is it a state visit?

Washington (CNN) –Washington is rolling out the red carpet this week as Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha arrive Tuesday for an "official" visit culminated by a State Dinner at the White House.

But wait. Why is the British PM's visit merely "offficial" and not a "state" visit to match the state dinner in his honor? Simple Washington double-speak it turns out. Cameron is Britain's Prime Minister and is not the head of his country. That's Queen Elizabeth.

"It's really just terminology," Caitlin Hayden, Deputy National Security Council spokesman told CNN in an email.

Hayden said state visits are reserved for the "head of state" like Queen Elizabeth and "official visits" are for the head of government like Mr. Cameron. But she says they both get the same perks with one minor exception. FULL POST

March 12th, 2012
09:57 AM ET

Obama defends energy record

President Obama is defending his efforts on energy in a new written statement:

The progress report I received today from members of my administration underscores the headway our nation has made towards reducing our reliance on foreign oil, while also expanding American made energy. As the report highlights, we have made progress, with imports of foreign oil decreasing by a million barrels a day in the last year alone. Our focus on increased domestic oil and gas production, currently at an eight year high, combined with the historic fuel economy standards we put in place, means that we will continue to reduce our nation’s vulnerability to the ups and downs of the global oil market. We’ve also made progress in the expansion of clean energy, with renewable energy from sources like wind and solar on track to double, along with the construction of our first advanced biofuel refineries. And yet, despite the gains we've made, today's high gas prices are a painful reminder that there's much more work to do free ourselves from our dependence on foreign oil and take control of our energy future. And that’s exactly what our administration is committed to doing in the months ahead.


Topics: The News
POTUS' Day Ahead: Keeping it local
March 12th, 2012
09:01 AM ET

POTUS' Day Ahead: Keeping it local

The president begins his week behind closed doors all of Monday save for a round of interviews with local reporters during which he will promote his energy plan. The local reporters hail from a variety of states (mostly swing states) including, California, Colorado, Texas, Iowa, Florida, Ohio, Nevada, and Pennsylvania.

Later in the day, the presdent meets with local leaders representing the National League of Cities.

Full Schedule: FULL POST


Topics: Daily Schedule