April 4th, 2012
06:50 PM ET
Easter came early for some of the military families at the Fisher House at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. And, it was First Lady Michelle Obama who came bearing pastries from the White House. Bo, the first dog dressed in bunny ears accompanied the first lady on her visit.
“It is always one of my favorite things to do, to come to the Fisher House,” said the first lady holding a basket of Easter cookies, “This house is a home away from home for so many of our military families.”
The Fisher House is a refuge for veterans and their families as they receive medical care at Walter Reed. On Wednesday, 19 of those families took part in making arts and crafts, with the first lady on hand to spend some time chatting and signing autographs.
The families are among the 73 that live on the premises at Walter Reed, there are 57 Fisher Houses across the country in total.
Wednesday’s event is a part of Mrs. Obama’s campaign to bring recognition and support to military families. It’s been a year since the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden kicked-off their “Joining Forces” initiative, and next week the two will hit the road on a two-day tour (which will include an appearance on the Colbert report, while in New York City) to celebrate its one year anniversary.
As she departed Mrs. Obama bid everyone adieu until Monday, when they will gather again, amongst many other revelers, for the annual Easter Egg Roll on the White House South Lawn.
April 4th, 2012
02:08 PM ET
Here at the White House we're seeing something this week that we haven't seen in a very long time: public bill signings attended by Republican and Democrats.
In recent months, as President Obama has positioned himself opposite an unpopular congress, he has shied away from the fanfare of signing ceremonies, once routine in the early months of his term. But today he signed the STOCK Act, aimed at preventing elected officials from using their professional knowledge for financial benefit, in a public ceremony at the White House. Tomorrow he will do the same with the JOBS Act, a bill that is supposed to make it easier for small businesses and start-ups raise investment dollars (though some critics say it won't create jobs and could increase risk for investors).
The last signing ceremony at the White House was in early February (a bill spearheaded by Democratic former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona) and, before that, November. In February, congress passed a substantial bill to fund the FAA and an extension of the payroll tax cut, a measure that received overwhelming bipartisan support and that Obama had pressed congress to pass. He signed both in private.
Republicans charged that he was playing politics, denying them a visual of bipartisanship in an election year. House Republican leaders have adopted a more conciliatory tone toward the president in recent months following a bruising battle on a temporary extension of the payroll tax cut in December. But not all Republicans want a picture standing next to the president. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) did not make the trip. Noticeable among the handful of GOP lawmakers at todays signing ceremonies were those who are trying not to appear hyper-partisan as they face strong Democratic challengers in tough re-election races, including Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) and Rep. Robert Dold (R-IL).
April 4th, 2012
11:00 AM ET
Boo Radley and Atticus Finch will soon be returning to a television near you, but this time they’ll come with a presidential introduction. On Tuesday, USA Network announced that it will be premiering a “digitally remastered and fully restored” version of the 1962 classic film “To Kill a Mockingbird” with a new introduction from President Barack Obama. The presentation will honor the 50th anniversary of the film's release.
This fresh version of the film based on Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel will air on Saturday, April 7th at 8 PM eastern time. In the book, Lee deals with issues of race relations and discrimination through the story of a white southern lawyer named Atticus Finch – played in the movie by Gregory Peck – appointed to defend a black man named Tom Robinson – played in the movie by Brock Peters – who's been wrongfully accused of rape.
“I’m deeply honored that President Obama will be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ by introducing it to a national audience,” Harper Lee said in a statement released by USA, Universal Pictures and the American Film Institute. “I believe it remains the best translation of a book to film ever made, and I'm proud to know that Gregory Peck's portrayal of Atticus Finch lives on – in a world that needs him now more than ever.”
April 4th, 2012
07:55 AM ET
Washington (CNN) – As the four remaining Republican presidential candidates battle for delegates in Tuesday night's primaries, the man they hope to unseat in November – President Barack Obama – will quietly clinch his party's nomination for a second term as the polls close in Maryland and the District of Columbia at 8:00 p.m.
Like his Republican counterparts, President Obama has been competing in primaries and caucuses this year and picking up delegates along the way. Unlike the Republicans, Obama faces no serious opposition in his quest for renomination.
According to CNN's delegate estimate, the president has 2,735 of the 2,778 delegates needed to secure his party's nod. He is expected to win most or all of the 119 delegates at stake in Maryland and D.C., as well as the 100 delegates at stake in Wisconsin later in the evening.
Read the full story over at the Ticker.
April 4th, 2012
07:50 AM ET
President Obama officially became the Democratic nominee for president on Tuesday night, and he’ll start Wednesday off with prayer. At 9:30 AM, the president will host Christian leaders from across the country in the East Room for the Easter Prayer Breakfast.
But the big event of the day at the White House will be the signing of the STOCK Act, which was passed overwhelmingly in the Senate at the beginning of February. The STOCK Act (Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge) makes it illegal for Congressmen, their staffs, and many executive-branch employees to trade stocks based on inside information learned on the job. The bill states that insider trading is criminal and requires public disclosure online of any trades within 30 days of a transaction. It was aimed initially just at Capitol Hill. However, Republicans clamored for the inclusion of executive-branch employees.
The Vice President and several members of Congress will be present at the 11:55 AM event in the South Court Auditorium – Eisenhower Executive Office Building next door to the White House.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney holds the White House briefing at 1:30 PM.
Here’s the full schedule: