Going green at the White House
The new CNN set up from the reporters' perspective.
April 24th, 2012
06:29 PM ET

Going green at the White House

CNN has joined some of the other major television networks covering the White House in upgrading its equipment to be a bit more environmentally friendly.

Located on a raised platform along the west edge of the North Lawn are a row of television cameras and stalls where reporters go on TV with the White House in the background. CNN recently installed new Nila brand LED lighting instruments at its location to help illuminate on-air talent when they’re live from the White House North Lawn.

The new lights are bright enough while drawing far less energy than the old HMI (Hydrargyrum medium-arc iodide) lights that were used at the White House for over 20 years.

So next time you see Jessica Yellin, Dan Lothian or Briana Keilar live from the White House you'll now know what they're looking at.

President Obama tries to shore up youth vote
April 24th, 2012
03:55 PM ET

President Obama tries to shore up youth vote

Boulder, CO (CNN) - President Obama kicked off a tour of three battleground states today with a speech at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This two-day college blitz is, on it's face, about pressing Congress to prevent interest rates on federally subsidized student loans from doubling this summer. In political reality, the president's latest excursion from Washington is all about energizing part of his base – youth voters – in an election year.

"For each year that Congress doesn't act, the average student with these loans will rack up an additional $1,000 in debt - an extra $1,000," President Obama told a supportive crowd of mainly students at UNC Chapel Hill. "That's basically a tax hike for more than 7 million students across America, more than 160,000 students here in North Carolina alone."

In 2007, with bipartisan support, a Democratic-led Congress cut interest rates on Stafford loans from 6.8% to 3.4%, the current rate. On July 1, that rate is set to return to 6.8% for new loans. As some congressional Republicans voice concern about the $6 billion price tag for maintaining the low rates, the White House is coordinating with congressional Democrats to frame Republicans as threatening to raise costs on college students.

On Monday, presumed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney gave a full-throated endorsement of extending the low interest rates, trying to blunt the president's momentum on the issue. Congressional Republicans accuse President Obama of trying to distract from his performance on the economy and point out that under the president's own budget proposal student loan rates would double in 2013.

In 2008, 66 percent of voters age 18 to 29 voted for Obama. Thirty-two percent went for Sen. John McCain. The latest CNN/ORC poll shows a similar breakdown among young people in an Obama-Romney match-up, but a number of polls show an enthusiasm gap for Obama among young voters compared to 2008 when they flocked to cast ballots in unprecedented numbers.

President Obama is scheduled to speak at the University of Colorado Boulder Tuesday night. On Wednesday he addresses students at the University of Iowa.

April 24th, 2012
01:35 PM ET

Obama honors Teacher of the Year finalists

(CNN) – President Obama praised more than 50 teachers at a ceremony at the White House on Tuesday. The educators were previously honored by their states and territories as Teachers of the Year. President Obama told the group “I wouldn’t be here today if it were not for teachers like these.”

On Monday, The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) announced that Rebecca Mieliwocki, a 7th grade English teacher from California, is the 2012 National Teacher of the Year. The 14-year veteran educator said, ““I have an unshakeable understanding that when children have a strong education, they can do anything.”

Earlier in an interview, Mieliwocki said, “I'm not the best teacher in America; I'm one of so many.”

California chose Mieliwocki as the state’s Teacher of the Year from among its roughly 287,000 teachers. The state’s selection process included a written application, visits by officials to her classroom and an interview. Mieliwocki is known for her teaching techniques at Burbank Middle School. She would play music on her iPad while students work, or use playing cards to select students randomly to read in class.

Read more over at CNN's education blog Schools of Thought.

Topics: Uncategorized
Honoring America's teachers
President Obama honors the 2012 Teacher of the Year, California educator Rebecca Mieliwocki at the White House Tuesday. (photo credit: Lesa Jansen, CNN)
April 24th, 2012
12:55 PM ET

Honoring America's teachers

Honoring the nation's teachers at the White House Tuesday, President Barack Obama said teachers are “helping to preserve the basic promise of America.”

Winners of the 2012 Teacher of the Year awards from all fifty states and territories and the national Teacher of the Year, California educator Rebecca Mieliwocki, gathered in the East Room of the White House Tuesday.

"These are the kind of teachers who change lives forever. I wouldn't be here today if it were not for teachers like these who challenged me, and pushed me, and put up with me, and inspired me - and set me straight when they had to. And I think everybody here can say the exact same thing.
Teachers matter. That's why I often tell young people: If you want a guarantee that you're making a difference every single day, become a teacher. A teacher is the key to a child reaching their potential," the president said.

Rebecca Mieliwocki, who has been an English teacher for the past 14 years, is a faculty member at California's Luther Burbank High School.
The annual competition is organized by Council of Chief State School Officers.

Topics: Education • President Obama
Morning Briefing
April 24th, 2012
08:34 AM ET

Morning Briefing

The 1600 Report's daily roundup of what the White House is reading this morning online and in the papers:

Romney prepared to solidify lead as 5 states hold primaries (CNN.com)

Boehner says 1 in 3 chance GOP could lose the House (CNN.com)

Social Security's financial health worsens (NY Times)

Pentagon reshapes spy service (LA Times)

Grassley questions Secret Service review (CNN.com)

Working class concerns don't cause Romney or Obama pain (Bloomberg)

Auditors call for end to Medicare Advantage experiment (CNNMoney.com)

POTUS honors teacher of the year, heads to NC and CO and talks to Jimmy Fallon
April 24th, 2012
07:56 AM ET

POTUS honors teacher of the year, heads to NC and CO and talks to Jimmy Fallon

10:05AM THE PRESIDENT honors the 2012 National Teacher of the Year and finalists at the White House, thanking them for their hard work and dedication each and every day in the classroom/ East Room/ Open Press

10:35AM THE PRESIDENT departs the White House en route Joint Base Andrews/South Lawn/ Open Press

10:50AM THE PRESIDENT departs Joint Base Andrews en route Chapel Hill, North Carolina/ Out-of-Town Travel Pool Coverage

11:50AM THE PRESIDENT arrives in North Carolina/ Raleigh-Durham International Airport/ Open Press

1:15PM THE PRESIDENT delivers remarks where he will continue to call on Congress to stop interest rates on student loans from doubling in July / University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill/ Open to Pre-Credentialed Media

2:20PM THE PRESIDENT sits down for an interview for "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon"/ University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill/ Stills Only Photo Spray/ Note: The full interview will be embargoed until airing on Tuesday night.

3:40PM THE PRESIDENT departs North Carolina en route Colorado/ Raleigh-Durham International Airport/ Open Press

5:10PM THE PRESIDENT arrives Colorado/ Buckley Air Force Base/ Open Press

6:45PM THE PRESIDENT delivers remarks to discuss the need for Congress to act to prevent 7.4 million students with federal student loans from seeing their interest rates double on July 1/ University of Colorado at Boulder/ Open to Pre-Credentialed Media

Topics: Daily Schedule