White House mourns the death of Andy Griffith
Actor Andy Griffith is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in a White House ceremony November 2005.
July 3rd, 2012
03:50 PM ET

White House mourns the death of Andy Griffith

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama released a statement on the death of actor Andy Griffith, calling him "extraordinary talent" and "revered".

Here is the statement in full:

"Michelle and I were saddened to hear about the passing of Andy Griffith this morning. A performer of extraordinary talent, Andy was beloved by generations of fans and revered by entertainers who followed in his footsteps. He brought us characters from Sheriff Andy Taylor to Ben Matlock, and in the process, warmed the hearts of Americans everywhere. Our thoughts and prayers are with Andy’s family."

Then-president George W. Bush awarded Griffith the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civil award, in a ceremony at the White House in November 2005 for being an"American icon of the stage, cinema, and television."

Griffith died at his home in North Carolina on Tuesday morning. He was 86.


Topics: Medal of Freedom • The Vault
Brad Paisley to star in White House's 4th of July celebration
July 3rd, 2012
03:37 PM ET

Brad Paisley to star in White House's 4th of July celebration

Country music star Brad Paisley will headline the USO's Fourth of July concert on the South Lawn of the White House tomorrow night.

The first family is hosting members of the military and their families for the "Salute to the Military" concert. Paisley will perform in addition to the United States Marine Corps band, also known as "The President's Own". The event will also include games, a barbecue, and prime seats to watch the fireworks over the Washington Monument.

“The Fourth of July has always been about family, freedom and celebration,” Paisley said in a statement released by the USO. “I am so honored to be spending my holiday performing a USO concert for our troops and their families and to be celebrating those freedoms with the men and women who put everything on the line to defend them.”

According to the USO, more than 1200 troops and their families will attend the festivities.


Topics: Fourth of July • South Lawn • The Buzz
Martha's Vineyard is a no go this summer for First Family vacation
July 3rd, 2012
12:48 PM ET

Martha's Vineyard is a no go this summer for First Family vacation

WASHINGTON (CNN) –A senior administration official tells CNN the first family will not be vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard this summer as they have done for the past three years.

There had been plenty of speculation about the president’s plans given the potential image clash during an election year, of a vacation at an expensive estate on a posh New England island.

Instead of an extended vacation the president is likely to take some long weekends this summer, but where and when is still unclear the official said.


Topics: The Buzz • The Family • Vacation