(CNN) – President Barack Obama responded to a controversial ad from an outside group backing his presidential campaign while pushing back on Republican claims that his administration would drop the work requirement from welfare-to-work programs, in an unannounced appearance in the White House Briefing Room Monday.
Asked about the ad created by a pro-Obama super PAC, Priorities USA Action, which linked presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney to the death of a steelworker's wife during his tenure at Bain Capital, Obama said that he does not think that Romney is responsible for the woman's death.
Hidden from the public’s eyes, seen only by those with special access, Washington D.C. sits on a treasure trove of unique spots off limits to the average tourist. For instance, a view from the top of the US Capitol building requires special permission. A tour of the Oval Office demands an escort and a secret service agent. Another one of those special spots sits right under the White House press briefing room.
A sign on a door reading “Restricted Area” leads down the stairway to an indoor pool built for President Roosevelt in the 1930’s. The pool was covered up during President Nixon's administration and the press briefing room was built on top of it. Today, the walls of the former pool are filled with hundreds of signatures of journalists and celebrities who have visited this secret place. Autographs include the likes of music legend Bono and actress Sarah Jessica Parker. Bono even drew his face! Baseballer Bernie Williams left his mark, so did former President George H.W. Bush. Other not so famous people, but those with special connections, have left their marks as well.
Vice President Joe Biden just made a brief, unplanned visit to the White House press briefing room with his youngest sister-in-law Kim Snow and her husband Jimmy. Talking to a few reporters, Biden jokingly offered some marital advice for Valentine’s Day.
“Every man should marry into a family with 5 sisters,” Biden said. “One of them always loves you. Not the same one, but one of them.”
Biden joked that Kim was visiting the briefing room to make an announcement.
“I’m her favorite brother in law,” the vice president said.
Comedian Will Ferrell popped into the briefing room on Friday afternoon while on a tour of the White House with press secretary Jay Carney. Ferrell is in Washington D.C. to receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor on Sunday at the Kennedy Center. While in the briefing room, Ferrell stood behind the podium and took a picture with Carney while saying jokingly, “Jay, why are you forcing me to take a picture? This is all for your benefit.”
According to the Kennedy Center, Sunday’s awards ceremony will include “a lineup of the biggest names in entertainment, including Jack Black, Green Day, Larry King, Nathan Lane, Adam McKay, Lorne Michaels, Conan O'Brien, John C. Reilly, Paul Rudd, Maya Rudolph, and Molly Shannon.”
Wait until 30 seconds into the video above for the funny picture moment.
Ahead of the president's major jobs speech tomorrow to a joint session of Congress, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney offered few specific details at today's briefing. Carney also spoke about the upcoming 9/11 10th anniversary saying there are "no specific threats" but the White House remains "vigilent".
On the president's jobs speech tomorrow:
(CARNEY) "As part of his proposal, the president will identify specific, scorable measures that will ensure that the jobs and growth measures are paid for."
(CARNEY) "...he will put forward, both in his speech and in supporting material, a very detailed series of proposals to grow the economy and create jobs.
...how the process moves forward, in terms of engaging Congress and working with Congress to pass those measures, I will leave for a later date. But you can be sure that they will be specific, they will be measurable, they will be paid for. And they will be, by any objective standard, the kinds of measures that have enjoyed bipartisan support in the past."
(CARNEY) "I am not going to get into specific numbers about the cost of the proposals he puts forward.
I will say, as I've said before, that they will be paid for...The important factor here is not the top-line number. It is the substance underneath the number."
(CARNEY) "He will tomorrow night put forward a jobs and growth package that he is quite certain responds to what the American people are demanding and is responsive to what the American economy demands."
On the 9/11 anniversary:
(CARNEY) "[T]here are no specific threats to which we are responding. But we are obviously very vigilant and are taking all the precautionary measures, both seen and unseen, that we believe are necessary around this anniversary."
(CARNEY) "[Y]esterday the president convened a meeting in the Situation Room with senior members of his homeland security team to ensure that all necessary homeland security measures, precautions are being taken in advance of the upcoming 10th anniversary of 9/11."
On the Pentagon raising the threat level at military bases in advance of the 9/11 anniversary:
"...[Y]ou've seen the report about the Department of Defense. I think they've spoken to that and the measures they're taking regarding military installations in the United States. This is a precautionary measure, and we don't have any specific credible threats. But obviously this is a significant anniversary. Al Qaida and others have expressed interest in anniversaries in the past. So we remain ever vigilant through the anniversary and beyond."
President Obama has made several trips to the briefing room at the White House in the last couple of weeks to talk about debt ceiling negotiations. But did you know that the briefing room is built over a swimming pool that was installed by President Roosevelt in 1933 as a place for physical therapy while suffering from polio? President Nixon turned the pool into quarters for the press in 1970. Thirty years later, the room was named for James S. Brady, the White House Press Secretary who was injured during the assassination attempt on President Reagan.
1:45PM Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney
Originally scheduled for 3pm-in an unusual move the White House is moving the briefing to an earlier time.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The folks at the White House are wishing everyone a Happy St. Patrick's Day by lighting the backdrop of the James S. Brady Briefing Room in a festive green.
WASHINGTON (CNN) –- The White House’s James Brady Briefing Room turned into the James Taylor Briefing Room on Wednesday afternoon.
James Taylor, fresh from receiving his Medal of Arts from President Obama in the East Room, and his wife Kim toured parts of the White House and ended up in the press briefing room where he was greeted by a dozen reporters and photographers. FULL POST