November 1st, 2011
12:47 PM ET
The president is giving several interviews with local news reporters in the Cabinet Room Tuesday. Did you know the Cabinet Room table is made of mahogany and was a gift from President Nixon in 1970? It seats 20 and the president occupies a taller chair than everybody else at the table.
October 25th, 2011
01:11 PM ET
This week President Obama will hold six fundraisers in three states during a three-day visit to the Western United States. According to Democratic officials, his campaign hopes to raise more than $4 million. A busy fundraising schedule this week brings the total number of fundraisers on the president's schedule this month to 12. That mirrors the number of fundraisers he attended in September, the last month of the Federal Election Commission's 3rd fundraising quarter. In August, the president held only 7 fundraisers, and in July he held no fundraisers due to tense negotiations over a compromise to raise the federal debt ceiling.
On top of the president's efforts, First Lady Michelle Obama has hosted at least four fundraisers this month, and she hosted three fundraisers in the last week of September to bring in some last-minute cash before the close of the quarter. Vice President Joe Biden has been less active on the fundraising trail this month with only one fundraiser on his public schedule in October, but during September the vice president attended eight events raising money for the Democratic National Committee.
Almost none of the fundraising events attended by residents or employees of the White House collect money directly for President Obama's 2012 reelection fund. Due to campaign fundraising limits, the president, vice president and first lady raise almost all of their money for a joint account of the Democratic National Committee and Obama for American – Obama's reelection campaign – called the Obama Victory Fund. Generally, the campaign gets the first $5,000 of an individual's contribution. By law, an individual donor is allowed to contribute $2,500 per candidate or candidate committee per election. So $5,000 would constitute a maximum donation of $2,500 for both the primary and the general elections. The maximum amount any individual can donate to a national party committee is $30,800 per calendar year, so the remaining portion of any donation up to that maximum amount goes to the DNC.
In the most recent FEC fundraising quarter, the joint Obama Victory Fund raised more than $70 million, and OFA received nearly two thirds of that, taking in $42.8 million.
October 11th, 2011
12:50 PM ET
President Lee Myung-bak of South Korea will be in D.C. this week for a full-fledged State Visit. While in town he will attend a State Dinner in his honor at the White House and address a joint meeting of Congress.
Area: Slightly larger then Indiana
Religion: Christian, Buddhist
GDP per Capita: U.S. $19, 600
Life expectancy: 76
Currency South Korean won, $1 US is 1186.60 Korean won
Vote at age 19
Drink at age 20
October 4th, 2011
01:35 PM ET
News came down Tuesday that White House officials have selected an 18-and-a-half-foot-tall balsam fir from Wisconsin to serve as this year’s official White House Christmas tree.
Did you know the official tree is erected in the Blue Room of the White House and, since the days of Jacqueline Kennedy, is always decorated in a theme determined by the first lady? In 1961, the theme was “The Nutcracker” while last year’s theme was “Simple Gifts.”
In the last 10 years, three each have come from Pennsylvania and North Carolina, two from Washington, and one each from Wisconsin and West Virginia.
September 20th, 2011
03:18 PM ET
The General Assembly is the main deliberative organ of the UN and is composed of representatives of all Member States. The work of the United Nations year-round derives largely from the mandates given by the General Assembly.
The United Nations General Assembly meets the third Tuesday of every September and is made up of 193 Member States.
The newest member state is South Sudan, which was admitted as a new Member State by the United Nations General Assembly on July 14, 2011.
Information from www.un.org
August 10th, 2011
10:13 AM ET
Tonight is President Obama’s 3rd time to host an Iftar dinner.
The term Iftar refers to the meal at the end of the day during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan when people break their daily fast. Ramadan began on August 1st. Each year the president has invited guests that include religious and grass-roots leaders in the Muslim-American community as well as leaders of other faiths and elected officials.
The first White House Iftar dinner was hosted by President Thomas Jefferson. On December 9, 1805, Jefferson hosted “Sidi Soliman Mellimelli, an envoy from the bey (chieftain) of Tunis who spent six months in Washington. The context of Mellimelli’s visit to the United States was a tense dispute over piracy on American merchant vessels by the Barbary states and the capture of Tunisian vessels trying to run an American blockade of Tripoli. Mellimelli arrived during Ramadan, and Jefferson, when he invited the envoy to the president’s house, changed the meal time from the usual hour of 3:30 p.m. to “precisely at sunset” in deference to the man’s religious obligation. Jefferson’s knowledge of Islam likely came from his legal studies of natural law. In 1765, Jefferson purchased a two-volume English translation of the Quran for his personal library, a collection that became, in 1815, the basis of the modern Library of Congress.”
July 28th, 2011
01:15 PM ET
The Congressional Budget Office’s mandate is to provide the Congress with: Objective, nonpartisan, and timely analyses to aid in economic and budgetary decisions on the wide array of programs covered by the federal budget and the information and estimates required for the Congressional budget process.
The CBO was founded on July 12, 1974.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate jointly appoint the CBO Director, after considering recommendations from the two budget committees.
The term of office is four years, with no limit on the number of terms a Director may serve.
Alice Rivlin was the first director. She was also the longest serving from 1975-1983.
The CBO currently employs about 250 people. The agency is composed primarily of economists and public policy analysts.
Workload: In fiscal year 2010, CBO issued 33 studies and reports, 12 briefs, 12 Monthly Budget Reviews, 35 letters, 14 presentations, and 2 background papers–along with 2 other publications and numerous supplemental data. CBO also testified before the Congress 14 times on a variety of issues. In calendar year 2010, CBO completed approximately 650 federal cost estimates as well as about 475 estimates of the impact of legislation on state and local governments, including the identification of any unfunded mandates contained in such legislation, and about 475 estimates of the impact of any unfunded mandates on the private sector.
Source: Congressional Budget Office
July 26th, 2011
07:00 AM ET
The East Room is most often used for entertaining, press conferences, ceremonies, and occasionally for a large dinner. Yet "the room has unfortunately served much more somber ends: The bodies of both Presidents Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy have lain in state in the East Room. Additionally, during the Civil War, Union troops were at one point quartered in the room." Source: http://www.whitehouse.gov
July 19th, 2011
03:57 PM ET
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.