June 28th, 2011
12:03 PM ET
Barack Obama will be making his fifth visit as president to Iowa today. After formally announcing his intention to run for president on Feb. 10, 2007 in Illinois, then-Senator Obama spent the next two days in Iowa with visits to Cedar Rapids, Waterloo and Ames. Obama held more than 100 town hall meetings with Iowans over the course of his 21-month race to the White House, according to his 2008 presidential campaign. In 2008, Obama carried the state with 54 percent over Republican presidential nominee John McCain's 45 percent.
June 21st, 2011
12:48 PM ET
The war in Afghanistan has lasted 104 months…the war in Vietnam lasted 103 months.
**This calculation uses Aug 7, 1964 the date Congress passed the Tonkin Gulf Resolution as the start date and March 1973 as the end date for the Vietnam war.
American troops attacked Afghanistan on Oct 7, 2001.
June 14th, 2011
12:54 PM ET
It's been 50 years since a sitting American president has made an official trip to the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. Today President Obama travels to San Juan to fulfill a campaign promise to visit as President. Though Gerald Ford traveled to the US territory as president in 1976 to attend an economic summit, the last formal presidential visit was by John F. Kennedy in 1961.
June 7th, 2011
01:21 PM ET
(WASHINGTON) CNN–President and Mrs. Obama tonight will host German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her husband Joachim Sauer at a state dinner full of pomp and elegance. The dinner will be held in the Rose Garden. This isn't the first time the Obama's have hosted a state dinner outside. The dinner for India's prime minister in 2009 was held in a white tent on the White House South Lawn. So why not inside in the actual State Dining Room? Well, it's like Thanksgiving at Grandma's house; it all comes down to space! The State Dining Room only holds about 140 people.
May 31st, 2011
01:08 PM ET
The first Sectary of Commerce was William C. Redfield in 1913, a magnate of the Iron and Steel industry and author of the book, “The New Industrial Day.”
The longest serving Commerce Secretary was Herbert Hoover, who oversaw the Department in the pre-Great Depression boom years of 1921-1928. Hoover went on to become President of the United States in 1929.
The first woman Commerce Secretary was Juanita Kreps, who served from 1977-1979.
The first African American Commerce Secretary was Ronald Brown, who served from 1993-1996. Brown was killed in a plane crash in 1996.
Source: Commerce Department
May 24th, 2011
12:00 PM ET
President and Mrs. Obama today met with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip in London. President Obama is the 12th U.S. president to have served during the Queen's reign. The only American president the Queen did not meet was Lyndon Johnson. She met presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, George Herbert Walker Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama. She met President Truman in 1951 while she was still a princess.
May 17th, 2011
02:33 PM ET
You may see it in reporter live shots from time to time, but the grounds of the White House are currently undergoing a large renovation. In an interview with CNN last year, Bob Peck with the General Services Administration, the agency that oversees the maintenance of federal buildings, said the project was undertaken because the portion under construction had not "been updated since it was built in 1902 and upgraded some parts in 1934. We have Electrical lines, water lines that haven't been updated since and we are basically digging underground to fix them up and make them modern, safer and secure."
The project is currently scheduled to last four years, and will have approximately 500 workers on it by the time it is complete. While the idea of fixing leaky pipes may not generate much excitement, there are some who speculate there is a more secret nature to the project. Despite our questions, Mr. Peck said "all I can tell you is that you can imagine it as a very secure infrastructure project. That's as much as I can say."
May 3rd, 2011
11:10 AM ET
The Situation Room is a 5,000 square foot complex of rooms in the ground floor of the West Wing, some of which have windows looking out the west side of the building. It is sometimes called "the woodshed." Contrary to popular belief, the Situation Room is not a bunker that is located deep underground.
April 26th, 2011
12:00 PM ET
WASHINGTON (CNN) - In honor of this week's Royal wedding, we wanted to look into the history of weddings at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. There have been 21 White House weddings, including nine presidential children and one president, according to Doug Wead, presidential historian and author of "All The Presidents' Children."
President James Monroe's daughter Maria was the first child of a president to marry in the White House, in 1820. Fourteen presidential children were married outside the White House during their father's presidency. The most recent was President George W. Bush's daughter Jenna Bush, who married Henry Hager in Crawford, Texas, in May 2008.
The last wedding to be held at the White House was during the Clinton administration, in May 1994, when Hillary Rodham Clinton's brother, Anthony Rodham, married Nicole Boxer.
President Richard Nixon's daughter, Tricia Nixon, is the only person to get married in the Rose Garden. According to Wead's website, White House pastry chef Heinz Bender produced a 350 pound, cantilevered cake.