(CNN) – Void of politics, the weekly address of President Barack Obama and House speaker John Boehner coincided on Saturday, with each sending condolences to loved ones whose lives were cut short and those wounded in the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting.
Standing by for further details, both parties expressed regret over the massacre, agreeing to set politics aside in light of the incident.
"This weekend I hope everyone takes some time for prayer and reflection – for the victims of this terrible tragedy, for the people who knew them and loved them, for those who are still struggling to recover, and for all the victims of the less publicized acts of violence that plague our communities on a daily basis. Let us keep all these Americans in our prayers. And to the people of Aurora, may the Lord bring you comfort and healing in the hard days to come," said Obama.
House speaker John Boehner also weighed in on the tragedy.
"My plan today was to share some thoughts with you about the economy. But life, they say, is what happens when you're busy making other plans. There is still so much, too much, to sort out about the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado. Words cannot capture the horror, or make sense of something so senseless. So I won't try. This much I know. I know that when confronted with evil we cannot comprehend, Americans pull together and embrace our national family more tightly," said Boehner. (read more at CNN Political Ticker)
San Antonio, TX (CNN) – President Obama took his campaign to one of the reddest states in the country on Tuesday, telling a crowd of roughly 1,200 supporters at a lunch-time fundraiser here that while he may not win their home state in November, Texas Democrats should be optimistic about the future.
“You’re not considered one of the battleground states, but that’s going to be changing soon,” Obama said to applause, referring to Texas’ changing demographics that many analysts predict may help shift the state’s political leaning.
Long a reliable state for Republicans, Texas has nonetheless been a consistent source of money for both political parties. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, only Californians have donated more to presidential candidates this cycle than the nearly $30 million given by Texans.
Virginia Beach, Virginia (CNN) – Once again setting up this election as a battle between "different visions" for the future of America, President Barack Obama took his campaign to Virginia on Friday and questioned Republicans' commitment to one of their central campaign themes.
Repeating his pledge to let lower tax rates for upper-income workers expire at the end of the year, the president said that his opponents' disagreement means they're not determined to reduce the nation's deficit.
WHITE HOUSE (CNN) - President Barack Obama is expected to call on Congress to pass a one-year extension on the Bush-era tax cuts for people earning less than $250,000 a year.
A White House official said Obama will make the announcement Monday at the Rose Garden, surrounded by working people.
In addition, a campaign official said the campaign will "amplify the president's message on middle-class tax cuts" by hosting a series of events in battleground states all week across the country.
In Las Vegas, for example, local elected officials will discuss Obama's efforts to fight for the middle class, the campaign official said. In Colorado, Aspen Mayor Mick Ireland, Colorado Democratic Party Chair Rick Palacio and state Sen. Gail Schwartz will hold a press conference to discuss the contrasting economic visions of Obama and presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
On Sunday, a top adviser for Obama's re-election campaign said the president was entirely dedicated to ending the so-called Bush tax cuts for the wealthy at the end of this year.
"He is 100% committed to it," Robert Gibbs said on CNN's "State of the Union."
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Washington (CNN) - An extraordinary House committee hearing began considering a contempt measure against Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday even though President Barack Obama asserted executive privilege over documents sought by the panel investigating the botched Fast and Furious gun-running sting.
Committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California, said the White House assertion of executive privilege "falls short" of any reason to delay the hearing.
However, the committee's top Democrat, Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, accused Issa of setting an "impossible standard" for Holder by demanding documents the attorney general was legally prohibited from providing.
Issa has "no interest in resolving" the dispute with Holder, Cummings said.
Wednesday's development further heightened the drama of a high-profile showdown between Issa and Holder over the committee's demand for the Department of Justice to turn over more documents about the Fast and Furious program.
The White House move means the Department of Justice can withhold the documents from the House Oversight Committee, which was scheduled to consider a contempt measure Wednesday against Holder.
By CNN's Sally Holland
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama broke out his pens Wednesday to sign legislation reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank, which makes it easier for U.S. companies to sell their goods overseas by providing financing for exports.
In a rare bipartisan vote, Congress passed the legislation in mid-May.
"There are a number of things that my administration can do on our own and we're gonna keep on doing them, but it gets a whole lot easier if we get some help from Congress, and this is a great example and great model of what can happen," said Obama at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building signing ceremony.
The Export-Import Bank, which dates back to the Roosevelt administration, is tasked with providing loans and other support for both large and small businesses to ply their products outside the U.S. borders. These loans are generally considered to be more risky due to the volatility of the overseas marketplace.
In the Senate, the reauthorization passed by a vote of 78 to 20. One of those "no" votes came from Sen. Mike Lee, a Republican from Utah.
"We need to end the corporate welfare that distorts the market and feeds corny capitalism," Lee said on the Senate floor on May 15. "The corporations that largely benefit from the Ex-Im Bank should have no trouble marshaling their resources to compete in today's economy."
The legislation Obama signed allows the bank to approve new financing until September 2014. It also permits the bank to increase its lending limit to $120 billion immediately. In the longer term, that limit can be raised to $140 billion if the bank submits a business plan and continues to maintain a low default rate on its loans.
During the signing ceremony, the president listed other goals he would like Congress to work toward, including providing a $3,000 credit for Americans who refinance their homes, supporting clean energy, and working to create a better job market for veterans.
Also on his congressional "to-do" list is help for small businesses.
"Congress still has the opportunity to do more to help small-business owners, who create most of the new jobs in America so we want to give them a tax break for hiring more workers and providing those workers higher wages," he said.
According to a White House fact sheet on the bill signed Wednesday, Export-Import Bank authorizations last year reached $32.7 billion, "supporting $40 billion in export sales and 290,000 American jobs at more than 3,600 U.S. companies."
The president used 10 pens to sign the export-import legislation, a common White House practice that allows each of the pens to be either displayed or distributed as a souvenir.
CNN Producer Scott Spoerry contributed to this report.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama rarely misses an opportunity to talk about the help his administration is offering to military veterans and their families. “We will care and serve our veterans the way they've served us,” Mr. Obama said at a recent campaign event out west.
His message may be grounded in policy but in this election season it’s also about the politics.
His re-election campaign is actively courting veterans who have traditionally supported Republicans.
"It's door-to-door, person-to-person, grocery store-to-grocery store. Letting people know the president's record on his policies to veterans," said Beau Biden, an Iraq veteran and the vice president’s son, who is part of the campaign’s grassroots effort “Veterans and Military Families for Obama.”
President Obama made a surprise visit to Afghanistan today on the one year anniversary of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. While in country Obama and President Karzai signed the Strategic Partnership Agreement outlining the U.S.-Afghanistan relationship over the next decade. The president will also address the nation live from Afghanistan at 7:30pm ET.
Today's visit to Afghanistan is President Obama's third since taking office. His most recent visit was to the base at Bagram in December 2010. Bad weather kept the president from traveling the almost 30 miles to Kabul. His first visit was on March 28, 2010.
It was 9 years ago today when then-President George W. Bush declared an end to major combat operations in Iraq. Under a banner that read "mission accomplished," President Bush addressed the country live from the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln in the Persian Gulf.
A senior administration official confirms the first woman to serve as U.S. Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The Medal of Freedom is the nation’s highest civilian honor.
A White House release described the Presidential Medal of freedom as an honor presented to individuals "who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors."
The White House had previously announced former University of Tennesee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt and former Polish Underground officer Jan Karski, who was one of the first people to provide accounts of the Holocaust to the outside world, will also receive honor.
A ceremony honoring them will take place sometime later this year at the White House.
Iowa City, IA (CNN) -- President Obama targeted House Republican Todd Akin from Missouri in his remarks on student loan interest rates at the University of Iowa Wednesday.
He did not call out Akin by name, instead citing Akin's recent remarks about how the federal government should not be in the business of student loans.
"America has got the equivalent of the stage three cancer of socialism because the federal government is tampering in all kinds of stuff it has no business tampering in," Akin said in a debate with his two Republican opponents Saturday, according to a report by the Columbia Daily Tribune.
Akin, who represents suburbs west of St. Louis, is in a Republican primary contest to oppose Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO). She is facing perhaps the toughest re-election fight of any incumbent Democratic senator this cycle.