Obama to call for Bush tax cut extensions for those making $250,000 or less
July 9th, 2012
08:25 AM ET

Obama to call for Bush tax cut extensions for those making $250,000 or less

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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Topics: President Obama • Tax cuts • The News
Obama to call for Bush tax cut extensions for those making less than $250K
July 9th, 2012
04:25 AM ET

Obama to call for Bush tax cut extensions for those making less than $250K

Washington (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.

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Topics: Congress • President Obama • Tax cuts
Obama's same sex support brings in the campaign cash
President Barack Obama participates in an interview with Robin Roberts of ABC's Good Morning America, in the Cabinet Room of the White Hous on May 9, 2012
May 11th, 2012
02:06 PM ET

Obama's same sex support brings in the campaign cash

It's been a bonanza money week for the Obama campaign. A Democratic source tells CNN the campaign raised $2 million dollars in donations in the 24 hours following the President's announcement he personally support's same-sex marriage.

On Friday, the president left on a campaign swing to Seattle and Los Angeles to pick up even more donations. The president dropped into Seattle where he collected roughly $3 million at two events. But the big haul came at the star-studded George Clooney blockbuster, where a Democratic official tells CNN, the reelection effort brought in $15 million.

Vice President Biden apologizes to President Obama
May 10th, 2012
05:53 PM ET

Vice President Biden apologizes to President Obama

A senior administration official says the Vice President Biden met with President Obama in the Oval Office Wednesday morning and apologized for putting the president in a tough position. The president responded by saying that he knows the vice president is speaking from the heart.

President Obama's announcement that he now supports same-sex marriage came sooner than planned as a result of comments made by Vice President Joe Biden, he said in an interview broadcast Thursday.

Also a spokeswoman for the vice president Kendra Barkoff has issued a statement:

“The president has been the leader on this issue from day one. And the vice president never intended to distract from that.”

Reports Biden Floated Trial Balloon on Same Sex Marriage Policy Disputed
May 10th, 2012
04:11 PM ET

Reports Biden Floated Trial Balloon on Same Sex Marriage Policy Disputed

Washington (CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden gave no indication the White House was planning to change its position on same sex marriage when he was asked about just weeks ago at an LGBT fundraiser in Los Angeles April 19, two attendees tells CNN. Because it was an off the record event these participants did not want to be named, but tell CNN when Biden was asked about gay marriage he talked about his comfort with gay and lesbian couples raising families but added that the president sets the policy and offered no indication that there would be a shift in policy.

On the “CBS This Morning”, the co-creator of the television series “Will and Grace,” who also attended that fundraiser, said that he believed the vice president’s remarks were “choreographed” because his remarks at the fund-raiser were recorded by the White House and were so similar to his comments on NBC’s “Meet the Press” this past Sunday. White House officials confirm to CNN that it’s standard to record every event the president and vice president attend as a record, whether they’re public or private events.

That fund-raiser has taken on unexpected significance –in part because that’s where the vice president met the two young children he referenced in his comments to David Gregory on NBC Sunday. In explaining his change of heart in support of gay marriage, he said it was partly seeing the happy children, ages 7 and 5, of the gay couple who hosted that fundraiser. Sources say Biden met with the hosts and their children privately before the larger fund-raiser began – it was an impromptu meeting. And the vice president told Gregory the kids gave him flowers and he told THEIR fathers: "I wish every American could see the look of love those kids had in their eyes for you guys, and they wouldn't have any doubt about what this is about."

One source tells CNN the Vice President gave a nearly five minute answer and never explicitly states his support for gay marriage but left the clear impression he supported it. Another confirms the vice president did say “Will and Grace” helped him come to a greater acceptance of gay and lesbian same-sex partners. But the majority of his remarks focused on the president’s work overturning the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy and extending some federal benefits to same sex couples as well as repeatedly drawing a contrast with Mitt Romney on gay and lesbian rights. FULL POST

Democratic Sources: Obama aides annoyed with Biden
May 10th, 2012
03:43 PM ET

Democratic Sources: Obama aides annoyed with Biden

Washington (CNN) – Multiple top Democrats said Thursday the president's senior aides are deeply annoyed with Vice President Joe Biden for forcing the conversation on same-sex marriage.   One source said Biden has, in the past, counseled the president against announcing support for same-sex marriage – making the circumstances that much more frustrating. Although other sources said they have not heard Biden make that point in recent years.   Biden made comments supporting such unions during an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" that aired Sunday, seemingly forcing the issue to the forefront of public debate.

Another source said the recent events gave renewed life to old jokes and flippant remarks like, "Hello? Does he know this is the Obama presidency not the Biden presidency?"

None of these sources said they believed it would create a lasting rift between the West Wing and the vice president's office – because Biden has gone off script before and will do it again.

The president's team said they were aware of the risk when they tapped Biden for the ticket. One source added that the president has a close personal relationship with the former senator and that trumps his advisers' frustrations. But there is a great deal of interest in keeping the vice president "on script."   These top Democrats said they are not concerned that Biden will "get credit" for the same-sex marriage announcement. They said history will show it's the president who did this and they believe most people thought the president already supported same-sex marriage.   Sources also said the vice president feels bad about putting the president in a tough position.   As evidence he is not in the dog house, Biden hosted a student loan event at the White House Thursday and will make a two-day campaign swing in Ohio next week.

Dinner with Clooney, Obama nets $15 million
May 10th, 2012
07:03 AM ET

Dinner with Clooney, Obama nets $15 million

(CNN) – There are bundlers – the mega-fundraisers who collect checks from friends and contacts, then forward them to campaigns – and then there's George Clooney.

Clooney did something that few, if any, bundlers have done this year for President Barack Obama's campaign: rake in $15 million dollars, a figure provided to CNN by a top Democratic source.

The campaign raffled two tickets to join Clooney and Obama at the movie star's Los Angeles home for a dinner on Thursday. The campaign said last week that it had raked in $6 million by selling tickets for 150 guests, suggesting the raffle earned the campaign $9 million.

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Topics: President Obama
Obama’s announcement: why now?
May 9th, 2012
07:15 PM ET

Obama’s announcement: why now?

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(CNN) – Was the president planning on publicly expressing support for same-sex marriage before the election? It depends who you ask.

One senior administration official tells CNN President Obama’s advisors were deeply divided over whether it was prudent to make a public statement on the matter before voters weigh in next November.

That administration official added the president’s advisors did not feel he needed to make public remarks on the issue until Vice President Joe Biden expressed support of same-sex marriage over the weekend, touching off a renewed focus on the president’s continued hedging on the matter. Before today, the president has long maintained he believes in equal rights for same-sex couples but was continuing to ‘evolve’ on whether full marriage rights should be extended to them.

But other senior administration officials contend the president came to support same-sex marriage a few months ago and was planning to speak out in support of it before the Democratic National Convention in late summer and it was just a matter of when the right time would be. These officials say Biden’s comments simply expedited that timeline.

A top Democratic source told CNN one factor that tipped the decision in favor of speaking out: there was going to be a fight over whether same-sex marriage should be adopted among the party’s planks at the convention and Biden’s remarks added early fuel to the fire.

Senior administration officials also tell CNN same-sex marriage will by no means be a cornerstone of his campaign in part because he is not pushing any legislation. In his comments with ABC Wednesday, the president said that he continues to believe the issue of same-sex marriage should be dealt with at the state level. He emphasized that he was sharing his personal views.

A senior administration official tells CNN First Lady Michelle Obama was deeply influential in this decision. The official said the president discussed his decision with Mrs. Obama who shared the view he should speak out in support of same sex marriage. FULL POST

Biden says he is 'absolutely comfortable' with same-sex marriage
May 7th, 2012
08:35 AM ET

Biden says he is 'absolutely comfortable' with same-sex marriage

(CNN) – As a ballot initiative to ban same sex-marriage comes to a vote in North Carolina this week, Vice President Joe Biden said Sunday he was "absolutely comfortable" with the idea of same-gender marriage.

"I just think that the good news is that as more and more Americans come to understand what this is all about, it is a simple proposition: Who do you love? Who do you love? And will you be loyal to the person who love?" Biden said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

While he did not touch on the North Carolina initiative, his comments were consistent with his message on the controversial issue in general. He added, however, that it's the president, not he, who sets the administration's policy.

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