WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Obama poked fun at himself Saturday night while delivering a joke-filled monologue at the Alfalfa Club’s annual dinner in Washington. “It is great to be here tonight, because I have about 45 more minutes on the State of the Union that I’d like to deliver tonight,” Obama announced to the crowd of Washington insiders, politicians and business elite.
The exclusive black-tie dinner was closed to press coverage, but the White House released some excerpts of the President's remarks.
President Obama and the first family are once again spending their annual holiday vacation on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, Obama's childhood home. The first family is renting a secluded 5-bedroom house situated on Kailua Beach, according to local realtor David Dunham. The first family has vacationed on Kailua Beach for the past three years.
The 6,000 square foot luxury house, has an "Asian flair", according to Dunham. Interior Designer Jay Gorsia designed the house to reflect the Chinese and Indian heritage of the owners. The house is accentuated with Brazilian hardwoods and cherry trim molding, and has a swimming pool set among a lush tropical garden and koi pond.
This year's presidential holiday retreat, just a few houses down the street from where the Obama family vacationed in the past, also has a larger swimming pool and a greater level of privacy than houses in years past. A temporary eight foot barrier has been built as an added measure of privacy and security according to Dunham. The Obamas are the first group to ever rent the house.
Dunham plans to list the house for sale once the Obama family returns to Washington. The sales price: a cool $7.9 million.
Remarks of President Barack Obama for his weekly Saturday morning radio/internet address, as released by the White House:
This week, we learned that our economy added another 140,000 private sector jobs in November. Despite some strong headwinds this year, America’s economy has now created private sector jobs for the past 21 months in a row – almost three million new jobs in all, more than half a million of them in the past four months alone.
We need to keep this growth going and strengthen it. That’s why we’ve been fighting to pass a series of jobs bills through Congress – bills that independent economists say will create more jobs and grow the economy even faster. Because now is the time to step on the gas, not slam on the brakes.
Unfortunately, too many Republicans in Congress don’t seem to share that same sense of urgency. Over the last few months, they’ve said “no” to most of these jobs bills. “No” to putting teachers and firefighters back to work. “No” to putting construction workers back on the job. And this week, they actually said “no” to cutting taxes for middle-class families.
You see, last year, both parties came together to cut payroll taxes for the typical middle-class family by about $1,000. But that tax cut is set to expire at the end of this month. If that happens, that same family will see its taxes go up by $1,000. We can’t let that happen. In fact, I think we should cut taxes on working families and small business owners even more.
And we’re going to keep pushing Congress to make this happen. They shouldn’t go home for the holidays until they get this done. And if you agree with me, I could use your help.
We’ve set up a simple tax cut calculator on WhiteHouse.gov so that you can see exactly what the stakes are for your family. Try it out. Then let your members of Congress know where you stand.
Tell them not to vote to raise taxes on working Americans during the holidays. Tell them to put country before party. Put money back in the pockets of working Americans. Pass these tax cuts.
We’re all in this together. The more Americans succeed, the more America succeeds. And if we remember that and do what it takes to keep this economy growing and opportunity rising, then I’m confident that we’ll come out of this stronger than before.
On one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year, President Obama and first daughters Sasha and Malia dropped by a local area bookstore in support of the 2nd annual Small Business Saturday. The First Family, known for their bookstore outings provided some Thanksgiving retail therapy to Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe in Washington's Dupont Circle neighborhood. The family was dressed casually, with both girls wearing jeans. The visit didn’t seem like a spur of the moment decision, since the area in front of the store had been cordoned off with yellow police tape.
The President and first daughters were greeted with applause, as some stunned shoppers stopped in their tracks at the scene of Secret Service and travelling Media in the crowded bookstore. The First Family browsed together, spending time in the travel/writing section of the trendy bookstore/restaurant known for its eclectic variety of books.
The President greeted 5-year old Alexander Lee Mussehl at the behest of the youngster’s Grandmother, Susan Lee of Washington. Obama asked Alexander if he was doing some Christmas shopping. The President then responded for him “Well, we're starting early. This is 'Small Business Saturday.' So we're out here supporting small business."
Daughter Malia, loaded down with an armful of books, also said hello to young Alexander. The White House provided this list of the books purchased at the shop by the first family.
The Invention of Hugo Cabret – by Brian Selznick
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever – by Jeff Kinney
Tails – by Matthew Van Fleet
Descent into Chaos – by Ahmed Rashid
The Tiger's Wife – by Tea Obreht
The Phantom Tollbooth – by Norton Juster
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao – by Junot Diaz
Zen Shorts – by Jon Muth
In White House speak; a “weather call” is an official determination if it is safe for the President to fly on Marine One or Air Force One during adverse weather conditions. Heavy rain, sleet, snow, lightning, and most often dense fog can ground the specially equipped Presidential aircraft. A “weather call” is a thumb up or thumb down decision based on the current weather conditions and the safety of using aircraft to transport the President and White House staff.
One rule of thumb at the White House, if officials cannot see the tip of the Washington Monument from the White House, Marine One will not land or take off from the South Lawn. The President is usually forced to take a lengthy motorcade ride to his destination.
Washington (CNN) - The round gold-trimmed presidential seal is an impressive symbol affixed to the door of the limousine known as "The Beast."
It appears to be a permanent part of the limo. But in reality, it's a magnetic seal that comes on and off, vulnerable to wind and elements just like anything we'd put on our own cars.
And Thursday night, the seal came off during the President Obama's motorcade to the airport after his fundraising visit to Philadelphia, ending up alongside Interstate 76.
Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said Secret Service agents and Philadelphia police returned to the area off the freeway that night and looked for it, but were unable to find it in the dark.
But the next day, a Philadelphia police officer found it on the side of the road. The Philadelphia Daily News reports the officer had been part of the motorcade the night before, and was helping a disabled car when he spotted it.
It was brought to the Secret Service field office and is being returned to Washington.
"It happens periodically," Donovan said. "They're only magnetic. They're not put on any special way."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - After spending a quiet weekend in Washington, including a round of golf on Saturday, President Obama faces a busy week ahead at the White House - a week in which he'll focus attention on issues overseas. The president will host three international leaders, discussing a variety of issues, ranging from the world economy to military operations in Libya and Afghanistan to Africa.
On Monday, there are no public events scheduled for the president. President Obama will hold his monthly meeting on Afghanistan and Pakistan with his national security team.
The president and first family are spending the weekend at the White House. There are no public events on the president’s schedule, but that doesn’t preclude President Obama or the first family from leaving the confines of the White House for an “off-the-record” outing. The press pool that goes everywhere with the president is on stand-by in the Brady Press Briefing Room in case the president decides to make any announcements or leave the White House.
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.
“The Football” is a black leather bound briefcase carried by the President’s Military Aide. The briefcase contains the authorization codes for the President to launch a nuclear attack from anywhere in the world. Also referred to as President's Emergency Satchel, the "football” travels with the President at all times. Unlike depictions in the movies, this briefcase is never handcuffed to the Military Aide.