Foiled WH arrival plans
November 7th, 2012
05:51 PM ET

Foiled WH arrival plans

According to multiple WH aides,  White House staff planned to assemble on the South Lawn to greet President Obama as he returned this evening but the arrival has now been changed due to weather, as pool has noted. POTUS will arrive by motorcade instead of chopper and that means only a limited pool of reporters get to see him come in and staff members who were looking forward to welcoming him home, no doubt with cheers, will not get to do so. Fair to say some disappointed folks here at the White House.


Topics: 2012 Election • AF1 • The Family
Plouffe questions Romney's disavowal of "47%" remarks
David Plouffe in the spin room after the first presidential debate on Wednesday.
October 5th, 2012
11:58 AM ET

Plouffe questions Romney's disavowal of "47%" remarks

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In brief comments to reporters on Friday, White House Senior Adviser David Plouffe questioned the credibility of Mitt Romney’s most recent attempts to distance himself from controversial comments delivered at a private fundraiser last May.

“I think he said they were inelegant,” Plouffe said, referring to Romney’s initial reaction to recordings of his “47%” comments. “There is no elegant way to attack half the country, say they’re victims, say they won’t take responsibility. These are teachers. These are veterans. These are seniors. And the most important thing is his policies reflect that approach and that disdain because his entire economic philosophy is geared toward the very wealthy and burdening the middle class.”

In an interview with Fox News on Thursday, Romney tried to further distance himself from the remarks, telling Sean Hannity his comments were “completely wrong,” despite having defended his meaning at a press conference held the day after the tapes from the fundraiser were made public.

Noting how much time had passed since Romney originally delivered the remarks and his recent attempts to walk away from them, Plouffe added that the GOP nominee’s most recent disavowal should be viewed with some skepticism.

“I would take with a huge grain of salt trying to clean something up five months after you’ve said it for the first time and after you doubled down on it," Plouffe said.


Topics: 2012 Election • Mitt Romney
August 23rd, 2012
06:24 PM ET

White House brews its own secret beer

As we told you earlier in the week, President Obama recently told a voter at the Iowa State Fair that the White House has its own micro-brewery. CNN White House Correspondent Brianna Keilar follows up on finding the secret recipes.

August 9th, 2012
06:14 PM ET

Ad linking Mitt Romney to woman's death continues to dog Obama campaign

A television ad by Priorities USA Action, the main super PAC backing President Obama, linking Mitt Romney to a woman's death continues to dog the Obama campaign.

For the third day in a row, reporters peppered the White House and Obama campaign about the new ad, which CNN fact-checked Tuesday and found to be inaccurate.

The ad features Joe Soptic, a steelworker who was laid off from his job at a Kansas City, Missouri steel plant in 2001 after the plant was taken over and eventually shut down by Bain Capital, Romney's former company.

The campaign has not endorsed the claims in the ad, but it also has not denounced the impression the ad gives, that if Soptic had not been laid off by Bain Capital perhaps his wife might not have died from cancer.

"We had nothing to do with the ad," Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Thursday. "We can't speak to what they were trying to convey by the ad or communicate." FULL POST


Topics: 2012 Election • Bill Burton • Campaign • President Obama • Super PAC
August 7th, 2012
06:27 PM ET

Ad linking Romney to death of the wife of a laid off steelworker not accurate

A new attack ad by a Super PAC backing President Obama appears to blame Mitt Romney for a woman's death from cancer after his company, Bain Capital, shut down the steel mill where the woman's husband worked.

The ad makes it seem like Joe Soptic's wife, Ilyona "Ranae" Soptic, lost her battle with cancer shortly after he lost his job at GST Steel in Missouri, where he had worked for almost 30 years.

"When Mitt Romney closed the plant I lost my healthcare, and my family lost their healthcare," Soptic says in the ad put out by Priorities USA Action, the main pro-Obama super PAC.   The ad is expected to air in the coming days in five battleground states.

"A short time after that, my wife became ill. I don’t know how long she was sick and I think maybe she didn’t say anything because she knew we couldn’t afford the insurance."

It's a very heart-wrenching story, but it’s not accurate. Here is the actual timeline:

Romney stopped his day-to-day oversight at Bain Capital in 1999 when he left to run the Salt Lake City Olympics, though he officially remained CEO until 2002. Bain Capital shut down GST Steel in 2001, costing Soptic his job.

According to Mr. Soptic, his wife received her primary insurance through her employer – a local thrift store called Savers – and retained it even after his layoff. Soptic's policy through GST Steel was her secondary coverage.

In 2002, Mitt Romney formally left Bain. Sometime in 2002 or 2003, Mr. Soptic says his wife injured her rotator cuff and was forced to leave her job. As a result she lost her health insurance coverage and Mr. Soptic's new job as a janitor did not provide coverage for his spouse.

It was a few years later, in 2006, that Ilyona Soptic went to the hospital with symptoms of pneumonia. She was diagnosed with stage four cancer and passed away just days later.

Joe Soptic, an Obama supporter who appeared in another political ad released by the Obama campaign back in May,  told CNN he blames Romney for the loss of his job and his insurance.

"That is the way I feel," Soptic told me over the phone. "Mitt Romney is a very rich man. I mean, it is obvious if you watch him on television he is completely out of touch with the average family, you know middle income people. I don’t think he has any concept as to how when you close a big company how [it] affects families, the community – you know, it affects everyone."

Priorities USA said Tuesday the ad, titled "Understands," was part of their current $20 million television and online buy, and that the 60-second spot would run in the battleground states of Iowa, Florida, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Ohio.

The Romney campaign disputes the ad’s accuracy.

"President Obama's allies continue to use discredited and dishonest attacks in a contemptible effort to conceal the administration's deplorable economic record," Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said in a statement. "After 42 months of unemployment above 8 percent, it is clear that the President and his campaign do not have a rationale for reelection."

The Obama campaign and the White House are keeping their distance from the debate. During the White House briefing Tuesday, Press Secretary Jay Carney said he hadn't yet seen the ad.

"I'm simply saying that I have not seen this. So how could I possibly assess it?" Carney said.

"But you can. Will you assess it later?" I asked him.

"If you ask me tomorrow, sure," Carney answered.

When I followed up with him after the briefing he told me though he may look at the ad his assessment “will be I have no assessment."

It's become a common occurrence this election cycle: a Super PAC does the dirty work so the campaign, the candidate and, in this case, the White House don't have to.

UPDATE: Priorities USA tells CNN that ad has yet to air, but will soon be added to its swing state media rotation.


Topics: 2012 Election
August 2nd, 2012
07:27 PM ET

Obama and Romney talk religion

President Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney both open up about their personal faiths to an unlikely source- the magazine published by the Washington National Cathedral. CNN's Brianna Keilar reports.

Obama to congressional Republicans: Stop playing politics with our military
President Barack Obama speaks during the 113th National Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center in Reno, Nevada.
July 23rd, 2012
10:31 PM ET

Obama to congressional Republicans: Stop playing politics with our military

Reno, Nevada (CNN) - President Obama spoke to thousands of veterans Monday at the National Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, but he also delivered a message to congressional Republicans.

"Stop playing politics with our military," Obama told the crowd here.

Responding to recent congressional votes demanding details on the $1.2 trillion dollars in government spending cuts set to go into effect at the start of next year, President Obama tried to shift responsibility back to Capitol Hill. FULL POST

Obama and Bill Clinton together again but on the same page?
President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton at a campaign fundraiser in New York City Monday. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
June 5th, 2012
09:08 AM ET

Obama and Bill Clinton together again but on the same page?

Appearing together at three high dollar, star-studded fundraisers in New York City Monday evening, President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton raised millions for Obama's campaign. They're on the same team but are they always reading from the same playbook? CNN White House correspondent Brianna Keilar has more on the curious relationship.

June 1st, 2012
07:08 PM ET

Obama's disappointing jobs numbers

President Obama was in Minneapolis, MN today to tout his latest economic plan- to create a job bank for veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. But with this morning's disappointing jobs numbers, he didn't dwell on the numbers and took a broader approach to economic recovery.  CNN's Brianna Keilar traveled with him to the Honeywell factory which employs dozens of veterans for the president's speech.

Also, take a peek from the  full story from our friends at CNN wires:

(CNN) - President Barack Obama hit the road for campaigning and fundraisers Friday, arguably the worst day so far in his re-election bid due to a disappointing employment report that brought sharp Republican attacks led by certain GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

In a visit to a Honeywell International plant in suburban Minneapolis, Obama announced new efforts to help war veterans find work back home using the skills they learned in the military.

He also urged Congress to establish a Veterans Jobs Corps modeled on the Civilian Conservation Corps of decades past.

However, the employment report earlier Friday that showed lower-than-expected growth of 69,000 jobs last month and a rise in the unemployment rate to 8.2% provided Romney and Republicans an opening to ratchet up their incessant criticism of Obama's economic policies.

For the complete story, click here.