White House Press Secretary Jay Carney announced that President Obama received an Olympic Security briefing on Thursday.
"Earlier this morning, John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism hosted an Olympic security deputy's meeting, with the full terrorism and law enforcement community, to take stock of our efforts working with the United Kingdom to prepare for the London 2012 Olympic games. Following that meeting, Mr. Brennan provided the President with an update on the Olympics as well as the United States government's support to the United Kingdom prior to and during the games. The President directed that we continue to ensure that we are doing everything possible to keep the American people safe and to continue close cooperation with our British counterparts in keeping with our special relationship, the President also made clear he has the utmost confidence in our close friend and ally, the United Kingdom, as they finalize preparations to host the London Olympics."
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.
(CNN) – The U.S. Secret Service is set to announce agent resignations following a prostitution scandal in Colombia, according to a source with knowledge of the investigation. The resignations could occur as early as Wednesday evening, the source said, adding that not all 11 agents involved in the scandal are expected to resign.
President Obama addressed the Trayvon Martin shooting today in the Rose Garden.
“Obviously this is a tragedy. I can only imagine what these parents are going through. When I think about this boy I think about my own kids and I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this and that everybody pulls together, federal, state and local to figure out exactly how this tragedy happened.
I’m glad that not only the Justice Department is looking into it, I understand now that the governor of the state of Florida has formed a task force to investigate what is taking place.
I think all of us have to do some soul searching to figure out how something like this happened. That means that we examine the laws and the context for what happened as well as the specifics of the incident.
But my main message is to the parents of Trayvon. If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon. I think they are right to expect that all of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves and we will get to the bottom of exactly what happened.”
The President and Mrs. Obama invited the following as guests to tonight's State Dinner.
The Right Honorable David Cameron, M.P. Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Mrs. Samantha Cameron
Mrs. Obama gave a short preview of tonight's State Dinner to a group of local students this afternoon in the State Dining Room. Explaining the intricate dance required to serve dinner for 150 guests, the first lady described the kitchen to the audience.
"The White House is a big place, but the kitchen is really teeny. You wouldn't believe it - it's a little bitty kitchen, so they have to really man the engines to make it happen," Mrs. Obama explained.
The White House will host a State Dinner Performance on the South Lawn following the dinner, featuring performances by Mumford and Sons and selections by John Legend.
The theme of the décor for the United Kingdom State Dinner is “America’s Backyard.” Traditionally, America’s backyards are places of gathering and entertaining close friends and family. The special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom makes this “backyard” celebration a quintessentially American event.
Located in a tent on the South Lawn of the White House, the State Dinner encouraged a celebration of American gardens. The grounds of the White House are in clear view through the 150 foot-wide glass wall of the dinner tent. In honor of our guests, the beauty of countryside English gardens is also incorporated into the design by Rafanelli Events. Planters and centerpieces used at the dinner are intended to emulate nature and the flowing “landscape gardens” that are common in England. The English have also become widely known for their flower borders, with perennials, annuals, and sometimes shrubs combining to form masses of color. The design of the tent embraces this passion for color in the floral arrangements, lighting, amethyst linens and matching carpet. Roses—the national flower of both countries—play a major role in the floral arrangements.
From the White House regarding the State Dinner menu:
The President and Mrs. Obama will host Prime Minister David Cameron and Mrs. Cameron for a State Dinner this evening. The State Dinner will be held in a tent on the South Lawn of the White House. White House Executive Chef Cris Comerford and White House Executive Pastry Chef William Yosses have carefully constructed the evening’s menu using local ingredients, including produce grown in the White House Kitchen Garden.
A Winter Harvest Dinner: The United Kingdom State Dinner takes its inspiration from the Kitchen Garden’s late winter harvest and some early spring greens, which chefs harvested the day before the dinner. The White House Kitchen Garden uses hoop houses—simple metal frames covered by plastic tarps—to grow produce throughout the winter months. During the day, the plastic traps heat from the sun, and at night that heat protects plants from freezing temperatures. Using this method, produce thrives in the White House Kitchen Garden throughout the year.
An American wine will be paired with each course.
The White House released this information on the gifts from the Obamas to the Camerons:
On the occasion of the Official Visit, The President and Mrs. Obama gave the Prime Minister and Mrs. Cameron a one-of-a-kind Braten 1000 Series Grill hand made by Engelbrecht Grills and Cookers of Paxton, Illinois. Symbolizing the personal friendship between the President and Mrs. Obama and Prime Minister and Mrs. Cameron, the gift commemorates their May 2011 visit to 10 Downing Street where together they grilled and served food to American and British Armed Service Members.
An American classic, the wood and charcoal burning grill is customized with American and British friendship flags engraved into the utility shelf and a personalized plaque mounted on the exterior lid. The grill and all its component parts are made in the United States and Engelbrecht Grills and Cookers has been praised for its environmentally friendly practices. The gift also includes two White House chef jackets each featuring American and British flags, and the Great Seal. Prime Minister and Mrs. Cameron's names are embroidered onto the front of their individual jacket.
Mrs. Obama gave Mrs. Cameron an original crystal honey vase with honey collected from the South Lawn of the White House hand-etched with the words "White House Honey" onto the front side of the vase. Chamomile seeds harvested from the White House kitchen garden and a custom candle inspired by the White House were also presented.
Each of Prime Minister and Mrs. Cameron's children received personalized American made bean bag chairs, each featuring the Presidential Seal and the child's name embroidered.
Finally...the president's NCAA bracket has been revealed! Mr. Obama has North Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio State and Missouri in the Final Four.
As part of the kick off to March Madness, the president and British Prime Minister David Cameron attended a first round game in Dayton on Tuesday night. On Wednesday morning, they were still talking hoops at the official welcoming ceremony for the prime minister at the White House.
"The storied relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom is steeped in tradition and last night as president I shared with the Prime Minister a uniquely American tradition of bracketology. March Madness," said Mr. Obama. "He has learned to appreciate one of our great national pastimes. His team has told me he has decided to install a hoop at Ten Downing Street."
The prime minister responded with thanks "for the lesson last night." He added, "I will leave America with some new words: ally oops, brackets, fast breaks. And who knows? Maybe that hoop will be installed in Downing Street after all."