January 11th, 2011
08:40 PM ET

The tone the President may take at the AZ memorial speech

By CNN National Correspondent Kate Bolduan
WASHINGTON (CNN) -  President Barack Obama began working Monday night on the speech he will deliver during a memorial service Wednesday for the victims of Saturday's mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona.

White House officials say Obama has determined the broad idea of what he wants to say and is working with his team of speechwriters on drafting his remarks.

According to one White House official, the president will likely continue tweaking the speech throughout the day before his scheduled Wednesday evening remarks.

While the details, tone and length of the speech have not been released, Obama "will devote most of his remarks to memorializing the victims," a White House official said.

January 11th, 2011
05:24 PM ET

Obama statement on Haiti

Written statement by the President as released by the White House on Tuesday

As we mark one year since the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti, we honor the memory of the quarter of a million Haitians who were lost, along with more than one hundred Americans, many United Nations personnel and citizens from dozens of nations. We recall how Americans, civilian and military, joined with people from around the world in one of the largest humanitarian efforts ever attempted. And we continue to be inspired by the Haitian people, and our vibrant Haitian American community, who have faced unimaginable loss with extraordinary courage and faith.

Since the first moments of the disaster, the United States has helped to rally international support for Haiti’s recovery and reconstruction and respond to new challenges, such as the outbreak of cholera and Hurricane Tomas. This global effort, led by the Haitian government, continues today and has been matched by the tremendous compassion of the American people, who in difficult economic times have given generously to help.

Topics: President Obama
Biden: U.S. willing to stay in Afghanistan after 2014
January 11th, 2011
09:21 AM ET

Biden: U.S. willing to stay in Afghanistan after 2014

By CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) - U.S. troops will stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014 if Afghans want them to, Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday.

President Barack Obama has announced plans to begin withdrawing some troops from Afghanistan this July, with all U.S. combat troops scheduled to be out of Afghanistan by 2014.

The United States does not intend "to govern or nation-build" as that "is the responsibility of the Afghan people and they are fully capable of it," Biden said Tuesday, according to a journalist traveling with him.

"We stand ready to help you in that effort ... after 2014," the vice president said.

In November, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen signed a long-term partnership agreement with Afghan President Hamid Karzai under which "NATO will stay as long as necessary to support Afghanistan until it can no longer become a safe haven for terrorism."

NATO and non-NATO nations with troops in Afghanistan agreed then that Afghan security forces would increasingly take the lead on security operations in Afghanistan beginning early this year.

January 11th, 2011
09:16 AM ET

POTUS's Schedule for Tuesday, January 11, 2011

WHITE HOUSE (CNN)- President Obama is laying low today with very little on his public schedule.  He'll have his usual closed press meetings in the Oval Office- receiving the Presdiential Daily Briefing and then meeting with his senior advisors. There is no briefing scheduled- presumably because Robert Gibbs is still on cloud nine with the Auburn victory last night. He was at the championship game and is presumably returning to Washington today. We'll keep you updated if anything is added to POTUS's schedule!

Obama to travel to Tucson on Wednesday
January 11th, 2011
09:08 AM ET

Obama to travel to Tucson on Wednesday

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama will travel to Arizona on Wednesday in the wake of the weekend shooting there that left six people dead and 14 wounded, including a member of Congress, two senior administration officials told CNN Monday.

“The President thought it was important to visit the Tucson community since this tragedy touched everyone there as well as throughout the entire country in some way," White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said in a written statement. "The President believes that right now, the main thing we should be doing is offering our thoughts and prayers to those who’ve been impacted and making sure that we're joining together and pulling together as a country.”

The president will likely attend a memorial service and visit with victims' families in Tucson, the sources said. He has already spoken to many of the family members by phone.

Earlier Monday, Obama led the nation in a moment of silence as flags across the country flew at half-staff to honor the victims. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head during in the attack and remains in critical condition.