January 19th, 2011
10:17 PM ET

Panda diplomacy continues under Obama

Washington (CNN) - While the talks between President Obama and President Hu may not have produced major headlines from topics such as currency and trade,  there was news about the National Zoo’s beloved pandas.

In the toasts at the State Dinner, President Obama announced that the pandas can extend their visit to the zoo for a little longer. In speaking of the ways that the U.S. and China were working together, Mr. Obama said, “under a new agreement, our National Zoo will continue to dazzle children and visitors with the beloved giant pandas.”

“This new five year agreement marks the next great phase for the giant panda program at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, said Director Dennis Kelly. We realized several significant scientific breakthroughs over the past ten years and now we’ll be able to continue our panda breeding efforts here and focus on the next conservation challenges giant pandas face in the wild. We know Americans love Mei Xiang and Tian Tian so it is an honor to have them stay with us for a while longer.”

Topics: China • State Visit • The Buzz
January 19th, 2011
08:41 PM ET

On the U.S.-China to do list

Washington (CNN) - White House Correspondent Dan Lothian takes a look at a busy day of diplomacy, business deals, pomp and circumstances, and embarassing techical snafus as President Obama hosted President Hu Jintao of China at the White House.

Topics: China • President Obama
Press conference lost in translation
January 19th, 2011
06:56 PM ET

Press conference lost in translation

By Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty
Washington (CNN) - The joint news conference with the two presidents started off just fine. President Barack Obama praised a "spirit of cooperation that is also friendly competition." Chinese President Hu Jintao told reporters the countries' relationship is based on "mutual respect and mutual benefit."

Then came the "lost in translation" moment that turned the press availability into what felt like one long Chinese-language lesson.

Topics: China • President Obama
Menu: 'quintessentially American'
January 19th, 2011
06:27 PM ET

Menu: 'quintessentially American'

Dinner Menu

D’Anjou Pear Salad with Farmstead Goat Cheese
Fennel, Black Walnuts, and White Balsamic
Poached Maine Lobster
Orange Glazed Carrots and Black Trumpet Mushrooms
Dumol Chardonnay “Russian River” 2008

Lemon Sorbet

Dry Aged Rib Eye with Buttermilk Crisp Onions
Double Stuffed Potatoes and Creamed Spinach
Quilceda Creek Cabernet “Columbia Valley” 2005

Old Fashioned Apple Pie with
Vanilla Ice Cream
Poet’s Leap Riesling “Botrytis” 2008

Topics: China • State Dinner • The Buzz
The hot ticket – who made the state dinner guest list?
January 19th, 2011
05:26 PM ET

The hot ticket – who made the state dinner guest list?



The Honorable Madeleine Albright, Washington, D.C.

Ms. Alice Albright

Ms. Christiane Amanpour, ABC News, New York, NY

Mr. James Rubin

The Honorable David Axelrod, Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor

Mrs. Susan Axelrod

Mr. Jeffrey Bader, National Security Council

Ms. Rohini Talalla

The Honorable Elizabeth Bagley, Washington, D.C.

Mr. Kevin Frawley

Mr. Steven Ballmer, Microsoft, Redmond, WA

Mrs. Connie Ballmer


Topics: State Dinner • The Buzz
Mrs. Obama urges students to study abroad
January 19th, 2011
02:39 PM ET

Mrs. Obama urges students to study abroad

WASHINGTON (CNN) – First lady Michelle Obama spent part of her busy morning (she had a few people at the White House for a welcoming ceremony for the President of China!) at Howard University encouraging students to study overseas.

Mrs. Obama said that American students studying aboard help not just the students but help the United States.

“Studying in countries like China is about so much more than just improving your own prospects in the global market. The fact is with every friendship you make and every bond of trust you establish, you are shaping the image of America projected to the rest of the world,” she said.

Mrs. Obama spoke to university and high school students about her own college experience and why she didn’t take the opportunity to study overseas.

“My brother and I were among the first in our families to go to college. So trust me, we were way more focused on getting, in, getting through, and getting out,” she said.

She encouraged the students not to follow her example.  Mrs. Obama’s remarks were part of a program that included a panel discussion with four students who studied in China.

Topics: China • Michelle Obama • The Family
The Sweep: Daley gets down to business
January 19th, 2011
01:19 PM ET

The Sweep: Daley gets down to business

Washington (CNN) - As he drove to a Dunkin' Donuts in Nashville early on Election Day 2000, Bill Daley's reputation for being the calmest guy in the middle of a crisis was being severely put to the test.

It was 6:30 a.m., and Daley had just picked up Don Baer, a last-minute addition to Vice President Al Gore's campaign to help with communications strategy, at his hotel. They decided to get a cup of coffee on their way to Gore's campaign office to begin fueling up for what could be a long night of waiting for election returns.

"It was just the two of us in that car going into the headquarters that morning, and we were talking about what the day might hold," Baer told me.

As a guy who's had two legendary Chicago mayors in his family, Daley thought he had seen everything in politics. But as he sifted through the possibilities with Baer in the car - including one nightmare scenario where Gore could win the electoral vote but lose the popular vote to Republican George W. Bush - Daley grew more and more perplexed.


Topics: White House • William Daley
This week's poll
January 19th, 2011
12:00 PM ET

This week's poll

Topics: China • Poll
Obama, 'Da Bears' Super Bowl bound?
January 19th, 2011
10:36 AM ET

Obama, 'Da Bears' Super Bowl bound?

Washington (CNN) - It was not quite a Joe Namath-style guarantee of victory, but President Obama came close on Wednesday when he declared that he's heading to the Super Bowl if his beloved Chicago Bears make it to the game.

At the end of a quick media spray of his Oval Office meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao, Obama was asked by a journalist if he's planning to head to the big game on Feb. 6 in Dallas.

"If the Bears win, I'm going no doubt," Obama said matter-of-factly.

If nothing else, Obama perhaps put a little bit more pressure on "Da Bears" this weekend because they first have to beat their rival, Green Bay Packers, in the National Football Conference championship game.

But there's also no doubt Ditka would be proud of the president, fitting in a little football tack in between diplomacy with the Chinese.

Topics: President Obama • Super Bowl • The Buzz
Many issues on table for Obama-Hu meeting
President Obama and President Hu before a private dinner in the Old Family Dining Room Tuesday evening
January 19th, 2011
09:18 AM ET

Many issues on table for Obama-Hu meeting

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - President Barack Obama will host a formal state dinner for his Chinese counterpart on Wednesday - part of a day that will
include bilateral talks and a joint news conference.

Chinese President Hu Jintao is on a three-day trip to the United States for talks on trade, currency and North Korea. It will the eighth face-to-face meeting between the two leaders.

Hu will stress the importance of a comprehensive partnership between the two nations to help ensure stability worldwide, Chinese state media reported, despite their differences on issues such as human rights and currency controls.

In addition to Obama, the leader is scheduled to meet with top legislators and business executives and then visit Chicago.

Topics: China • President Obama • The News