First lady leads mentoring program from DC-area students
March 30th, 2011
07:16 PM ET

First lady leads mentoring program from DC-area students

From CNN Senior Producer Sally Holland and CNN White House Producer Becky Brittain

WASHINGTON (CNN) - First lady Michelle Obama invited more than 20 accomplished women to the White House on Wednesday, asking them to serve as mentors for area high school students.

The women, along with the first lady, fanned out across the District of Columbia and surrounding suburbs in the afternoon visiting six local high schools encouraging the teenagers to follow their dreams and work hard to get there.

"There is no magic to being here. You know, Barack and I were not born with silver spoons in our mouths and connections and money and resources. A lot of why we're where we are today is because we worked hard. We felt a deep passion for getting our education," the first lady told students at Ballou High school in Washington. FULL POST

Topics: Michelle Obama • The News
March 30th, 2011
06:35 PM ET

White House issues statement to decline comment on Libya development

WASHINGTON (CNN) – There are multiple reports out today that President Barack Obama has signed a "secret order" authorizing covert U.S. support for Libyan rebel forces.

According to Reuters:

Obama signed the order, known as a presidential "finding," within the last two or three weeks, according to four U.S. government sources familiar with the matter.

Such findings are a principal form of presidential directive used to authorize secret operations by the Central Intelligence Agency. This is a necessary legal step before such action can take place but does not mean that it will.

Meanwhile, ABC News is reporting that the finding doesn't "provide arms to the rebels immediately, although it does prepare for such a contingency and other contingencies should the president decide to go down that road in the future."

In response to questions by the press on the reports, the White House issued the following statement from Press Secretary Jay Carney:

As is common practice for this and all Administrations, I am not going to comment on intelligence matters. I will reiterate what the President said yesterday – no decision has been made about providing arms to the opposition or to any group in Libya. We’re not ruling it out or ruling it in. We’re assessing and reviewing options for all types of assistance that we could provide to the Libyan people, and have consulted directly with the opposition and our international partners about these matters.

While CNN has not confirmed that Obama signed such a finding, John King reports that there is a CIA presence in Libya to help with "military and political understanding," and is gathering intelligence first hand from some of the opposition entities.

Topics: Libya • President Obama • The News
Brady in the Brady briefing room
March 30th, 2011
06:33 PM ET

Brady in the Brady briefing room

WASHINGTON (CNN)  – Former Reagan Press Secretary Jim Brady was back at the White House today.   Brady and his wife Sarah stopped by the White House briefing room, named after Brady, with the current holder of the Press Secretary job, Jay Carney.  

The Bradys are in town to mark the 30th anniversary of the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan and to ask Congress and the president to support tougher gun laws.  It was during the Reagan assassination attempt that Brady was shot and partially paralyzed.

Just prior to the briefing room drop by, the Bradys met with President Obama.   Mr. Brady said, “We spoke of large capacity magazines.”    It was a large capacity gun magazine that was used in the shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.   Mr. Brady said of the shooting,  “So many similarities to mine that it hurt a lot.”   

 He showed his sense of humor when asked what was his favorite part of the briefings, “Hearing Helen Thomas say thank you Mr. Brady,” he said.   That thank you signaled the end of the briefing.

Topics: Jay Carney • The Buzz • White House
March 30th, 2011
03:15 PM ET

Poll: Obama's energy plan

Topics: Energy • Poll
Obama dismisses '08 'Drill, baby, drill' mantra – again
Obama delivers energy remarks Wednesday at Georgetown University
March 30th, 2011
02:33 PM ET

Obama dismisses '08 'Drill, baby, drill' mantra – again

WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Barack Obama talked energy policy today on the campus of DC’s Georgetown University, repeating his view that “there are no quick fixes” when it comes to high fuel prices – taking direct aim at the Republican “drill, baby, drill” mantra from the 2008 campaign.

"Because it was the height of political season, you had all kinds of slogans, and gimmicks, and outraged politicians – they were waving their three point plans for $2 per gallon gas. You remember that – ‘Drill, baby, drill’ – and we were going through all that,” he said as many in the audience laughed.

“There was a lot of hue and cry, a lot of fulminating and hand wringing but nothing actually happened. Imagine that in Washington,” he added wryly.


Topics: Energy • President Obama • The Buzz • The News
March 30th, 2011
12:21 PM ET

Jim and Sarah Brady to visit White House

WASHINGTON (CNN) – 30 years ago today, John Hinckley shot President Ronald Reagan outside the Hilton hotel in Washington, DC.

A bullet also struck then White House press secretary Jim Brady in the head.

Since then, Brady along with his wife, Sarah, have been tireless advocates for gun control.

To mark today's anniversary, the couple is coming to the nation's capital to meet with members of congress as well as press secretary Jay Carney.

The meeting is expected to take place this afternoon in the White House James S. Brady Press Briefing Room.

According to a press release, "It is part of a tradition the Bradys have observed with other White House press secretaries over the years. They are hopeful that President Obama will find some time to visit while they are there."

Topics: Uncategorized
Obama's cursed energy hand
File photo from Getty Images
March 30th, 2011
11:14 AM ET

Obama's cursed energy hand

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - President Obama has had some pretty lousy luck with his energy plans.

Last March he proposed opening up new areas of the country for offshore oil drilling. A month later BP's rig blew up in the Gulf of Mexico.

This year he asked for $36 billion to help build new nuclear plants. Within weeks at least three reactors at a Japanese nuclear plant were on the verge of a meltdown.

His capstone plan to regulate greenhouse gas emissions failed in the Senate. Governors are giving back his high speed rail money. His energy czar is gone.

"He picked the three losers right from the start," said Kevin Book, a managing director at the research firm ClearView Energy Partners, referring to the greenhouse gas law, oil drilling and nuclear power. "His timing couldn't be worse."

To be fair, a lot of this isn't Obama's fault. But just what has the president accomplished on the energy front, and where can he go from here?

Read full post HERE

Topics: Energy • President Obama • The News
POTUS schedule March 30, 2011
Good morning from CNN's booth in the basement of the briefing room at the White House.
March 30th, 2011
07:38 AM ET

POTUS schedule March 30, 2011

The White House is hoping to turn the focus Wednesday from Libya to energy.  The president delivers a speech on energy security at Georgetown University calling for the U.S. to reduce imported oil over the next decade by one third, announcing “incentives” for oil companies to use the drilling leases they already hold and continue to pursue nuclear energy as part of clean energy.  At a background briefing senior White House officials said expect a “concerted focus” on energy over the next period.

Schedule after the jump provided by the White House: FULL POST

Topics: Daily Schedule