March 31st, 2011
05:58 PM ET

Obama names new envoy to Sudan

WASHINGTON (CNN) – With his foreign policy team focused on an unfolding humanitarian crisis in Libya, and revolution and instability continuing to grip other portions of the Middle East and North Africa, President Obama has nominated Ambassador Princeton Lyman as his special envoy to another troubled part of the world, Sudan.

“With a lifetime of experience working on some of Africa’s most pressing challenges, Ambassador Lyman is uniquely qualified to sustain our efforts in support of a peaceful and prosperous future for the Sudanese people,” Obama said in a written statement Thursday announcing the appointment.

Topics: President Obama • The News
March 31st, 2011
05:55 PM ET

Profitable bank bailout program “unfortunate”

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The controversial bank bailout program may have saved some financial institutions from crumbling, but a Treasury official said the rescue plan was actually “unfortunate.”

Speaking to a small group of reporters, Timothy Massad, Treasury Acting Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability said “it’s never fair to have to use taxpayer dollars to rescue any institution.”

“It’s terrible that we had to do this.”

Massad stressed the massive taxpayer investment was necessary in order to prevent another great depression, but hoped it would not be an option in the future.

“We have now reformed our regulatory system,” he said. “That gives us the tools to avoid having to do this again.”

On Wednesday, the Treasury Department revealed that its bank bailout, part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) is becoming profitable.


Topics: TARP • The News • White House
March 31st, 2011
04:19 PM ET

Transparency advocate calls White House decision 'boneheaded’

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A group of transparency advocates recognized President Obama on Monday for his commitment to a more open and transparent government.

No doubt some much needed good news for the White House, which has been mired in budget negotiations on the Hill and defining the conflict in Libya.

But, if a tree falls in a forest and no one's there to hear it….does it make a sound?

The White House not only closed the meeting to the press (despite requests from the advocates to invite reporters), but it also failed to even put it on the president’s public schedule.

A move one of the transparency advocates who participated in the 20-minute long Oval Office meeting called “boneheaded.”


Topics: President Obama • The Buzz • The News
No Opening Day for the White House
Obama signs a baseball at last year's opening day
March 31st, 2011
12:56 PM ET

No Opening Day for the White House

WASHINGTON (CNN) – It may be Opening Day of baseball season, but the White House is conspicuously not taking part.  No ceremonial first pitch from the President this year.

Neither President Barack Obama nor Vice President Joe Biden have the nation’s pastime on their schedules today, marking the first time in the administration that Opening Day ceremonies won’t have White House participation.

Last year, President Obama threw out the first pitch when the Washington Nationals took on the Philadelphia Phillies, marking the beginning of the 2010 baseball season. Although a White Sox fan, the president wore a Nationals jacket while doing the honors. The pitch was, in his words “a little high and outside.”

In 2009, President Obama missed Opening Day when he made a surprise stop in Baghdad on his way home from an international trip that included England, France, Czech Republic and Turkey. Instead, Vice President Biden was the guest of honor at Camden Yards in the season-opener between the Orioles and the New York Yankees.

Presidents have been throwing out the first pitch for more than one hundred years. William Howard Taft started the tradition of the first pitch for Opening Day in 1910 when he pitched from the mound at a Washington Senators game. Every president except for Jimmy Carter has taken part in the tradition ever since.

Topics: President Obama • The Buzz • White House
Picture of the week
March 31st, 2011
12:38 PM ET

Picture of the week

A visitor checks out the wax sculpture of President Barack Obama at the new Madame Tussauds wax museum in Vienna. The new museum opens its doors to the public on April 1, becoming the world's 11th Madame Tussauds.

Other locations include London, Hollywood, New York, Las Vegas, Washington DC, Amsterdam, Berlin, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Bangkok.

Topics: The Visuals • Uncategorized
March 31st, 2011
08:49 AM ET

Obama accepts transparency award – press not invited

Remember that transparency award President Obama was supposed to receive March 16th? Yes, the one that praised his commitment to an "open and transparent government."

The event was initially billed by the White House as open to a limited press pool, but was postponed "due to changes to the President's schedule.”

Well, turns out the award was presented to the president on Monday – and, ironically, the press wasn't invited (only a White House videographer and photographer were present). The event didn't even make it on the president's public schedule.

Fortunately, three of the transparency advocates who presented Obama with the award have posted their accounts of the Oval Office meeting online.

The verdict? You be the judge.


Topics: President Obama • The Buzz • transparency • White House
White House Schedule for Thursday, March 31, 2011
March 31st, 2011
08:15 AM ET

White House Schedule for Thursday, March 31, 2011

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama has a quiet day on tap, at least as far as his public schedule indicates. The only events we know about are his usual Presidential Daily Briefing, meeting with his senior advisors and then this afternoon a meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Clearly the situation in Libya will be discussed throughout the day but at this point, we won't see him on camera. We'll update you if there are any changes. FULL POST

Topics: Daily Schedule • White House