June 24th, 2011
05:53 PM ET

Michelle Obama on her husband's election, the upcoming campaign and her daughters' privacy

CNN's Robyn Curnow caught up with first lady Michelle Obama in Botswana for an interview during which she discussed some of the high points of her African trip:

On Mandela: "The one thing I told him, I wanted to make sure he understood how important his leadership and sacrifice has been to who I've become, to who my husband has become and, in short, I just said, 'Thank you.' It's really hard to know what to say to such an icon."

On the U.S. elections: "We really don't talk about the election. We're really doing the work, and that's an important and useful distraction in the midst of it. There's a lot on the president of theUnited States' plate that keeps him focused on what needs to be done, so you just keep doing what you believe is right. I always say this: One of the reasons why I support this president and not just as my husband, but as a citizen, is because I see him taking that long view. I see him every day waking up worrying, not about polls, but worrying about what is the right thing to do for the future. That keeps you pretty focused on what's important."

On husband's campaign: "When it comes to the campaign we're ready to work hard. We did it before and we'll do it again, so we're rolling up our sleeves and getting on with it."

On daughters: "Fortunately, we have help from the media. I have to say this: I am very grateful for the support and kindness that we've gotten. People have respected their privacy, and in that way, no matter what people may feel about my husband's policies or what-have-you, they care about children, and that's been good to see."

Topics: 2010 Elections • Africa • Malia Obama • Michelle Obama • President Obama • Sasha Obama • The Buzz • The Family • The News
Michelle Obama in Botswana
First lady Michelle Obama and her family are welcomed by traditional dancers in Gaborone, Botswana Friday. Pictured from left to right: mother Marian Robinson; Assistant Minister of Finance and Development Planning Gloria Somolekae; Michelle Obama, nephew Avery Robinson, daughter Sasha Obama; niece Leslie Robinson; daughter Malia Obama.
June 24th, 2011
05:22 PM ET
House rebuffs Obama over Libya
June 24th, 2011
02:21 PM ET

House rebuffs Obama over Libya

The House of Representatives Friday rejected a bill that would have sharply restricted funding for U.S. military actions in Libya.  Earlier today, the House voted against a resolution expressing support for the U.S.role in the NATO-led military campaign in Libya.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney spoke to reporters on Air Force One as the president traveled back to Washington, DC from Pittsburgh.  "We think now is not the time to send the kind of mixed message that it sends when we are working with our allies to achieve the goals that we believe that are widely shared in Congress," Carney said.  But he insisted the move would not halt the U.S.involvement in the NATO-led effort.  "This is one vote," he said.  "[T]he writing is on the wall for Colonel Qaddafi, and now is not the time to let up.

(read more here)

Topics: Congress • Libya • President Obama • The News
Obama criticized by key voting block for skipping Latino conference
June 24th, 2011
12:34 PM ET

Obama criticized by key voting block for skipping Latino conference

Washington (CNN)- It is one of the most influential voting blocks and key to the 2012 presidential election, but President Obama's popularity continues to decline among Hispanic and Latino voters and now the president is facing criticism for once again skipping a major Latino convention. 

The annual conference of NALEO, The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, is being held this weekend inSan Antonio,Texas.  For the third year in a row, the president declined to speak at the conference.  The White House says it's simply a scheduling issue and the president cannot make it to every conference he would like to attend. 

But Latino leaders, even members of the president's own party, are critical of the administration's lack of leadership in crafting a comprehensive immigration reform policy.  Rep. Luis Gutierrez, (D) IL Friday told CNN, "I supported this president and I want to see him re-elected."  FULL POST

Obama forecasts manufacturing comeback
President Obama speaking to workers at Carnegie Mellon University's National Robotics Engineering Center in Pittsburgh.
June 24th, 2011
11:54 AM ET

Obama forecasts manufacturing comeback

President Obama - whose poll numbers have dipped in recent weeks amid a stubbornly sluggish economic recovery - touted the hard-hit manufacturing sector Friday, saying the country’s best production days may well lie ahead.

“We are inventors, we are makers, and we are doers. If we want a robust growing economy, we need a robust manufacturing sector,” Obama told a crowd at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University, the school founded by steel industrialist Andrew Carnegie nearly 100 years ago.

The president’s speech followed a tour through the National Robotics Engineering Center at Carnegie Mellon, which the White House describes as a national effort to encourage investment from industry, universities, and the federal government in emerging manufacturing technologies.

“This partnership is about new cutting edge ideas to create new jobs, spark new breakthroughs, reinvigorate American manufacturing today, right now. Not some day off in the future,” Obama said.

Among the new technologies the president saw Friday was a robotic pipe inspection that independently navigates through waste-water pipes and new modeling and simulation software created by Proctor and Gamble that the company is releasing free of charge to small and mid-sized manufacturers.

That Obama is touting jobs in Pennsylvania is of course no accident. That perennial battleground state is again expected to play a key role in 2012 and the president’s approval rating stands at a wobbly 48 percent there.

Topics: President Obama • The News
June 24th, 2011
08:50 AM ET

Michelle Obama and Desmond Tutu –working it out

First lady Michelle Obama has arrived in Gaborone, Botswana. But before leaving Cape Town, South Africa Mrs. Obama delivered a message to some youth in the country stressing the importance of exercise and sports while also emphasizing education to prevent the spread of HIV/Aids.  Joined by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Desmond Tutu, Mrs. Obama got to work showing the kids her workout skills.

Topics: Michelle Obama • The Family • The News
The President's Schedule Friday June 24
June 24th, 2011
07:55 AM ET

The President's Schedule Friday June 24

10:45AM        THE PRESIDENT toursCarnegieMellonUniversity's National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC)/ Pooled Press

11:00AM       THE PRESIDENT delivers remarks on the need to focus on cross-cutting technologies that will enhance the   global competitiveness ofU.S.manufacturing and speed up ideas from the drawing board to the manufacturing floor CarnegieMellonUniversity'sNationalRoboticsEngineeringCenter/ Open Press

12:45PM         THE PRESIDENT departsPittsburgh,Pennsylvania/ PittsburghInternationalAirport/ Open Press

1:40PM           THE PRESIDENT arrives at Andrews Air Force Base/ Out-of-Town Travel Pool Coverage

1:55PM         THE PRESIDENT arrives at the White House/ South Lawn  Open Press

President Obama's "evolving" stance on legalizing same sex marriage?
President Obama speaks at the LGBT fundraiser Thursday in New York.
June 24th, 2011
07:47 AM ET

President Obama's "evolving" stance on legalizing same sex marriage?

The president received a standing ovation at a DNC fundraiser in New York sponsored by the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) Leadership Council Thursday night saying, "I believe that gay couples deserve the same rights as every other couple in this country."

But...he never actually said the word "marriage".  (read more here)

Topics: 2012 Election • President Obama • The News