Obama gets clean bill of health
October 31st, 2011
05:31 PM ET

Obama gets clean bill of health

President Obama is “fit for duty,” his doctor concludes in a medical report released Monday by the White House.

According to the report by Dr. Jeffrey C. Kuhlman, the president was found to have normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels. He also tested negative in colorectal and prostate screening exams while his vision is 20/20.

“The President is in excellent health and ‘fit for duty’. All clinical data indicate he will remain so for the duration of his Presidency. The President is current on all age-appropriate screening tests. He is ‘fit at fifty’ and ‘staying healthy at 5+’,” wrote Dr. Kuhlman, who is also a Navy captain.

Obama’s vital statistics:

Age: 50 years, 2+ months
Height: 73 inches
Weight: 181.3 pounds
Body Mass Index: 23.9 kg/m2
Heart rate: 67 bpm
Blood pressure: 107/71 mm Hg
Pulse-oximetry: 100%
Temperature: 97.7 degrees F

Dr. Kuhlman recommends the president undergo another physical in December of 2012.

Topics: President Obama
Ashley Biden engaged to be married
Ashley Biden, only daughter of Vice President Joe Biden, and her fiancée Dr. Howard Krein.
October 31st, 2011
05:05 PM ET

Ashley Biden engaged to be married

While speaking in Wilmington, Delaware last week Vice President Joe Biden referred to his “future son in law” several times, but no one knew yet if his only daughter Ashley was actually engaged. Well, now it’s official.

"Ashley recently got engaged and the Vice President, Dr. Biden and their entire family are thrilled," said Jill Biden’s communications director, Courtney Diesel O’Donnell.

Ashley has been dating Dr. Howard Krein for a little over a year and the couple officially got engaged in September. Ashley is a social worker and Krein is a physician specializing in Otalaryngology and Facial and Reconstructive Surgery.



Second clean energy loan company files for bankruptcy
October 31st, 2011
04:13 PM ET

Second clean energy loan company files for bankruptcy

A second clean energy company that received a loan guarantee from the Department of Energy has filed for bankruptcy. According to their website, Beacon Power received $43 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy. The company was working on a new technology that would allow the nation’s electricity grid to store energy by constructing what, on the company’s website, they call “a state of the art energy storage facility in Stephentown, New York”.

The company also received $26 million in stimulus grants from the Department of Energy.

A White House official says Beacon’s finances protections will be part of the outside review of all the administration's clean energy loan guarantees, which was ordered by White House Chief of Staff on Friday.

Topics: Energy • The News • White House
Heating up between Obama, Romney camps
October 31st, 2011
12:21 PM ET

Heating up between Obama, Romney camps

A day after senior Obama adviser David Plouffe denounced Mitt Romney as a man with “no core,” two other Obama aides added their own stinging criticisms against the Republican presidential hopeful - the latest sign the president’s advisors have zeroed in on Romney as the likely GOP nominee.

As anyone who's watched [Mitt Romney], it’s always a question as to where he was and where he is and where he might be on any given issue,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters in an off camera briefing Monday morning. Carney has previously held back direct attacks against Republican presidential contenders.

Carney’s comments came a day after Plouffe, Obama's campaign manager in 2008 and now a senior adviser in the White House, told NBC's "Meet the Press" that Romney's national poll numbers, which are consistently in the low 20% range, showed that most Republican voters were looking elsewhere for a candidate.

“You get the sense with Mitt Romney that, you know, if he thought it was good to say the sky was green and the grass was blue to win an election, he'd say it," Plouffe said.

Romney's campaign said Plouffe's comments were an attempt to distract from what it called "the historic loss of middle-class jobs that has occurred" during Obama's presidency. But Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt called that a “false attack.”

“While the President is fighting for an economy that’s built to last where we outeducate and outinnovate the rest of the world, Mitt Romney has been busy telling Americans what he believes our nation can’t do,” LaBolt said.

With the general election now a year away, the early back-in-forth just might be a first glimpse of the sharp elbows from both sides in the months to come.

UPDATE: The gloves are still off - Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for Romney's campaign, issued a statement Monday afternoon saying the president's advisors are going to run "a campaign of personal destruction to ‘kill’ Mitt Romney because they are intimidated by his candidacy."

"President Obama knows he can’t run on the failed policies that have brought higher taxes, exploding deficits, and record unemployment, so his allies have no choice but to launch false and personal attacks. Americans know that Mitt Romney is a fiscally responsible businessman who will put in place pro-growth policies that will create jobs and undo the damage caused by the failed Obama presidency," Saul also said in the statement.

- CNN's Jessica Yellin, Alex Mooney, and Tom Cohen contributed to this report

Topics: President Obama
POTUS's Halloween Schedule for October 31, 2011
October 31st, 2011
08:12 AM ET

POTUS's Halloween Schedule for October 31, 2011

Over the weekend, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama and First Mother-in-Law Marian Robinson braved the rain to hand out candy and dried fruit to local school children. But today, he'll keep his attention on official business at the White House with a meeting with former  British Prime Minister Tony Blair and other regular briefings. This afternoon, he focuses on his "We Can't Wait" campaign by signing another executive order in the Oval Office.

For full details on the president's schedule, click below. FULL POST

Topics: Daily Schedule • Halloween • The Vault
Kids brave soggy weather for White House tricks and treats
President Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and her mother, Marian Robinson, handed out treats to Washington-area kids Saturday (AFP/Getty Photo)
October 29th, 2011
07:31 PM ET

Kids brave soggy weather for White House tricks and treats

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Some children in Washington braved cold and soggy weather Saturday for an early Halloween treat - a brief visit to the White House.

President Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and the first lady's mother, Marian Robinson, emerged from the North Portico of the White House Saturday afternoon to hand out goodie bags to the children.

"Let's give out some candy," President Obama said as he walked outside. "I know it's cold here, you guys doing alright? It's not ideal out here."

Viva Las Vegas!
October 28th, 2011
04:45 PM ET

White House Week in Review

President Obama spent much of the week out west, touting parts of his jobs plan and raising cash for re-election. Check out this week's Week in Review for this week's top moments.

Topics: The Visuals • week in review
Briefing Bites: Daley's 'candid and clear' language
October 28th, 2011
01:45 PM ET

Briefing Bites: Daley's 'candid and clear' language

From Bill Daley to congressional Republicans, here's the best sound from Carney's end of the week briefing:

On Chief of Staff Bill Daley, during an interview with POLTICO, calling conditions during the first three years of the Obama presidency “ungodly”:

Bill, as all of you who know him, can be very candid and clear in his language. There is no question that when this president took office in January 2009 we were in an ungodly, bad situation economically. The economy was in free fall.

On Bill Dailey’s apparent suggestion that Democrats have also made things difficult for the president:

Bill was speaking, I think, broadly about presidents and Congress, but there's no question that Democrats haven't agreed, or some Democrats haven't agreed… on everything.

And Carney’s latest slap against congressional Republicans:

What's remarkable about the situation in the Republican obstructionism when it comes to the measures to create jobs and grow the economy is they're alone. Even within their own party. They're the outliers. The Republicans in Congress because Republicans out in the country support building roads, and bridges and schools. They support putting police officers and teachers back to work. They support tax cuts for everyone who receives a paycheck. They support tax incentives for businesses of all kinds to hire veterans. They support a tax cut, a payroll tax cut, for employers for small businesses to help them grow and expand and hire. And significantly, because this is the problem according to the Republicans, they support the pay for.

Topics: Briefing Bites
Presidential Op-ed
October 28th, 2011
10:42 AM ET

Presidential Op-ed

President Obama pens an op-ed in today's Financial Times laying out his goals for the G20 meeting taking place next week in France. It all seems to boil down to these four things:

– First, as the world’s largest economy, the US will continue to lead. The single most effective thing we can do to get the global economy growing faster is to get the US economy growing faster. That’s why my highest priority is putting Americans back to work. …

– Second, the crisis in Europe must be resolved as quickly as possible. …

– Third, each nation must do its part to ensure that global growth is balanced and sustainable so we avoid slipping into old imbalances. For some countries, this means confronting their own fiscal challenges. For countries with large surpluses, it means taking additional steps to support growth. …

– Finally, the G20 nations must deepen co-operation on the range of global challenges that affect our shared prosperity. We need to move ahead with our commitment to phase out subsidies for fossil fuels and transition to 21st-century clean-energy economies. As we promote the development that gives nations a path out of poverty, we can focus on the infrastructure, finance and good governance that unleash growth. Even as we work to save lives from the drought and famine in the Horn of Africa, we need to continue investing in the food security and agricultural productivity that make future famines less likely and communities more self-sufficient.

You can read the whole op-ed here, but a warning if you're not a FT registered user, you'll have to go through the free registration process first.

Topics: Op-ed • President Obama
Morning Briefing: Obama campaign using lobbyists as bundlers?
October 28th, 2011
09:15 AM ET

Morning Briefing: Obama campaign using lobbyists as bundlers?

One article we know the Obama campaign is reading today comes from the New York Times on the close connections many of the president’s big-dollar fundraisers have with the lobbying industry. This seems to be the crux of the article:

At least 15 of Mr. Obama’s “bundlers” — supporters who contribute their own money to his campaign and solicit it from others — are involved in lobbying for Washington consulting shops or private companies. They have raised more than $5 million so far for the campaign.

Because the bundlers are not registered as lobbyists with the Senate, the Obama campaign has managed to avoid running afoul of its self-imposed ban on taking money from lobbyists.

Ben LaBolt, spokesman for the president’s reelection campaign, posted a blog post early this morning, saying that the New York Times story “misses the forest for the trees,” in its reporting, “obscuring the President's long history of advancing ethics and government reform and brushing right past his opponents' records with nothing but a shrug.” Here’s some more from his response:

From the first day he announced he was running for President, Barack Obama hasn't accepted a dime from federal lobbyists or political action committees (PACs). He led the way in disclosing major volunteer fundraisers for his campaign, disclosing both the names of the individuals who raise money for the campaign as well as the levels of contributions that they raise

The New York Times makes a nod in LaBolt’s direction in this paragraph by acknowledging the Obama campaign’s efforts to keep lobbyists away:

As a matter of policy, Mr. Obama’s re-election campaign goes beyond what campaign law requires by refusing contributions from any “individual registered as a federal lobbyist.” Registered lobbyists are not even allowed inside his fund-raising events, and the campaign routinely returns checks from those trying to contribute.

Here are some other articles the White House may be reading today:

Election worries give momentum to deficit talks [Reuters]

US Stock Futures Pull Back Ahead Of Spending, Sentiment Data [Dow Jones Newswire]

Consumer spending up in September on savings [Reuters]

JPMorgan won't charge debit card fee as big banks back away from idea [Wall Street Journal]

Rise in Medicare premiums less than feared in 2012 [BusinessWeek]

Justice Dept. memo writer is mum on pot crackdown [BusinessWeek]