First Lady donates to Toys for Tots
December 16th, 2011
04:57 PM ET

First Lady donates to Toys for Tots

Washington (CNN) - First Lady Michelle Obama delivered 805 toys donated by the White House Executive Office staff to the Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots Campaign during a visit to the Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling on Friday.  The donations are part of a national campaign to collect over 17 million toys for children in need across the country. 

Mrs. Obama, speaking in a warehouse where gifts were being collected and sorted, thanked members of the military and volunteers for their efforts.

“It is so impressive that given all military families have to do anyway, that on top of what they do, they're doing this as well,” said the First Lady. “It’s a very powerful example of just how valuable and just how constant our military families - how selfless they are.” 

The First Lady told the group that her teenage daughter Malia asked about the origin of the Toys for Toys program.  Mrs. Obama told her the story of the Marine Corps wife who was looking to donate a toy but couldn’t find a place to contribute.  Her search led to the creation of a national organization in 1947 that has collected and distributed toys each holiday season.

Mrs. Obama encouraged Americans to continue donating up until the Christmas Eve deadline.  After her remarks the First Lady helped sort gifts which will be distributed from a local hospital to targeted areas around the District of Columbia.

Topics: Michelle Obama • Military • The Buzz
Fort Bragg, NC
December 16th, 2011
03:42 PM ET

Fort Bragg slide show

The President and First Lady addressed over 3000 service men and women in a Fort Bragg airplane hanger Wednesday, a day before the hand over of power in Iraq. There was a sense of excitement and anticipation in the air from completing their mission and at the prospect of being home for the holidays. Among the troops there was also an overwhelming feeling of unity and pride with the occasional HOO AH!!! throughout the President's speech.

Topics: The Visuals
First on CNN: First lady accepts date to the Marine Corps Ball
December 16th, 2011
02:03 PM ET

First on CNN: First lady accepts date to the Marine Corps Ball

Washington (CNN) - 20 year old Marine Lance Corporal Aaron Leeks from Frederick, Maryland has asked First Lady Michelle Obama to accompany him to the Marine Corps Ball next November. "With your husband's permission of course," said Leeks.

The first lady responded, "I'd love to" and brought an aide over to get his information. The first lady met Leeks at a Toys-for-Tots event at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling located in southeast Washington, DC.

Leeks leaves for Afghanistan next month where he will prepare the bodies of slain troops for return to Dover Air Force Base.

When asked by the media if the President was aware of the invitation, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, "If the President is watching, this it might be the first he has heard of it…I don’t know, but I think the First Lady’s commitment to military families is very strong indeed so I am sure she was flattered by the invitation.”


Topics: Michelle Obama • The Buzz
Morning Briefing
December 16th, 2011
07:50 AM ET

Morning Briefing

The 1600 Report's daily roundup of what the White House is reading this morning online and in the papers:

Closing arguments made in final 2011 debate [CNN]

Romney’s got a new tag line for Obama foreign policy: ‘Pretty Please’ [WashPost]

FBI once considered sting against Gingrich [Washpost]

Agreement on shutdown.  How about payroll? [CNN

More bad poll numbers for Congress [WashPost]

POTUS' Day Ahead: All eyes on Capitol Hill
December 16th, 2011
07:34 AM ET

POTUS' Day Ahead: All eyes on Capitol Hill

Good morning from the White House. The president winds down the week with a relatively slow day Friday save for speech in Washington this afternoon at the 71st General Assembly of the Union for Reform Judaism. Of course, the president will be closely watching developments on the Hill, where lawmakers are expected to avoid a government shutdown and at least come to an agreement on a short-term extension to the payroll tax cut.

Meanwhile, the First Lady and daughters Sasha and Malia are expected to depart to Hawaii Friday, where the first family will celebrate the holidays. It remains unclear when the president will head out there.

Full schedule after the jump:

Topics: Daily Schedule