January 12th, 2012
04:35 PM ET

Obama calls Crimison Tide's Saban

President Obama called Alabama football coach Nick Saban earlier today to congratulate him on the BCS Championship win Monday night. Readout from the White House:

Earlier today, President Obama called Coach Nick Saban to congratulate him and the University of Alabama on their BCS Championship and their exceptional 2011-2012 season.  The President said that he watched the entire championship game and could not have been more impressed with the Crimson Tide’s performance.   The President commended the coach on his outstanding record and said that he looks forward to congratulating the team in person at the White House.

Topics: Uncategorized
Obama formally seeks debt ceiling increase
January 12th, 2012
03:32 PM ET

Obama formally seeks debt ceiling increase

President Obama formally asked Congress Thursday to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, stating the country’s debts have fallen within $100 billion of the current debt limit and an increase is needed to meet “existing commitments.”

The request came Thursday in a letter from the president to House Speaker John Boehner.

The latest request is the third asking to raise the debt limit since the contentious debt ceiling agreement last August. That agreement called for the ceiling to be increased in three stages, giving Congress the opportunity to express disapproval at each stage.

That deal, signed into law in August, authorized a phased increase of the debt ceiling by up to $2.4 trillion, with $400 billion of that kicking in immediately and another $500 billion coming in September. This latest request – for an additional $1.2 trillion – is the final stage of the agreement.

Congress has 15 days to pass a joint resolution denying the request for the increase, which President Obama can then veto.

In September, the Republican-controlled House passed a resolution against Obama's request to increase the debt limit, but the Senate did not.

In response to today’s request, Speaker Boehner’s spokesman Brendan Buck said, “Washington’s mounting debt is hurting our economic recovery, and this request is another reminder that the President has consistently punted on the tough choices needed to rein in the deficit and protect important programs for American seniors from going bankrupt.”

The new debt ceiling is expected to meet current financial commitments through the end of next year, according to the Treasury Department official.

Briefing Bites: Why no cameras at Obama HQ?
January 12th, 2012
03:14 PM ET

Briefing Bites: Why no cameras at Obama HQ?

Why weren’t press cameras allowed to capture President Obama’s first visit to his campaign headquarters Wednesday?

The mystery continues.

The previously unscheduled stop was announced to members of the press corps on Air Force One as the president traveled to Chicago for a series of fundraisers. During the announcement, Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the press would not be allowed to cover the event, but did not give a specific reason why.

On Thursday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney suggested the reason reporters were kept at bay was because the stop was “on the fly and brief.”

But the White House press staff often ushers in the traveling press to similarly brief and so-called “off the record” stops when they want cameras to capture the president shaking hands and rubbing elbows at small businesses and restaurants.

“We're not hiding the fact that he is engaged in some campaign activities,” Carney said. “I try and tell you - give you the facts, which is the fact is the president's reelection campaign isn't across the river in Roslyn, isn't in Washington, it's in Chicago, halfway across the country.”

Carney added the quick visit to the headquarters “underscores the point I've been trying to make from here in answer to questions about the president's reelection campaign, which is that he is here in Washington focused on doing his job as president.”

Topics: Jay Carney
Michelle Obama joins the Twitterverse
January 12th, 2012
11:31 AM ET

Michelle Obama joins the Twitterverse

First Lady Michelle Obama has officially joined the millions of people around the world who tweet.

Her handle, @MichelleObama, will be managed day-to-day by the Obama 2012 campaign and like her husband's account most of her tweets will be generated by the campaign staff. The tweets she personally sends will be signed with a "-mo" at the end.

Her inaugural tweet: "We're excited today to launch @michelleobama as a new way for you to connect with First Lady Michelle Obama and the President's campaign."

So far the first lady hasn't officially shared any personal updates but within hours of its creation, the @MichelleObama handle had close to 65,000 followers. Since its creation, President Obama's account has sent out more than 2,500 tweets to its 11 million followers though only a handful of them have been from the president himself.

Topics: Michelle Obama • The Buzz • Twitter
Morning Briefing for Thursday, January 12, 2012
January 12th, 2012
08:30 AM ET

Morning Briefing for Thursday, January 12, 2012

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

Romney's playing to win the GOP, but the general election is another game [Washington Post]

Obama announces big fundraising haul [CNN.com]

NATO and Afghan Governments Condemn Video of Urination on Corpses [New York Times]

Obama unveils outsourcing attack against Romney [Los Angeles Times]

Obama: 'Everything that we fought for is at stake in this election" [Chicago Sun-Times]

Mitt Romney pressured single mother to give up baby for adoption while he was a Mormon bishop, new book claims [Huffington Post]

POTUS's schedule for Thursday, January 12, 2012
January 12th, 2012
08:00 AM ET

POTUS's schedule for Thursday, January 12, 2012

You'll notice by the White House schedule that President Obama has a light day ahead. After getting home from fundraising in Chicago early this morning (1:40a), we assume he'll have meetings in the Oval Office but at this point we won't see him on camera at all today. As of right now, all the action at the White House day will have to center around the briefing which happens at 1:30p.

Guidance from the White House:
10:00AM        Pool Call Time

Briefing Schedule
1:30PM           Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney   


Topics: Daily Schedule • The Vault • White House