White House offers an olive branch to Catholic voters?
February 7th, 2012
06:53 PM ET

White House offers an olive branch to Catholic voters?


WHITE HOUSE (CNN) – The White House appears to be softening its stance on the controversial rule forcing some religious organizations to provide birth control as part of their health insurance plans.

“The president's interest at a policy level is in making sure that this coverage is extended to all women because it's important,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.  “(On) the other side is finding the right balance…concerns about religious beliefs and convictions. So we will, in this transition period …seek to find ways to implement that policy that allay some of those concerns.”

More than two weeks ago, the Department of Health and Human Service issued a mandate instructing all employers that provide health insurance to their employees include the option for paid birth control, the morning after pill and intrauterine devices. The rule, scheduled to go into effect next summer, excluded churches from participation.  The mandate did not exclude religiously affiliated employers like universities and hospitals creating a firestorm.

Tuesday’s softened rhetoric makes it appear the administration is willing to work with religious employers on a finding a compromise before the rule goes into effect.  But the White House still insists that women employed by these religiously affiliated employers must have access to insurance coverage that pays for contraceptives.

Some leaders in the Catholic Church say that compromise is not enough. FULL POST

Topics: Catholic vote • Health care • White House
February 7th, 2012
04:08 PM ET

Marshmallow bullets fly at WH Science Fair

President Obama took a shot from the White House today – but it wasn't aimed at Republicans.  Instead he helped 14 year old Joey Hudy from Phoenix, Arizona shoot marshmallows across the State Dining Room.   "The Secret Service isn’t happy about this,” said the President.

The Extreme Marshmallow Cannon was just one of the winning science fair exhibits set up in the East Room of the White House honoring the winners of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions from across the country. (For a sampling of the exhibits that the President saw, as well as more information on all the students, competitions and organizations honored, click here.)

President Obama met with members of the 30 student teams that participated in numerous science and math competitions nationwide. Among the winning projects exhibited was a portable disaster relief shelter, a helmet designed to better protect U.S. troops and a patent-pending prosthetic hand.

The President used the science fair as an opportunity to announce new monetary commitments to help better prepare STEM students and teachers.

Topics: President Obama • STEM • The News
I'll have what she's wearing!
February 7th, 2012
12:06 PM ET

I'll have what she's wearing!

The old adage … a picture is worth a thousand words. But it looks like the women’s retailer Ann Taylor hopes that picture translates into tens of thousands of dollars. In a recent email to its customers, Ann Taylor is highlighting First Lady Michelle Obama wearing a coat from its Spring 2012 Collection at a Let’s Move event last week. The coat, which retails for $248, appears in the ad under the banner: “A Fashion First.”

But Ann Taylor isn’t the first retailer to catch the attention of the fashionable first lady. J. Crew has been a bit of a staple for Mrs. Obama. She has worn its clothes on the cover of Vogue and as guest on the Tonight Show. But the first lady really upped the ante when she wore one of J.Crew’s cardigan and skirts in London while visiting the home of the British prime minister.

A long time supporter of American designers and not one to pick favorites, the First Lady has spread her support among a myriad of U.S. retailers. She donned an outfit from retailer Talbots on the cover of Essence magazine and a dress from White House Black Market when she appeared as a guest on ABC’s The View. A Time magazine article in 2009 even asked “Can Michelle Obama save fashion retailing?”

Retailers aren’t the only ones who have benefited from the First Lady’s attention to fashion. Indeed designing for the first lady can catapult a designer into the runway spotlight. Take, for example, Jason Wu who gained national attention when his design was chosen for Michelle Obama’s inaugural gown. Just this week, the designer launched his own ready-to-wear collection for Target, reportedly causing a mad rush for items in stores and nearly selling out on line.

Topics: Michelle Obama • The Buzz • The Visuals
Morning Briefing February 7
February 7th, 2012
09:23 AM ET

Morning Briefing February 7

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

Europe's banks reluctant to lend (NYT)

Obama encouraging donors to give to super-PAC supporting him (BLOOMBERG)

Congressional earmarks going to projects near lawmakers' properties (WashPost)

DEA moves against two Florida pharmacies (CNN)

Foreclosure deal has 40 states, but other balk (CNNMoney)

Science winners at The White House today
February 7th, 2012
08:26 AM ET

Science winners at The White House today

9:00AM          Pool Call Time

10:00AM        THE PRESIDENT and the VICE PRESIDENT receive the Presidential Daily Briefing

Oval Office / Closed Press

10:35AM        THE PRESIDENT views science fair projects

                        State Dining Room / Pooled Press

11:25AM        THE PRESIDENT delivers remarks at the White House Science Fair

                        East Room / Open Press

12:45PM        THE PRESIDENT and THE VICE PRESIDENT meet for lunch

                        Private Dining Room / Closed Press  

4:30PM          THE PRESIDENT and the VICE PRESIDENT meet with Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta

                        Oval Office/ Closed Press

Briefing Schedule

12:30 PM    Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney


Topics: Daily Schedule