February 17th, 2012
06:06 PM ET
Obama pledges export support for US businesses
Everett, WA (CNN) -– On the last day of a three-day fundraising swing, President Obama stopped by Boeing’s Dreamliner assembly facility in Everett, Washington, to tout his administration’s record on expanding U.S. manufacturing.
Speaking in the largest working building in the world, Obama first commended Congress for coming to an agreement on an extension to the payroll tax cut, announcing he intends to sign the bill as soon as he gets back to Washington D.C.
“Congress did the right thing, and voted to make sure that taxes would not go up on middle-class families at the end of this month,” the president said. “Congress also agreed to extend unemployment insurance for millions of Americans, maybe some of your family members who are still out there looking for a job, and I'm going to sign this bill right away when I get back home.”
Congratulating those gathered in the hanger and those watching his remarks from home, Obama pointed to public pressure as the deciding factor in forcing Congress to pass the extension.
“It is amazing what happens when Congress focuses on doing the right thing, instead of just playing politics,” Obama said.
February 17th, 2012
05:53 PM ET
President Obama’s West Coast gold rush raises questions about big money
Everett, Washington (CNN) - In sports terms, President Obama’s West Coast fund raising blitz was mostly for the skybox and courtside crowd. Events in San Francisco were held at lavish estates with majestic views.
The invite lists were as impressive. Celebrities like George Clooney, Jack Black and Jim Belushi rubbed shoulders with the president.
The tickets to get into these “red carpet” events don’t come cheaply. Some are as high as $35,800 which is more than most Americans make in one year.
It’s how the president fills his re-election coffers and flying west has been lucrative.
Organizing for America California state director Mary Jane Stevenson was more blunt.
"There are people who say California is in the bag, and we are just an ATM. You know what, they are kind of right, " Stevenson said. “California is in the bag for the president and we are a bit of an ATM."
Three days of fundraisers in California and Washington State will raise an estimated $8.5 million dollars for the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
This comes on the heels of a big money raising month. Team Obama announced Friday that in January they raised a combined total of $29.1 million dollars.
But Republicans were criticizing not celebrating . “Averaging a fundraiser every two days it’s clear President Obama’s priority is saving his own job instead of working to create jobs for struggling Americans,” said Republican National Committee spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski.
February 17th, 2012
04:16 PM ET
White House predicts 2 million more jobs in 2012
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - The United States economy is on the road to recovery, the White House said Friday, with stronger job growth expected this year.
But income inequality, Europe's debt crisis, and continued weakness in the housing market could still pose challenges, according to a report released by President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers.
"While actions taken to prevent a deeper recession and to strengthen the recovery have made a difference, the nation is still recovering from that profound crisis and the problems that led to it," the Economic Report of the President said.
The document, which totals 454 pages, is the administration's blueprint for the economy, which outlines a plan to "recover, rebalance and rebuild." Much like Obama's recent State of the Union address, it focuses heavily on income inequality, and building an America where "everyone gets a fair shot."
Read the entire story at CNNMoney.com
February 17th, 2012
10:21 AM ET
Contraceptive controversy gets ugly
WHITE HOUSE (CNN) - Welcome to the culture wars 2.0, where the front lines now are religious freedom and contraceptives. Abortion? Gay marriage? Those are so last year.
The White House seems to have assuaged the concerns of liberal and moderate religious voices, particularly Catholics, who complained that the U.S. Health and Human Services mandate on contraceptive coverage violated religious freedom of conscience. The policy now includes a wide exemption for religious groups; requires insurance companies, instead of religious employers, to foot the bill; and still includes a year to hammer out the details.
But now, the issue is firmly entrenched in a political battle on Capitol Hill. Republicans are seizing on the issue as an opportunity to push back on the Affordable Care Act, which they gleefully call "Obamacare." Democrats, meanwhile, are punching back, saying that rolling back the mandate is a slap in the face to women and that this is exclusively a women's health issue.
Political shots were fired from both sides at a Thursday hearing convened by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
The hearing, titled "Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State. Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?" featured conservative religious voices from across the spectrum, most of whom were male.
"Today's hearing is a solemn one. It involves freedom of conscience," Issa said at the beginning of the hearing.
For the full story, click here.
CNN Producer Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.
The 1600 Report's daily roundup of what the White House is reading this morning online and in the papers:
Obama's support for export industry leads to clash of U.S. interests [Washington Post]
Obama Chides Republicans as He Fills Coffers on the West Coast [Bloomberg Businessweek]
Obama raised $29.1 million in January for his campaign and for the DNC [NYTimes blog]
Obama Campaign Weighs Attack on Santorum [Wall Street Journal]
Obama at Halftime: How he fumbled, why he's recovering [Rolling Stone]
POTUS's schedule for Friday, February 17, 2012
After a day of fundraising in California and a stop by the Great Eastern Restaurant in Chinatown of San Francisco for some dim sum, President Obama heads to Everett, Washington to visit the Boeing Everett Production Facility. He'll tour the facility and then make remarks to promote manufacturing and the importance of American exports. He'll announce the administration's next steps to provide financing for manufacturing in order to keep American companies competitive on the world stage. Some of those steps include giving small business an additional tax credit for exports and introducing legislation to assist businesses in exporting. This is one of the latest executive actions put forth by the administration as part of their overall jobs plan.
After the official event of the day, President Obama will then hold two fundraisers in the Seattle area- one of which will be on camera. He'll return to DC after midnight. Click below to see the entire schedule as released by the White House. FULL POST