Briefing Bites: Franklin Graham, Gas Prices and Syrian Militarization
February 21st, 2012
02:48 PM ET

Briefing Bites: Franklin Graham, Gas Prices and Syrian Militarization

At the beginning of Tuesday's briefing, Press Secretary Jay Carney announced that President Obama will address the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s policy conference on Sunday March 4th in Washington D.C. The next day, Obama is scheduled to hold a bilateral meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House.

For much of the rest of the briefing, Carney was asked to respond to comments made on television and on the campaign trail.

Early Tuesday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe", Rev. Franklin Graham questioned the president's commitment to Christianity, saying he "can't say categorically" that the president is not a Muslim.

"Under Islamic law, Sharia law, Islam sees him as a son of Islam," Graham said. "Because his father was a Muslim. Grandfather was a Muslim. That's just the way it works. That's the way they see it. He says he didn't grow up that way and he believes in Jesus Christ. So the Muslim world, Islam sees him as a son of Islam."

Graham also said "Islam has had a pass under Obama," and the president "seems more concerned about them than the Christians that are being murdered in the Muslim countries."

Carney was asked specifically about Graham's comments but passed on the opportunity to take the issue up directly:

I did meet with the president this morning for about 45 minutes and amazingly he didn’t bring this up because he was actually talking about policy issues that he believes are the most important things he can do and he can focus on as president. And that they are the most important things for the vast majority of the American people who are concerned about paying the rent or the mortgage, sending their kids to school, making ends meet. You heard him speak earlier today at the payroll tax cut extension event where he firmly believes that getting an extra forty dollars in every pay check is of vastly greater significance to most Americans than someone’s opinion expressed on cable television about his personal faith which again he has spoken about explicitly as recently as a few weeks ago at the national prayer service.

Earlier Carney was asked about other criticisms of the president's faith made last week by GOP candidate Rick Santorum, and he was a bit more expansive in his response: FULL POST

Topics: Briefing Bites • Faith • Gas prices • Syria
Obama ‘relaxed and happy,’ Mick Jagger says
Designer L'Wren Scott and musician Mick Jagger (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
February 21st, 2012
02:04 PM ET

Obama ‘relaxed and happy,’ Mick Jagger says

President Obama couldn’t wait to get a sneak peek at tonight’s concert in the White House featuring Rolling Stones’ famed front man Mick Jagger.

The musician tweeted earlier Tuesday that the president popped in for a few songs while he was rehearsing for tonight’s event.

“Met President Obama who listened to a few tunes during rehearsal he seemed really relaxed and happy!” Jagger tweeted.

Meanwhile, L'Wren Scott, Jagger’s longtime girlfriend, tweeted it was “amazing to meet the president” and we “loved every moment.”

Jagger is among several legendary musicians invited to play at a concert in the East Room Tuesday night in recognition of Black History Month. The performance, called Red, White, and Blues, features other such famed performers as B. B. King, Buddy Guy, Keb Mo and Gary Clarke Jr. Trombone Shorty.

The event is to be broadcast on PBS next week.

Topics: President Obama • The Buzz
Morning Briefing
February 21st, 2012
08:07 AM ET

Morning Briefing

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

Obama camp now eyeing Santorum [Reuters]

Santorum’s new Obama attack: prenatal testing [CNN]

Greek takes another major austerity step [WSJ]

Republican candidates increasingly dependent on Super PACs [NYT]

Negative ads more vicious than ever? [WashPost]

Feingold out with new book on post 9/11 government [NYT]

POTUS' Day Ahead: Moving like Jagger
February 21st, 2012
07:56 AM ET

POTUS' Day Ahead: Moving like Jagger

Good morning from the White House.  President Obama gets back into the swing of things after a quiet long holiday weekend.  He and the vice president will appear before cameras at 11:30, hosting another in a series of events at the White House that highlight the impact of extending the payroll tax cut.  The event comes days after both houses of Congress cleared the tax cut extension - with considerably less drama than the issue caused late last year.  Obama is expect to sign the extension later this week.

CNN's Jessica Yellin reports the president will use today's event to urge bipartisan action on a range of other issues as well.  It's good politics for the president, who has seen his approval rating rise of late while Congress' remains mired around 10 percent.

In the evening, the president will host several blues legends at the White House for a concert in  recognition of Black History Month.  Among those expected to attend are the Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger and B.B. King.

Full schedule:

Topics: Daily Schedule
February 21st, 2012
05:58 AM ET

Official: Obama to call for more bipartisanship

(CNN) - Fresh off the success of the payroll tax cut extension, President Barack Obama will call on Congress Tuesday to pass more bipartisan measures, a senior administration official told CNN.

The official said the White House believes that Republicans have been more willing to make deals since the bruising fight over raising the debt limit late last year.

The call for greater bipartisanship will come at a White House event touting the importance of the extension of the payroll tax cut and what it means to a middle class family.

Topics: The News