May 3rd, 2012
04:46 PM ET

White House deflects criticism on Chen case

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The “mission impossible” style case of Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng is yet another wrinkle in a complicated relationship between the U.S. and China.

While issues of trade and differences on Syria are being debated, human rights is becoming the flashpoint.

White House spokesman Jay Carney sidestepped most questions on Chen’s case, like whether the administration supported asylum for the activist. Instead he directed reporters to the State Department for more details.

But pushed to answer concerns about Chen’s change of heart and his desire to leave the country, Carney defended the U.S. handling of the case.

“At no point during his time in the embassy did Mr. Chen ever request political asylum in the U.S. And at every opportunity he expressed his desire to stay in China, reunify with this family, continue his education and work for reform in his country,” Carney said. “All of our diplomacy was directed at putting him in the best possible position to achieve his objectives.”

Carney downplayed any long term fallout from this incident citing a multifaceted relationship that is built on economic, trade, security and regional concerns.

Topics: China
Would you pay $40,000 for dinner with Obama and Clooney?
Actor George Clooney and President Obama meet outside the Oval Office at the White House in 2010. Clooney is hosting a big money fundraiser for Obama in Hollywood next week.
May 3rd, 2012
11:21 AM ET

Would you pay $40,000 for dinner with Obama and Clooney?

It's always a heady combination, the intersection of politics and Hollywood and now the Obama campaign is reportedly cashing in big-time.
The contest called "Obama, Clooney, and You" offered supporters a chance to win two tickets for dinner with the president, George Clooney and a host of other high dollar donors at the movie star's Los Angeles home next week. The contest has now ended.
A Democratic official declined to tell CNN exactly how much money the contest raised but did say tickets for the 150 paying guests are $40,000 each. That’s a cool $6 million dollars.
The on-line contest, similar to other raffles run by the Obama campaign offering "Dinner with Barack" and at times also including First Lady Michelle Obama was designed to encourage "grassroots supporters" to donate as little as $3.
The Wall Street Journal reported this week that actor Clooney is deeming the fundraiser a huge success.
"All I know is it's the biggest fundraiser so far to date-ever," Clooney told the Wall Street Journal. "Right now we've raised about $10 million for the fundraiser, which is about double anything that's ever been done before," said the actor. FULL POST

Topics: 2012 Election • President Obama • The Buzz
May 3rd, 2012
07:43 AM ET

Obama campaign: Romney, McDonnell and women voters


(CNN) - The Obama campaign renewed its focus on women voters Thursday with a stepped up attack on Mitt Romney.

A data-filled memo alleges the budget cuts, tax reform and social policy Mitt Romney supports will disproportionately hurt middle- and low-income women.

Along with the memo, the campaign links to a web tool called "The Life of Julia," which follows the character from the age 3 to 67, suggesting how one such woman would be impacted by the policies of the two Presidential candidates.

For example, under President Obama, Julia at age 23 can fight for a right to equal pay, because he signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, according to the web tool. But Julia doesn't know her fate under a President Romney because he hasn't said whether he would have signed the Lily Ledbetter Act. (read more at CNN Politics)

Topics: 2012 Election • Mitt Romney • President Obama • Virginia • Women
Morning Briefing
May 3rd, 2012
07:32 AM ET

Morning Briefing

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

Chinese activist says he wants to go to U.S. (

Obama administration faces heat after Chen's exit (WSJ)

Obama campaign: Romney, McDonnell and women voters (

New Poll: Obama opens lead in PA but Romney catches up in OH, FL (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Is Obama more popular than he should be? (NYTimes)

Republicans praise Secret Service response to Colombian prostitution scandal (

POTUS schedule for Thursday May 3, 2012
May 3rd, 2012
07:21 AM ET

POTUS schedule for Thursday May 3, 2012

12:30PM THE PRESIDENT and the VICE PRESIDENT meet for lunch/ Private Dining Room/ Closed Press

2:00PM THE PRESIDENT meets with senior advisors/ Oval Office/ Closed Press

5:00PM THE PRESIDENT delivers remarks at a Cinco de Mayo Reception/ Rose Garden/ Pooled Press

Topics: Daily Schedule