Obama takes his SOTU message on the road
February 13th, 2013
02:57 PM ET

Obama takes his SOTU message on the road

ASHEVILLE, North Carolina (CNN)-  Seeking to build momentum and rally support for his jobs agenda, President Obama began the first of three campaign-style day trips around the country Wednesday a day after his fourth State of the Union address.

Traveling to Asheville, North Carolina Mr. Obama spoke at an auto parts plant to highlight his proposals he hopes will make America a "magnet" for jobs and manufacturing.

"I believe in manufacturing I think it makes our country stronger," Mr. Obama told the small crowd of workers gathered around the makeshift podium in the center of the factory.

Calling the middle class the "true engine of American economic growth" and "the North star that guides everything we do,"  the president warned there would be "no magic bullet".

He went on to try to rally support for his proposals now stalled in a partisan Congress.

“[W]e've got to stop with some of the politics that we see in Washington sometimes that's focused on who's up and who's down, and let's just focus on the same kind of common sense and cooperation that we're seeing at this plant," said Mr. Obama.  FULL POST

White House on the offensive in final hours before State of the Union
President Barack Obama talks with Jon Favreau, Director of Speechwriting, in the Oval Office as they prepare the State of the Union address
January 24th, 2012
04:30 PM ET

White House on the offensive in final hours before State of the Union

WASHINGTON (CNN) –The White House is facing hostile fire from Republicans in the final hours leading up to the State of the Union address.

Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney accused the president of offering more “partisan planks for his election campaign.”

House Speaker John Boehner said the speech “sounds like we’re going to see a re-run of what we’ve heard over the last three years.”

Pushing back on the verbal attacks, a senior administration official told CNN the rhetoric from Republicans was “unfortunate and revealing.”

“After all, what is more political than criticizing a speech you haven’t even heard?” the official said.

Meanwhile the White House is pushing its own narrative, using a self produced all access video to show an engaged president and his team working on the speech and proposals aimed at helping middle class Americans.

“He really wanted us to focus on those types of economic policies that could have a tangible effect over these next few years,” said Director of the National Economic Council Gene Sperling, in the White House produced video.

It’s a rare glimpse into how a State of the Union address goes from the first key strokes on a computer to a teleprompter read by the president.

And it’s the kind of access those who cover the White House would never be granted.

What was allowed turned out to be the only public glimpse of the president Tuesday. A small group of reporters were gathered to capture a short walk from the Oval office along the colonnade and Rose Garden.

Responding to a shouted question about the status of his speech, the president said, “May have a few touch-ups left.”

Then he declared his nearly finished speech, “not bad.”

Buffett’s secretary, young cancer survivor among State of the Union guests
January 24th, 2012
10:52 AM ET

Buffett’s secretary, young cancer survivor among State of the Union guests

Washington (CNN) – Warren Buffett’s symbolically famous secretary and a young cancer survivor who has benefited from the new health care law are among the guests First Lady Michelle Obama will host at the State of the Union Tuesday night.

Debbie Bosanek, Buffett’s secretary for over 20 years who has become a symbol for proponents of tax reform, is among those who will get a primetime hat tip from the president, according to White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer.

Though not a household name, Obama has repeatedly trumpeted Bosanek as an example of tax inequality: though making significantly less money than her billionaire boss, she pays a higher percentage of taxes because her wages are derived from a salary while the majority of Buffett’s come from investments. Currently, investment income is taxed at 15 percent while ordinary income can be taxed as high as 35 percent. (CNNMoney: The economics behind the Buffett Rule)

Buffett himself has said this is unfair and the president will re-propose what the White House has called the “Buffett Rule” – a proposal that would raise taxes on certain wealthy individuals who derive their yearly income from capital gains and thus pay a far lower rate than many middle class workers. Obama first proposed the plan last fall but did not provide details on exactly how the tax code should be restructured to achieve his proposal.

Update: Full list of guests after the jump

Obama will challenge Congress in ambitious State of the Union
January 24th, 2012
08:20 AM ET

Obama will challenge Congress in ambitious State of the Union

Washington (CNN) - If history is any guide, President Obama will reach for the stars during his State of the Union address tonight. But in the end, reality will bring his plans back down to Earth.

Obama's "blueprint" for 2012 may run into similar partisan roadblocks that trimmed his lofty hopes for last year.

"There are absolutely things that remain undone that need to be done," White House spokesman Jay Carney admitted to reporters on Monday even as he touted a "fairly comprehensive list of proposals" that he believes the president has achieved.

Ambition is taking the fall for unfinished business.

"If you got through a year and you achieved everything on your list then you probably didn't aim high enough," Carney said.

Who's invited to the State of the Union
January 23rd, 2012
03:34 PM ET

Who's invited to the State of the Union

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney announced Mark Kelly, husband of Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, has been invited to sit in the first lady’s box for the State of the Union address.   Giffords, who was shot in the head last year recently announced she is resigning from Congress.

Countdown to State of the Union
January 21st, 2012
12:40 PM ET

Countdown to State of the Union

Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama is "very engaged" in preparing his Tuesday State of the Union address, but "not at a stage yet where he's practicing," according to White House spokesman Jay Carney.

Carney told reporters Friday that the president continued to work with his chief speechwriter, Jon Favreau, on his remarks.


January 29th, 2011
12:32 PM ET

White House week in review

WASHINGTON (CNN) - For President Obama it was the week included a pretty big speech, West Wing staff changes and unrest in Egypt. Here is a look at what happened.

January 26th, 2011
10:29 AM ET

The more the State of the Union changes, the more it stays the same

Washington (CNN) - Shortly after losing the majority in the House during the midterm elections, can you guess what president said, "There are ways of disagreeing; men who differ can still work together sincerely for the common good. We shall be risking the nation's safety and destroying our opportunities for progress if we do not settle any disagreements in this spirit..."

Was it President Obama after the "shellacking" his party took last November or maybe President George W. Bush after his party lost control of both the House and Senate in 2006? It was neither.

It was President Truman, whose party lost the majority in the House of Representatives just before his State of the Union Address in 1951.

Live blogging the State of the Union address
January 25th, 2011
09:11 PM ET

Live blogging the State of the Union address

CNN's Political Ticker, with some help from The 1600 Report,  is live blogging the president's address.  Check it out!

Which anchor scored the best seat at lunch with Obama?
January 25th, 2011
09:02 PM ET

Which anchor scored the best seat at lunch with Obama?

WASHINGTON (CNN) - It was the worst kept secret at the White House Tuesday. When you're Wolf Blitzer and Brian Williams, it's hard to hide when you drop by the White House that is already swarming with reporters. President Obama hosted a hush-hush lunch with television anchors to spin them before he delivered his State of the Union speech.

Who rubbed elbows with the president during the intimate lunch in the Family Dining Room? NBC's Brian Williams and Univision's Maria Elena Salinas. Who might have had to strain the most to see Obama from their seat? MSNBC's Chris Matthews and Telemundo's Jose Diaz-Balart.

This long-standing luncheon tradition to brief television anchors precedes President Obama's administration. It's a coveted invitation – White House reporters don't even get invited – and invitees are under strict orders not to tweet, blog or talk about the off-the-record lunch until the president delivers his address.

And with so many egos – 14 network and cable giants, six presidential aides and the president – how was there room for food at the table?