Obama takes a walk around his Chicago neighborhood
June 2nd, 2012
02:37 PM ET

Obama takes a walk around his Chicago neighborhood

(CNN) - President Obama enjoyed a short stroll Saturday in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago after spending a rare night in his home there.

Senior adviser Valerie Jarrett joined Obama as they walked to the home of one of his friends, according to pool reporters traveling with the president. The two were closely tailed by a Secret Service agent, and police had closed off several blocks around the area.

As Obama walked past reporters he said, “Nice day, huh?” He also asked them if they’d spent any money in Chicago the night before.

When reporters asked the president if he’d made breakfast for himself at home, he replied, “No, I woke up too late.”

Obama is in Chicago following campaign events there and in Minneapolis on Friday. This is the first time Obama has spent the night at his Chicago home since April 2011.

Watch video of Obama's stroll here.


White House focuses on women
Valerie Jarrett, (left), President Obama's senior adviser and chairwoman of the White House Council on Women and Girls, hosts Friday's forum on economic policies and women.
April 5th, 2012
10:02 PM ET

White House focuses on women

For the third year in a row, the White House is holding a conference focused on women but they insist politics has nothing to do with it.

The White House Council on Women and Girls is hosting the White House Forum on Women and the Economy where business leaders, education leaders, and Cabinet secretaries will discuss a gamut of issues from healthcare to workplace flexibility to help for small businesses run by women. President Obama will address the diverse group of participants when he gives the keynote remarks in the morning session.

There will also be breakout sessions where there will be further discussions on ways to help women's lives better through economic and social policy. Several Cabinet secretaries, like Attorney General Eric Holder and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis will lead panel discussions.

The White House will also be releasing a 55-page report on all the ways various departments and agencies have implemented policies to benefit women. Some examples of those initiatives are focusing on equal pay for women, affordable college education, tax cuts that benefit women, and healthcare policies, like the recent controversial coverage of contraceptives.

A senior administration official says the president in interested in these topics and the work of the council because he "comes by it naturally." The president was raised by a single mother and also "he is married to a strong woman who juggled her career and her family and now has two wonderful daughters who he hopes will have the best and equal opportunities in life," the senior administration official added.

Critics say this conference is just part of the president's political plan to appeal to women in an election year. The White House insists this has been planned for months and is just part of his overall focus since he created the Council for Women and Girls in the beginning of his administration.

“So why are we focusing on small businesses with a Small Business Job Creation Act? Are we discriminating against big businesses?,” Jay responded. “We’re focusing on women because there are a number of issues that are important with regards to women in the economy, women’s safety, women in education, that are very distinct and important, and we’re proud to host the conference.”

Gap remains between the sexes when it comes to income
March 1st, 2011
11:29 AM ET

Gap remains between the sexes when it comes to income

WASHINGTON (CNN)--The earnings gap between men and women has narrowed but a new White House report shows that on average, women still only make about 75% as their male counterparts. The report released Tuesday shows that women have not only caught up with men in college attendance but in fact have surpassed them; yet those gains haven't translated in the pocketbook. Statistics also show women are more likely than men to live in poverty.

This is the first comprehensive look at women's status in American society in more than 50 years according to the Obama administration. Valerie Jarrett, White House counselor and chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls calls the report "a guidepost to help us move forward" and also says the data will affect future policy decisions. "I think it will inform a wide variety of different policy in programs that the federal government will either initiate or continue but it will be evidence based," Jarrett said on a conference call Tuesday with reporters. "[W]e'll look at those programs and how they fit together to improve the quality of lives of women as a whole rather than looking at it in a silo," she said. FULL POST

Topics: The News • Valerie Jarrett • White House