July 19th, 2012
09:01 PM ET
Florida campaign flurry
JACKSONVILLE (CNN)–Florida is an up-for-grabs state and both President Barack Obama and presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney are locked in a neck and neck race trying to convince voters their policies will help fix the nation's economic problems.
Thursday, the president made his fourth campaign stop in the last month to the state that represents a whopping 29 electoral votes.
In the reliably Republican city of Jacksonville, the president offered his supporters a reason to stick with him then cast a wider net by going after his opponent on an issue that resonates with senior voters–Medicare.
"He plans to turn Medicare into a voucher program," the president told a crowd of some 3000 people at the Prime Osborn Convention Center. "Now, Florida, that's the wrong way to go... We shouldn't be squeezing more money out of seniors who are just barely getting by right now. My plan is to squeeze more money out of the health care system by eliminating waste, and going after abuse and fraud in Medicare."
Senior citizens make up 18 percent of Florida's population.
The Obama re-election campaign says the president's policies will strengthen Medicare, a view not shared by his opponent.
November 16th, 2011
08:25 AM ET
Obama in Australia: What day is it?
CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA (CNN) - President Obama might be surrounded by an army of secret service agents, but on his trip to Canberra, Australia he got no protection from a crushing time zone change that left him a bit confused.
“I’m trying to figure out what, what time zone I’m in here,” the president joked during a joint news conference with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
Flying from Honolulu, Hawaii to Australia took the president forward in time, virtually skipping Tuesday all together and jumping to Wednesday.
Canberra is 16 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.
The fast forward left the president looking a bit tired as he attended an arrival ceremony and news conference.
At the closing event of the day, the parliamentary dinner, the time zone change once again took its toll.
“I am going to be brief, for we have had a busy day,” Mr. Obama said. “I’m not sure what day it is.”
November 16th, 2011
04:49 AM ET
U.S. military footprint to grow in Australia
CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA (CNN) - The U.S. military presence will soon be expanding in Australia as part of a new joint strategic partnership.
Under the agreement announced during a joint news conference with President Obama and Prime Minister Gillard, 200 to 250 U-S Marines will be sent sometime in mid 2012 to Darwin and the northern region of Australia, in six month rotations.
They will conduct exercises and training.
Over the next several years the numbers are expected to climb to 2,500, comprising a Marine Ground Task Force.
China's looming military presence in the region is part of the reason for this stepped up U.S. activity, said Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications.
But at the news conference, President Obama insisted fear wasn't driving the enhanced military initiatives.
"The notion that we fear China is mistaken," Mr. Obama said.
Shortly after the announcement was made at the Australian parliament building, AFP reported the Chinese were skeptical of the deal and said it "may not be quite appropriate."
Asked to respond to China's apparent push-back, Rhodes told CNN, "It is not just entirely appropriate but an important step to dealing with the challenges of the future of the Asian Pacific region."