May 15, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - President Obama faces a fresh test Thursday of his determination to steer clear of the civil war in Syria when he considers a desperate plea from a longtime U.S. ally. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to urge Obama in a White House meeting to move more aggressively to end a conflict that has sent more than 1 million refugees fleeing across Syria's borders and threatens to destabilize the region. "Syria will be our main topic.... We will draw a road map," Erdogan told reporters before leaving Ankara, Turkey's capital.
May 14, 2013 |
President Obama was asked about the metastasizing Benghazi scandal in a joint news conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday. Referring to the Americans who died in Benghazi, the president said, "We dishonor them when we turn things like this into a political circus. " He added that "the whole issue of talking points, throughout this process, frankly, has been a sideshow.… There's no there there. " He's half right. The talking points drafted by the State Department, the CIA and the White House and given to congressional Republicans and, most famously, to U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice are not the center of this story.
May 13, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - A defiant President Obama dismissed as a "sideshow" the controversy over his administration's handling of last year's armed assault in Benghazi, Libya, accusing critics of trying to make political hay from the deaths of four Americans. "We dishonor them when we turn things like this into a political circus," Obama told reporters Monday. Obama's angry remarks were his first since House hearings last week about the September 2012 attack on the U.S. facility in Benghazi, and his first public reaction to fresh evidence indicating the White House weighed political calculations as it released information in the days that followed.
May 11, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Seeking to ensure his landmark healthcare law is successfully implemented, President Obama is reprising his 2012 election strategy in hopes of enrolling millions of uninsured Americans in health plans this fall. The new campaign, whose outcome could largely shape the president's legacy, is targeting young people, Latinos and women - groups that were crucial to Obama's victory in November. It will rely on some of the same tools that the reelection campaign pioneered for voter turnout, including extensive use of social media, mobilization of volunteers and data-driven outreach.
May 11, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Sen. Dianne Feinstein made headlines recently by demanding a forceful U.S. response to Syria's use of chemical weapons against its population. Less noticed was that the California Democrat wasn't urging deeper military involvement or other dramatic steps, but only a new push for action by the United Nations Security Council, which has already rejected Western-backed resolutions on Syria three times. In this cautious approach, Feinstein, who is chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is not alone.
May 8, 2013 |
For the last two months, President Obama has been mired in Washington's inside game, caught up in backroom congressional politics as he tried unsuccessfully to pass a bill on gun control and nudge Republican senators toward compromise on the budget. But do his losses mean, as some pundits suggest, that, four months into his second term, the president is already a lame duck? The answer may depend on the mood far outside the capital. This week, the president is leaving town to launch what the White House, reverting to campaign mode, is calling a "middle-class jobs and opportunities tour.
May 7, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The Pentagon estimated that 26,000 members of the military were sexually assaulted in unreported incidents last year - 35% more than in 2010 - a severe trend that senior officials warned could threaten recruiting and retention of women in uniform. President Obama, reacting to the startling figures Tuesday, said he had "no tolerance" for sexual crimes in the ranks and pledged to crack down on commanders who ignored the problem. Obama said he had spoken to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and ordered that officers "up and down the food chain" get the message.
May 6, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - When Bolivian President Evo Morales expelled the U.S. Agency for International Development from his impoverished country last week, he complained that Washington "still has a mentality of domination and submission" in the region. It was a familiar charge for the State Department's principal foreign aid agency. In the last two years, it has been booted out of Russia, snubbed in Egypt and declared unwelcome by a bloc of left-leaning Latin American countries. USAID "threatens our sovereignty and stability," the eight-nation Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas fumed in June in a resolution that accused the United States of political interference, conspiracy and "looting our natural resources.
May 4, 2013 |
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica - President Obama capped a three-day visit to Latin America on Saturday by urging the region's leaders to fight the drug war not with more guns or military aid but with greater investment in infrastructure, education and energy. Communicating that message, delivered Friday night to a group of Central American leaders and again Saturday at a development conference in San Jose, was the chief aim of Obama's brief visit south, which also included a stop in Mexico City.
May 4, 2013 |
President Obama sounded genuinely outraged last week when he talked about the Kafkaesque situation at the Guantanamo prison camp, where the United States has been holding 166 men without trial for terms that are, at this point, officially endless. "It's not sustainable," the president thundered. "I mean, the notion that we're going to continue to keep over 100 individuals in a no man's land in perpetuity?" But at least some of Obama's anger should be directed at himself, because his own silence and passivity on Guantanamo are part of the problem.