Archive for the ‘Malia’ Category

Obama, Clinton Schizoid Relationship

November 11, 2008

They have needed each other.  They ran against each other.  They love each other.  Or do they all hate one another?

By Amie Parnes
Politico
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Michelle Obama wasn’t always an admirer of Hillary Clinton, but last Wednesday the soon-to-be first lady dialed up the former first lady for pointers on protecting her two young daughters from the media maelstrom of the White House.

“Michelle may not have loved the senator, but she always respected how the Clintons raised Chelsea,” said a person familiar with Clinton’s end of the call. “They need to talk. There just aren’t too many people who have shared that kind of experience.”

An aide briefed on Obama’s side of the chat said she was “grateful” for Clinton’s “pointers” on “raising children in the public eye.”

It’s the latest phase in the ruling-class soap opera that is the Obama-Clinton alliance, where the two first families negotiate new personal relationships as Hillary Clinton wrestles with her own ambivalence about Michelle Obama’s husband, a man she once ridiculed as too callow to govern, and then worked tirelessly to elect.

These tensions have created a somewhat schizoid relationship between Clinton and the Obamas – warm on personal matters, warier on political ones, and downright frosty on the still-unresolved issue of Clinton’s mountainous campaign debt, which Barack Obama had pledged to help reduce.

Senator Clinton did not just check the box for Obama – she went all out for him, which says an awful lot about how important she felt this election was, what kind of character she has, and the positive state of their relationship,” said Chris Lehane, an aide to both John Kerry and Al Gore during their presidential bids.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., campaigns for Democratic ... 
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., campaigns for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., Monday, Nov. 3, 2008, in St. Charles, Mo.(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Since the Democratic National Convention, Hillary Clinton headlined about three dozen rallies and fundraisers – working rope-lines where well-wishers often lamented her exit from the race. 
Bill Clinton, who once called Obama’s Iraq policy “a fairy tale,” hosted about 20 events for Obama after the Illinois senator paid homage to him with a mid-September visit to his Harlem office.

Obama responded by lavishing praise on the pair – after months of questioning the legacy of the Clinton White House. More importantly, he embraced much of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s domestic agenda, especially her health care and green jobs proposals.

Yet a half-dozen Clinton insiders told Politico they are disappointed that Obama’s vaunted fundraising operation hasn’t reciprocated by planning new events or an Internet campaign to help Clinton pay off the $7.9 million she owes to vendors. (Clinton has already written off the $13 million she loaned the campaign during the primaries, aides say).

“I don’t think there’s a whole lot of hard feelings, it’s more like mild annoyance,” said a former Clinton aide on condition of anonymity. “There’s just not a lot of expectation they are going to lift a finger for us.”

Added another longtime Clinton adviser: “She killed herself for them, did a hundred events, went anywhere they pointed – so it’s disappointing they aren’t helping… But it’s not a big deal at this point.”

One former Clinton fundraiser took a more cold-blooded view. “In a few months, when he’s really struggling, he’ll come to her for support,” he said. “That’s when she should ask him for money.”

An Obama spokesman didn’t comment but didn’t rule out a debt retirement effort down the road.

Clinton is expecting a warmer reception from Obama on legislative issues.

People close to the New York senator say she is still struggling to define her role in the Senate following a jarring and unexpected loss. But she’s sure of one thing: she desperately wants to play a major role in crafting the health care reform Obama has pledged to introduce.

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Bushes and Obamas: All smiles at the White House

November 11, 2008

All smiles and compliments, President-elect Obama and his wife, Michelle, called on President Bush and first lady Laura Bush Monday in a White House visit that was part political ritual, part practical introduction and a striking symbol of the historic transfer of power to come.

By JENNIFER LOVEN, Associated Press Writer

The president and Obama talked war and financial crisis. Laura Bush and Michelle Obama talked about raising daughters in the nation’s most famous house.

Then Obama flew back to Chicago to work on setting up the new administration that will take over on Jan. 20.

Mrs. Obama came earlier than her husband to the nation’s capital, and stayed after him, hunting a new school for the kids by visiting two of the city’s best-known private schools.

President Bush and President-elect Obama walk along the West ... 
President Bush and President-elect Obama walk along the West Wing Colonnade of the White House in Washington, Monday, Nov. 10, 2008, prior to their meeting in the Oval Office.(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

If first impressions matter, Obama and his wife displayed one similarity to the super-punctual Bushes, pulling up to the White House’s South Portico 11 minutes early. The couples traded warm and easy greetings in the crisp autumn sunshine, with the wives exchanging pleasantries about the fall hues each wore — Mrs. Bush in a brown dress and Mrs. Obama in a red one.

While Obama and Bush, in business suits, proceeded waving and smiling down the White House Colonnade for nearly two hours of private talks, Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Bush had their own agenda: talk of raising children in most unusual circumstances. Mrs. Bush conducted a tour of the living quarters of the historic mansion and made introductions to the army of residence staff who look after first families.

Michelle Obama had toured the White House before with daughters Malia, who is 10, and Sasha, who is 7. But the two women had never met.

The 43rd president and the man who will be the 44th — and first black — commander in chief met alone in the Oval Office, with no handlers or staff. It was Obama’s first time in the storied workspace, even though he had been to the White House previously for events.

Neither the Bushes nor the Obamas spoke to reporters.

President Bush and President-elect Barack Obama meet in the ... 
President Bush and President-elect Barack Obama meet in the Oval Office, November 10, 2008.(White House photo by Eric Draper/Handout/Reuters)

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Obama to get his first look at the Oval Office

November 10, 2008

Barack Obama has never set foot in the Oval Office. Talk about making an entrance. In a sit-down discussion Monday with President Bush, the president-elect will get his first feel for the place where momentous decisions will soon fall to him.

Bush invited Obama for the private talk, a rite of passage between presidents and successors that extends for decades.

The moment is sure to be steeped in history, part of a symbolic changing of a guard to Democratic leadership and the country’s first black president. But it will be substantive as well, as Bush and Obama are expected to review the nation’s enormous economic downturn and the war in Iraq.

By BEN FELLER, Associated Press Writer

“I’m going to go in there with a spirit of bipartisanship, and a sense that both the president and various leaders of Congress all recognize the severity of the situation right now and want to get stuff done,” Obama said last week when asked about his meeting with Bush.

Obama won the presidency in an electoral landslide on Tuesday. He ran a campaign in which he relentlessly linked Republican opponent John McCain to Bush and presented his ideas as a fresh alternative to what he called Bush’s failed policies.

Yet the tone changed almost immediately after Obama’s win.

Bush, who had endorsed McCain, lauded Obama’s victory as a “triumph of the American story.” He warmly invited the Obama family to the White House.

Obama, in turn, thanked Bush for being gracious. The president-elect has made clear to the people of the United States and those watching around the world that there is only one president for now, and that’s Bush. Obama is in the transition to power but does not assume the presidency until Jan. 20.

Josh Bolten, Bush’s chief of staff, said Bush and Obama will be the only ones in the room when they meet.

“I’m sure each of them will have a list of issues to go down,” Bolten said, interviewed on C-SPAN by reporters from The Associated Press and The Washington Post. “But I think that’s something very personal to both of them. I know the president will want to convey to President-elect Obama his sense of how to deal with some of the most important issues of the day. But exactly how he does that, I don’t know, and I don’t think anybody will know.”

Obama and wife, Michelle, are set to arrive at the White House on Monday afternoon. Bush and first lady Laura Bush will greet them.

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Forget Iran, jobs, taxes. What about Obama’s first dog, er, First Dog?

November 8, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama met with part of his transition team Friday to talk about the nation’s evolving economic troubles.

But the compelling issue on at least one reporter’s mind was, what about the Obama family’s promised dog?

The about-to-be-first family’s father explained there was a complication because one daughter, Malia, is allergic. And apparently Obama thinks that rules out his professed first choice of a shelter dog.

But the reporter in this video has good news for Obama — and perhaps soon good news for one particular puppy sitting unknown in a shelter somewhere tonight like a canine Cinderella.

(For a video of Obama’s entire first news conference as president-elect, click on the Read more line below.)

— Andrew Malcolm; The Los Angeles Times

Obama Calls News Conference to Say…..Nothing

November 7, 2008

President elect Barack Obama, flanked by his newly named White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and his economic advisors including Paul Volker, called a “news conference” today to say just about….nothing.  He told us what we already knew: the economy is bad and we have one president until January 20: George W. Bush. 


Getty Images 

The President Elect did say he favored an immediate economic stimulus package and Congress has already agreed to meet in a lame duck session to consider proposals.

The only other substance of the event concerned his daughter’s allergies and the care that will have to be taken in choosing the next White House Dog.  Current White House canine Barney is in the dog house for nipping a reporter yesterday.  No reporters were bitten today but many remain smitten despite the lack of substance in today’s media “event”….


AP

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By NEDRA PICKLER and LIZ SIDOTI, Associated Press Writers

President-elect Obama said Friday that the country is facing the greatest economic challenge of our lifetime and “we’re going to have to act swiftly to resolve it.”

However in his first news conference since winning the presidency Tuesday, Obama deferred to President Bush and his economic team, noting that the country has only one government and one president at a time.

He said the Congress needs to pass an economic stimulus measure either before or just after he takes office in January.

But, he said, “immediately after I become president I will confront this economic crisis head-on by taking all necessary steps to ease the credit crisis, help hardworking families, and restore growth and prosperity.”

“I’m confident a new president can have an enormous impact,” he added.

The president-elect spoke after he and Vice President-elect Joe Biden met privately with economic experts to discuss ways to stabilize the troubled economy.

More evidence of a recession came Friday when the government reported that the unemployment rate had jumped from 6.1 percent in September to 6.5 percent in October. Despite dour third-quarter reports from Ford and General Motors, stocks rose some after two days of heavy losses.

Obama’s transition to power and early days in office, if not the entire first year of his presidency, almost certainly will be devoted to finding ways to remedy dismal economic conditions. The economy was the top concern of voters demanding a new direction as they ushered into office the Democrat who promised change after eight years of Bush’s policies.

On other topics:

He said he will review a letter from Iran’s leader but refrained from directly responding to it. It’s not something “that we should simply do in a knee-jerk fashion,” he said.

“We only have one president at a time,” Obama said, adding that he wants to be careful to send the signal to the world that “I’m not the president and I won’t be until Jan. 20.”
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Major Issue At Today’s Press Conference

Associated Press

President-elect Obama says getting a dog for his two daughters when the family moves into the White House in January is “a major issue.”

Obama told reporters Friday that his mention on election night of getting a puppy for Sasha and Malia had “generated more interest” on his Web site than any other topic.

He said, “We have two criteria that have to be reconciled. One is that Malia is allergic so it has to be hypoallergenic.”

Obama also said there were a number of breeds that were hypoallergenic, but that the family’s preference is to adopt a dog from a shelter.

Obama added: “But obviously, a lot of shelter dogs are mutts like me. So whether we’re going to be able to balance those two things, I think, is a pressing issue on the Obama household.”

From Ben Smith, Politico

Barack Obama said in his first post-election press conference that he’s spoken to all the former presidents — Carter, Bush, Clinton, as well as the current Bush — and, looser than he’s been in months, dares a joke at the expense of the widow of the most recently deceased.

“I have spoken to all of them who are living,” he says. “I didn’t want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about doing any séances,” he says.

He was responding to a question, from the Chicago Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet, about whether he’d spoken to all of the “living” former presidents.

He was apparently referring to the reports in the 1980s that Nancy Reagan consulted an astrologer while in the White House. Mary Todd Lincoln, however, reportedly held actual séances.