Archive for the ‘Michelle’ Category

Obama Finds Its Lonely At The Top

November 20, 2008

He has been running toward it for years, maybe his whole adult life, and suddenly he has arrived. And what he discovers is that inside his new cocoon of Secret Service protection, the presidency of the United States is a very lonely job.

By David Ignatius
The Washington Post
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That’s what Barack Obama confided in a revealing interview that aired Sunday on CBS’s “60 Minutes.” Steve Kroft asked him if he had received any good advice from former presidents, and his answer was poignant.

“You know, they were all incredibly gracious,” Obama said. “But I think all of them recognized that there’s a certain loneliness to the job. That, you know, you’ll get advice, and you’ll get counsel. Ultimately, you’re the person who’s going to be making decisions. And I think that even now, you know, I — you can already feel that fact.”

What did it feel like when Obama realized he would be president of the United States? “Well, I’m not sure it’s sunk in yet,” he answered. His wife, Michelle, tried to put it into words, and he agreed in wonderment, “How about that?”

The man who has spent his life “becoming” must now “be.” Obama has been the sojourner, as David Brooks of the New York Times has written, passing through places and institutions, alighting but never putting down deep roots. He has always been on his way elsewhere, in a journey of discovery and self-actualization that may be unmatched in American political history. And now he is at the doorstep of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

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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 Says Election ‘Vindicated’ His Faith in America

November 2, 2008

I have never had any doubt about the goodness, in fact the greatness, of America and the American people.  Maybe this is because I seved in the U.S. armed forces even while Barack Obama was in High School, at Harvard, and writing a book about himself while he was getting a free office and computer from university.

Mr. Obama has said in his speeches that his faith in America and the American people has been ‘vindicated’ by this election.

Webster’s dictionary says the word “vindicate” mean to “to free from allegation or blame; to confirm; to substantiate; to provide justification or defense for.”

So when exactly did Barack Obama have no regard for America and Americans?  You see, to “vindicate” is to return to luster something already lost or tarnished.

Certainly, a graduate of Harvard Law School knows the power of words: especially a great orator like Barack Obama.

Did Barack have no regard for America during Michelle’s period of no regard for America?  Because, as I recall, she said something like this: “I never before had faith in America until this election.”

As John McCain has said in some of his campaign speeches, “I have never had any lack of faith in America or Americans.”

–John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia
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Above: USS Ronald Reagan

Palin Criticizes Obama Over ACORN, View of America

October 16, 2008

BANGOR, Maine (AP) — Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, campaigning with an eye on winning at least one of Maine’s electoral votes, criticized Democrat Barack Obama on Thursday for not disavowing a community activist group that registers voters.

The group known as ACORN — the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now — has drawn condemnation from the Republican ticket as its workers sign up voters in swing states. Nearly a dozen states and the FBI are looking into allegations of voter registration fraud.

ACORN officials have denied allegations of concerted, widespread fraud but acknowledge that some of the group’s registration workers might have turned in duplicate applications or falsified information to pad their pay. ACORN says it it has registered 1.3 million young people, minorities, and poor and working-class voters.

”In this election, it’s a choice between a candidate who won’t disavow a group committing voter fraud, and a leader who won’t tolerate voter fraud,” Palin said.

In the debate Wednesday night with Republican John McCain, Obama denied any significant ties to ACORN. Earlier this week, Obama said ACORN was not advising his campaign and that registration problems shouldn’t be used as an excuse to keep people from turning out.

Palin stuck to familiar themes of limited government, lower taxes and gun rights and listed energy and government reform among her top priorities. She said the people of Maine know that taxes — the state has some of the nation’s highest — are not the way to ”grow the economy.”

Her visit came as the Republican National Committee has decided to stop….

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Obama may face grilling on patriotism

February 23, 2008

By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – Sen. Barack Obama‘s refusal to wear an American flag lapel pin along with a photo of him not putting his hand over his heart during the National Anthem led conservatives on Internet and in the media to question his patriotism.

Now Obama’s wife, Michelle, has drawn their ire, too, for saying recently that she’s really proud of her country for the first time in her adult life.

Conservative consultants say that combined, the cases could be an issue for Obama in the general election if he wins the nomination, especially as he runs against Vietnam war hero Sen. John McCain.

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