White House


Obama Taps Longtime Boston Symphony Staffer for Arts Committee

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

President Barack Obama will appoint Caroline Taylor, a trustee and former staffer of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, to the Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

How Hard is it To Be the President's Press Secretary?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Brian Lehrer Show listeners take their best shots at Robert Gibbs, President Obama's former spox.

Comments [15]


Video: Obama Presents National Medal of the Arts to Renée Fleming, Tony Kushner

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

President Obama presented the National Medal of Arts to 12 recipients including Renée Fleming during a White House ceremony on Wednesday.

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Comments [1]


Obama Vows Again to Close Guantanamo

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

President Barack Obama says he's going to try again to close down the prison for terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Comments [2]


Science Fair Glory

Friday, April 26, 2013

Rubbing elbows with a whole bunch of smart kids and President Obama at the annual White House Science Fair left Radiolab wondering: did you ever have a science project that made you weep (hopefully in a good way)...

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Jon Meacham on Sequester Season

Friday, February 22, 2013

The President and Congress are locked in a debate over the effects of the so-called "sequester," with Obama warning of dire consequences and Republicans more and more comfortable with the idea of the automatic spending cuts taking effect. Jon Meacham, executive editor at Random House and author of the book Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, discusses the latest in the negotiations, and other key news from DC.

Comments [14]

The Brian Lehrer Show

White House Press Access

Thursday, February 21, 2013

How secretive is the Obama White House, and should transparency be measured in access to the president? Glenn Thrush, Politico senior White House reporter, discusses the White House Press Corps' perceived lack of access to President Obama.

Reading List: Access to Obama

Politico: "Obama, The Puppet Master" | Washington Post's Erik Wemple | Gawker's Tom Scocca | The Atlantic's Matthew Cooper

Comments [32]

The Brian Lehrer Show

Mapping the Brain

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Rafael Yuste, researcher at Columbia University and a leader of the project which the White House has chosen to sponsor, explains the President's proposal to map brain activity and how his work fits into the White House's vision, and takes your calls on what you think.

Comments [21]

It's A Free Country ®

Watch Live: President Obama News Conference

Monday, January 14, 2013

President Obama will host the final press conference of his first term today, weeks after a contentious debt ceiling negotiation. 


The Takeaway

Men Dominate President Obama's Second-Term Cabinet Picks

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

It's the season for a changing of the guard in Washington. Among the new faces being nominated by President Obama, there's no one of color nor any women. Marie Wilson, founder of the White House Project, a New York-based nonprofit group, has spent her career advocating for women’s leadership in the highest echelons of government.


The Brian Lehrer Show

Political Cliff

Monday, December 17, 2012

USA Today Washington bureau chief Susan Page discusses the latest from Washington, from reaction to the Sandy Hook shooting to a new counter-offer on tax rates from Speaker John Boehner.

Comments [15]


At White House Party, Long Island Menorah Becomes Symbol of Resilience

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Long Island menorah that survived Sandy will be taking center stage at the White House Hanukkah party Thursday evening.


Transportation Nation

President Obama Calls Commerce Secretary After Crash

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Commerce Secretary John Bryson (Commerce Department photo)

President Barack Obama called Commerce Secretary John Bryson today.

It was a short conversation, and the President encouraged Bryson to "focus his thoughts on his own health and his own family," according to White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

It was the first time the two spoke since Bryson's double hit-and run over the weekend.

Bryson is now undergoing medical tests for what's being described as a seizure. No further details about what caused the crashes or Bryson's condition at the time have been made available.

There is no timetable for Bryson's return.

Here's a full transcript of the relevant portion of Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest's Q&A with reporters:

MR. EARNEST:  I actually don’t think I have anything off the top.  We obviously have a series of fundraisers, many of which you will cover over the course of the day today.  And I don’t have any announcements.  If you want to -- so you can go ahead and get started.

Q    What’s the update on Secretary Bryson?  Do we have any better idea of what happened to him and what’s the prognosis?

MR. EARNEST:  As you saw last night, Secretary Bryson had a statement indicating that he ended up taking a medical leave of absence.  Before leaving the White House this morning, the President had an opportunity to speak to Commerce Secretary Bryson on the telephone, where they had a short conversation.

The President encouraged Secretary Bryson to focus his thoughts on his own health and on his own family.  And the President indicated his confidence in Dr. Blank, who is somebody who could lead the Commerce Department in Secretary Bryson’s absence.

Q    I’m sorry, you said he did express confidence in him?

Q    In Dr. Blank.

MR. EARNEST:  In Dr. Blank -- as somebody who could lead the Commerce Department in Secretary Bryson’s absence.  And the President encouraged him to focus -- I’ll speak up a little bit, I apologize.  And the President encouraged Secretary Bryson to focus on his own health and getting that care and medical treatment that he needs.

Q    Josh, is there any update as far as exactly what the Secretary’s condition is or what type of seizure he had?

MR. EARNEST:  I don’t have any updates on those factual details about what happened over the weekend.  But obviously, the medical tests that Secretary Bryson will undergo are related to that.

Q    Was this the first time they had an opportunity to speak, the President and --

MR. EARNEST:  Since the weekend?

Q    Yes, since the weekend.

MR. EARNEST:  Since the weekend, yes.

Q    Josh, can you go over a little bit more of the tick-tock beginning with when was the White House first informed of the incident?  And the President wasn’t informed until Monday morning.  How come the gap in time?

MR. EARNEST:  I don’t have a whole lot -- I mean, you have the details right, that the White House was informed late in the day on Sunday and the President was briefed on Monday morning.  But in terms of more details, I don’t have a whole lot more light to shed on those details at this point.

Q    Was it -- Jack Lew talked to him when?  Sunday or Monday?

MR. EARNEST:  I believe that Mr. Lew spoke to him on Monday.

Q    Monday morning.

Q    To Bryson?


Q    To Bryson, Monday morning.  And so it was -- and the President wasn’t informed until Monday morning.  So it was

Lew --

MR. EARNEST:  The President was briefed on Monday.

Q    So Lew had decided it wasn’t -- well, he didn’t speak to him until Monday morning, so the President wasn’t informed until Monday morning.

MR. EARNEST:  The President was briefed on Monday morning.

Q    So we don’t know why there was a lag on why Bryson didn’t report in or what happened?

MR. EARNEST:  I don’t have any more details for you on that.

Q    Do we know who -- I’m sorry.

Q    Do you know if Mr. Lew called him later in the day to --

MR. EARNEST:  I don’t have the minute-by-minute tick-tock.

What we -- what Jay broadly discussed yesterday in terms of the tick-tock is -- continues -- is an accurate portrayal of the events over the last 72 hours or so.  I don’t have any more details to add to that beyond the President's phone call to Secretary Bryson this morning.

Q    Josh, a medical leave of absence is unusual.  Why didn’t Secretary Bryson decide to step down, fully resign?  And do you have a timetable for his return?  Does the President expect him to return?

MR. EARNEST:  I don’t have a timetable for his return, primarily because I don’t want to pre-judge what the results of a medical examination that was referred to in the statement last night might reveal.

But what the President -- I can reiterate to you what the President reiterated to the Secretary this morning, which is that his -- that the Secretary's attention and interest and priority at this point should be his own health.

Q    But can you say why he chose to take a medical leave versus just agree to resign?

MR. EARNEST:  I can't speak to that at this point.

Q    Was it suggested to him by anyone that he take a medical leave?

MR. EARNEST:  You have to refer to -- you have to check with the Commerce Department on what went into his decision, in terms of --

Q    But do you know if Lew or anyone else in the White House suggested to him that it would be a good thing to do?

MR. EARNEST:  Even if I were privy to the conversations that took place, I probably wouldn’t have much to share about them.

Q    So it's sort of open-ended for when he can return as far as the President is concerned.

MR. EARNEST:  That’s true, primarily because the time that he's taking here will be devoted to his -- an examination of his health and some medical tests.  And he's going to take the time that he needs to focus on those priorities, those things that should be his priority, those things along with his family.

Q    So it wasn't Bryson himself that informed the White House on Sunday night?  Or was it someone else?

MR. EARNEST:  I don’t believe we've gotten into the details about who was on either end of the phone during those conversations, and I don’t have any more on that.

Q    So it sounds like his return hinges on the results of his medical exam.

MR. EARNEST:  Well, again, I don’t want to pre-judge into all of that.

Q    And who notified the White House initially, Sunday?

MR. EARNEST:  Well, as I just said, I don’t have any more details on who participated in those phone calls.

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Pres. Obama Honors the NY Giants

Friday, June 08, 2012

The Super Bowl champion New York Giants scored a White House appearance on Friday.  It was the second time in four years that the Big Blue was so honored on the South Lawn. Watch a video of the event.


The Takeaway

Excerpt: "Rebuild the Dream"

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

In his newest book, Rebuild the Dream, green economy pioneer Van Jones reflects on his journey from grassroots outsider to White House insider, shares intimate details of his time in government, and provides a blueprint to reinvent the American Dream. Along the way, he contrasts the structure and rhetoric of the 2008 Obama campaign, the Tea Party movement and Occupy Wall Street. Below are his thoughts on cheap patriots versus deep patriots, and the way forward to reclaim, reinvent, and renew the American Dream. You can order the book here.

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The Takeaway

President Obama Sends 2013 Budget to Congress

Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday morning, President Obama sends Congress his 2013 budget plan. The president’s budget includes stimulus-style spending increases on highway construction projects, schools, and other public works. It also includes increased taxes for wealthy Americans and corporations. What it doesn’t include are significant cuts, and the president already getting push-back from Republicans about his plan. They say it avoids making needed sacrifices and that it doesn’t do enough to curb the deficit or keep the rapid growth of benefit programs like Medicare in check.

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50 Years of Decorating the White House

Friday, February 10, 2012

In 1961, when John F. Kennedy became president, his wife Jacqueline redecorated the White House and made it a museum. Her dramatic makeover moved us to ask William G. Allman, the chief curator of the White House, to give us his favorite pieces of furniture, decorative objects and works of art that became part of the White House in the past 50 years.



Obama Calls for More 'Tinkerers and Dreamers'

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

President Obama announced new federal and private-sector education initiatives to encourage “a nation of tinkerers and dreamers” during a science fair at the White House on Tuesday.

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Transportation Nation

INTERACTIVE CHART: From One State of the Union to the Next; A Shift from Building the New to Fixing the Old

Friday, January 20, 2012

President Obama began 2011 arguing in lofty terms for building 21st century infrastructure. He ended it pleading for the maintenance of our 20th century roads and bridges. Transportation Nation analyzed the number of times he mentioned various infrastructure-related words over the course of the year. As the chart shows, he shifted from regularly mentioning ambitious, long term projects like high-speed rail, to calling for repair of our roads and bridges as a means to spur construction jobs.

For a year in review of infrastructure and transportation policy extracted from this data, mouse over the chart month by month. Play with the chart to see how different issues trended over time. Here's the full dataset if you want to make your own charts, just credit us and let us know.

For more news and analysis on the world of transportation and infrastructure follow TransportNation on Twitter, like us on Facebook or subscribe to our RSS feed.

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Transportation Nation

Reports: Obama to Reject Keystone Pipeline

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

NPR's got the roundup of news stories on the pipeline's demise:

Several news outlets are reporting that the Obama administration will reject TransCanada's proposal to run an oil pipeline across the U.S.-Canada border.

The Washington Post reports the administration will make it official later today and will allow TransCanada to reapply once it has a proposal to reroute the pipeline to avoid the environmentally sensitive Sand Hills of Nebraska.

As we've reported, the Keystone XL pipeline has become a rallying point for environmentalists. The president first sought to put off a decision on the pipeline until after the 2012 elections, but he agreed to make a decision by Feb. 21 as part of the payroll tax cut negotiations.

Full post here.


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