Presidential Archive 3/25 – 3/31/09
By Linnie Frank Bailey
With still high approval ratings, the President got tough with the automakers this past week, forcing the departure of General Motors Chairman Rick Wagoner. Meanwhile, as global economic conditions continue to prevent growth in developed countries, the President prepared to meet with world leaders at the G-20 economic summit in London. Accompanied by the First Lady, the eight-day European trip will be Obama’s first as President.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Obama Monitors Flooding in North Dakota
In a pro-active action, President Obama signed a Major Disaster Declaration for North Dakota and met with Senators and Representatives from North Dakota and Minnesota to discuss the record level flooding that was expected.
National Medal of Honor Day
The President participated in a wreath-laying ceremony for National Medal of Honor Day at Arlington National Cemetery, along with more than 30 of the 98 living Medal of Honor recipients. His statement included, “Since it was first awarded during the Civil War to the current battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, Medal of Honor recipients have displayed tremendous courage, an unfailing determination to succeed, and a humbling willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice. “
Thursday, March 26, 2009
The First Online Town Hall
In a continuing effort to make use of today’s technology in government, the President conducted the first ever “virtual town hall” with almost a hundred thousand participants and more than three and a half million votes on questions. The session mixed online participants with a White House audience of about a hundred. The President answered questions from both groups.
Outreach in Spanish
Continuing his outreach to the Spanish-speaking public, The President taped a greeting in Spanish that was broadcast on Spanish-language TV station – Univision.
Friday, March 27, 2009
New strategy for Afghanistan
Flanked by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, President Obama outlined his plan to deploy 4,000 more troops to Afghanistan. Describing our purpose in Afghanistan as increasingly dangerous and unstable, the President stated, “let me be clear: al Qaeda and its allies—the terrorists who planned and supported the 9/11 attacks—are in Pakistan and Afghanistan,” he continued. “Multiple intelligence estimates have warned that al Qaeda is actively planning attacks on the U.S. homeland from its safe-haven in Pakistan.” Obama also lobbied Congress for more aid to Pakistan to help stabilize the region.
Issa Wants Tabs on First Lady
House Republicans, led by California’s own Representative Darrell Issa (R-Vista), the ranking Republican member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, are pushing for a change in federal law that could force First Lady Michelle Obama to publicly disclose more of her policy work.
In a debate on the issue Rep. William Clay (D-Mo.) suggested the legislation might be regarded as an attack on the Obamas, stating, “I think that, no matter what you’re intending with this amendment, that the president may view this as an attack on his wife. And I’m just saying, you know, let’s be careful--if we want to open up that can of worms. Let’s not go in that direction.”
Referring to the President Obama’s oft-stated transparency goals, Issa responded, “I believe this is open government at its finest.”
Issa initially proposed the change early last year (when many in Washington believed Bill Clinton might become the first spouse). He ultimately withdrew the amendment, but may reintroduce it at a later time.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Changes at GM and Chrysler
This morning the President announced that his Auto Task Force has completed a thorough review of the viability of General Motors and Chrysler – companies that have requested additional federal assistance to continue operating. The President set tough conditions for another government bailout and raised the possibility of a structured bankruptcy to get the companies on the road to profitability. Signifying the departure of General Motors Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner, the President said that GM would be under new leadership as the company struggles to reinvent itself. "We cannot make the survival of our auto industry dependent on an unending flow of tax dollars. These companies — and this industry — must ultimately stand on their own, not as wards of the state," Obama said. CEO Wagoner will leave General Motors with a financial package worth an estimated $23 million.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Financial Transparency for Bailout Funds
The Treasury Department has launched FinancialStability.gov, a website dedicated to showing the public how monies are spent and documenting the administration’s economic actions.
First Presidential Visit to Europe
President Obama, along with the First Lady, departed for an eight-day, five-country trip to Europe—Obama’s first visit overseas since taking office. First stop is the G-20 summit in London, an annual meeting of the leaders of the world’s largest economies.