White House Correspondent, Washington, DC
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Mar 25, 2015

Obama slows withdrawal of U.S. troops in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Tuesday granted Afghan requests to slow the drawdown of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and said he would maintain a force of 9,800 through the end of 2015 while sticking to a 2017 exit plan.

Capping a day of VIP treatment for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the White House, Obama said the U.S. force would be kept at its current strength to train and assist Afghan forces, who took over responsibility for the fight against Taliban and other Islamic militants at the start of the year.

Mar 24, 2015

Obama: U.S. to maintain troop levels in Afghanistan through 2015

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Tuesday granted Afghan requests to slow the drawdown of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and said he would maintain a force of 9,800 through the end of 2015 while sticking to a 2017 exit plan.

Obama said the speed of the reduction in 2016 would be established later this year and the goal remained to consolidate U.S. forces in the country to a presence at the Kabul embassy at the end of 2016.

Mar 24, 2015

Obama: Differences with Israel’s Netanyahu not personal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that his differences with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are not personal but are based on fundamental policy differences over Middle East peace.

Obama said it was hard to envision a path to a two-state solution to the conflict – long sought by the United States – given Netanyahu’s pre-election comments that a Palestinian state would not be established on his watch.

Mar 15, 2015

Obama jokes about Clinton email, knocks Republicans at dinner

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama took aim at his Republican opponents and his gaffe-prone vice president on Saturday in a satirical speech that included a roast of his former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over her recent problems with email.

Obama joined Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, a potential Republican contender for the 2016 presidential election, and Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe of Virginia for the annual Gridiron dinner, an evening of song and skits making light of major players in U.S. politics.

Mar 13, 2015

Obama says more work needed to improve veterans’ care

PHOENIX (Reuters) – Making his first stop at a troubled veterans facility in Phoenix that sparked a political crisis for his administration, President Barack Obama said on Friday that progress has been made but more work is needed to address delays for care.

Obama joined a group of veterans and lawmakers, including Arizona Senator John McCain, his opponent in the 2008 presidential race, at the medical center that prompted outrage after revelations that wait-list delays had been covered up.

Mar 13, 2015

Obama says doesn’t text, tweet, or have a smart phone that records

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – President Barack Obama doesn’t send text messages, rarely composes his own tweets, and isn’t allowed to have a smart phone that contains a recording device, he said on Thursday.

And don’t ask him for Hillary Clinton’s email address. He won’t give it to you.

Mar 10, 2015

U.S. declares Venezuela a national security threat, sanctions top officials

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States declared Venezuela a national security threat on Monday and ordered sanctions against seven officials from the oil-rich country in the worst bilateral diplomatic dispute since socialist President Nicolas Maduro took office in 2013.

U.S. President Barack Obama signed and issued the executive order, which senior administration officials said did not target Venezuela’s energy sector or broader economy. But the move stokes tensions between Washington and Caracas just as U.S. relations with Cuba, a longtime U.S. foe in Latin America and key ally to Venezuela, are set to be normalized.

Mar 9, 2015

Obama emailed Clinton on her private address: White House

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton exchanged emails during her time as secretary of state, the White House said on Monday, confirming the president was aware that his potential successor used a private email address for government work.

Obama said in an interview with CBS on Saturday that he found out about Clinton’s use of a personal email account through recent news reports, but White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama was aware of her address earlier.

Mar 9, 2015

Obama declares Venezuela a threat to U.S. national security

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama issued an executive order on Monday declaring Venezuela a national security threat, sanctioning seven individuals and expressing concern about the Venezuelan government’s treatment of political opponents.

“Venezuelan officials past and present who violate the human rights of Venezuelan citizens and engage in acts of public corruption will not be welcome here, and we now have the tools to block their assets and their use of U.S. financial systems,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement.

Mar 8, 2015

On Selma anniversary, Obama says racial progress made but more needed

By Jeff Mason

SELMA, Ala. (Reuters) – With a nod to ongoing U.S. racial tension and threats to voting rights, President Barack Obama declared the work of the Civil Rights Movement advanced but unfinished on Saturday during a visit to the Alabama bridge that spawned a landmark voting law.

Obama, the first black U.S. president, said discrimination by law enforcement officers in Ferguson, Missouri, showed a lot of work needed to be done on race in America, but he warned it was wrong to suggest that progress had not been made.

    • About Jeff

      "Jeff Mason covers the White House for Reuters. He was the lead correspondent for President Barack Obama's 2012 campaign and has been posted in Washington since 2008, when he covered the historic race between Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain, traveling with all three candidates. Jeff has also been posted in Frankfurt, Germany, where he covered the airline industry and Brussels, Belgium, where he covered climate change and the European Union. He has appeared on MSNBC, CNN, BBC, and NPR. Jeff is a graduate of Northwestern University and a former Fulbright scholar."
      Joined Reuters:
      2000
      Languages:
      English, French, German, Spanish
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