White House Correspondent, Washington, DC
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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.

Mar 7, 2015

Obama to make call to action in Selma anniversary visit

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama will call on Americans to carry forward the spirit of the Civil Rights Movement on Saturday during a visit to Selma, Alabama, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a march that sparked the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Obama, the first black U.S. president, will deliver remarks at the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where police and state troopers beat and used tear gas against peaceful marchers who were advocating against racial discrimination at the voting booth.

Mar 3, 2015

Exclusive: Obama says Iran must halt key nuclear work for at least a decade

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Iran must commit to a verifiable freeze of at least 10 years on sensitive nuclear activity for a landmark atomic deal to be reached, but the odds are still against sealing a final agreement, U.S. President Barack Obama told Reuters on Monday.

Interviewed at the White House, Obama moved to dial back tensions over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned speech to Congress on Tuesday opposing the Iran deal, saying it was a distraction that would not be “permanently destructive” to U.S. Israeli ties.

Mar 2, 2015

Obama, Israel’s Netanyahu clash over Iran diplomacy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu clashed over Iran nuclear diplomacy on Monday on the eve of the Israeli prime minister’s hotly disputed address to Congress, underscoring the severity of U.S.-Israeli strains over the issue.

Even as the two leaders professed their commitment to a strong partnership and sought to play down the diplomatic row, they delivered dueling messages – Netanyahu in a speech to pro-Israeli supporters and Obama in an interview with Reuters – that hammered home their differences on Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Mar 2, 2015

Exclusive: Obama hopes for U.S. embassy in Cuba before April summit in Panama

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama said on Monday that he hopes the United States will open an embassy in Cuba by the time of a Western Hemisphere summit in Panama in mid-April.

In an interview with Reuters, Obama also cautioned that it will take more time to fully establish normal relations with Cuba after more than a half-century rupture.

Mar 2, 2015

Exclusive: Nemtsov killing sign of worsening climate in Russia – Obama

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama said on Monday that the killing of opposition figure Boris Nemtsov is a sign of a worsening climate in Russia where civil rights and media freedoms have been rolled back in the last several years.

Nemtsov was gunned down near the Kremlin on Friday night in a gangland-style murder.

Mar 2, 2015

Exclusive: Obama sharply criticizes China’s plans for new technology rules

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Monday sharply criticized China’s plans for new rules on U.S. tech companies, urging Beijing to change the policy if it wants to do business with the United States and saying he had raised it with President Xi Jinping.

In an interview with Reuters, Obama said he was concerned about Beijing’s plans for a far-reaching counterterrorism law that would require technology firms to hand over encryption keys, the passcodes that help protect data, and install security “backdoors” in their systems to give Chinese authorities surveillance access.

Mar 2, 2015

Exclusive: Obama says Iran must halt nuclear work for at least a decade

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama said on Monday that Iran should commit to a verifiable freeze of at least 10 years on its nuclear activity for a landmark atomic deal to be reached, but said the odds were still against sealing a final agreement.

In an interview with Reuters at the White House, Obama said that a rift over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned speech to Congress opposing the Iran deal on Tuesday was a distraction that would not be “permanently destructive” to U.S. Israeli ties.

Feb 25, 2015

Obama vetoes Keystone XL pipeline, leaving it in limbo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Tuesday, as promised, swiftly vetoed a Republican bill approving the Keystone XL oil pipeline, leaving the long-debated project in limbo for another indefinite period.

The U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, after receiving Obama’s veto message, immediately countered by announcing the Republican-led chamber would attempt to override it by March 3.

    • 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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