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Dec 17, 2013

Former Microsoft exec to oversee Obamacare website overhaul

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Kurt DelBene, a recently retired Microsoft executive who headed the software giant’s Office unit, will spearhead efforts to continue the overhaul of the federal government’s website for health insurance, the government said on Tuesday.

DelBene, who starts his new job on Wednesday, will replace Jeffrey Zients, a long-time aide to President Barack Obama who starts a new job as top economic adviser at the White House in the new year.

Dec 16, 2013

White House adviser consulted Israeli officials on Iran deal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s national security adviser Susan Rice played host to a series of meetings with Israeli officials last week to try to gain their support for an interim deal with Iran aimed at containing Tehran’s nuclear program.

The meetings, announced in a White House statement on Sunday, arose from talks between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month as the United States tried to persuade a skeptical Israel to support the Iran deal.

Dec 11, 2013

Obama and Castro shake hands, Zuma humiliated at Mandela memorial

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama shook hands with Cuba’s Raul Castro at a memorial for Nelson Mandela on Tuesday, a rare gesture between the leaders of two ideological opponents that reflected the anti-apartheid hero’s spirit of reconciliation.

But the peace and harmony did not stretch to South African President Jacob Zuma, whom the crowd at the rain-soaked Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg booed and jeered as he prepared to give his closing address.

Dec 10, 2013

Obama’s handshake with Cuba’s Castro unplanned: White House aide

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (Reuters) – The White House on Tuesday played down President Barack Obama’s handshake with Cuban leader Raul Castro at Nelson Mandela’s memorial in South Africa, saying it went no further than pleasantries and does not signal a policy change.

“Nothing was planned in terms of the president’s role other than his remarks,” the deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, told reporters traveling with Obama. “He really didn’t do more than exchange greetings with (dignitaries on the podium) on his way to speak, it wasn’t a substantive discussion.”

Dec 10, 2013

Obama, halfway around the world, has message for Washington

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – President Barack Obama traveled halfway around the world on Tuesday to deliver a message he hoped would be heard by his political opponents back home, and some U.S. rivals abroad.

Obama’s speech at a rain-soaked soccer stadium in Johannesburg was perhaps the most electrifying moment of a day of remembrances about the life of Nelson Mandela, who died last Thursday at age 95.

Dec 10, 2013

Obama, Castro shake hands as world says farewell to peacemaker Mandela

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama shook hands with Cuba’s Raul Castro at a memorial for Nelson Mandela on Tuesday, a rare gesture between the leaders of the ideologically opposed nations that reflected the anti-apartheid hero’s spirit of reconciliation.

Castro smiled as Obama moved to shake his hand on the way to the podium before making a rousing speech in memory of the former South African president, one of the world’s great peacemakers, who died on Thursday aged 95.

Dec 9, 2013

Obama, Bush and big contingent head for Mandela memorial together

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (Reuters) – President Barack Obama, former President George W. Bush and their wives shared Air Force One on Monday on a flight to South Africa, where they will be joined by two other former presidents at a memorial service for the late Nelson Mandela.

The rare gathering is a sign of the respect Mandela – who died on Thursday at age 95 – held among both political parties in the United States.

Dec 9, 2013

Obama, Bush embark for Mandela memorial in South Africa

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (Reuters) – President Barack Obama embarked on a three-day trip on Monday with former President George W. Bush, leading a U.S. contingent to attend a memorial service in South Africa for the late Nelson Mandela.

On board Air Force One for a flight estimated at 16 hours were Obama and his wife, Michelle, Bush and his wife, Laura, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Dec 7, 2013

Obama takes up new agenda item after battering on healthcare

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama, battered by weeks of turmoil over the malfunctioning HealthCare.Gov website, turned to a fresh item on his agenda on Saturday as he pressured Republicans in Congress to extend benefits for jobless Americans.

It was a sign Obama may be slowly turning the corner from one of the worst crises of his five years in office, emerging bruised and weakened from the troubled rollout of his signature healthcare law, even as big challenges remain.

Dec 6, 2013

Obama, Bush, Clinton going to South Africa next week for Mandela memorial

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama and his two immediate predecessors, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, will all travel to South Africa to attend memorial events for Nelson Mandela, the former South African leader who died on Thursday.

Obama and his wife, Michelle, will be joined on Air Force One by Bush and his wife, Laura, on the trip to South Africa next week.

    • About Steve

      "A native of Chattanooga, Tennessee, Steve has worked for Reuters in Washington for 20 years, and spent 16 of those years at the White House covering Presidents Bush, Clinton and Bush. He covered the 2008 presidential campaign."
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