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Dec 20, 2013

Obama looking for “sleep and sun” after challenging year

WASHINGTON, Dec 20 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama
declined to engage in a bout of political soul-searching on
Friday and said that despite a botched health care rollout and
stalled legislative initiatives, his year had not been all that
bad.

He acknowledged setbacks but declined to dwell on them at a
year-end news conference in the White House briefing room hours
before escaping Washington for two weeks of what he described as
“sleep and sun” in Hawaii.

Dec 20, 2013

Obama orders one-year review of sexual assault problem in military

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama ordered U.S. military leaders on Friday to conduct a one-year review of efforts to eliminate sexual assaults in the armed forces and toughen the response to such cases.

He acted in response to a spate of embarrassing sex-related incidents in the military that provoked strong calls for reform and a Pentagon report showing a 37 percent jump in the estimated number of cases of unwanted sexual contact last year.

Dec 17, 2013

Former Microsoft exec named to oversee Obamacare website

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration on Tuesday announced the appointment of a former Microsoft Corp executive to oversee its revamped HealthCare.gov website and expand on technology improvements achieved by the site’s outgoing czar, Jeffrey Zients.

Kurt DelBene, who recently retired as head of the software company’s Microsoft Office unit, will spearhead efforts to continue the overhaul of the website, which was set up to provide federally subsidized health insurance to millions of consumers in 36 states.

Dec 17, 2013

Tech executives press Obama to reform surveillance practices

WASHINGTON, Dec 17 (Reuters) – Technology company executives
pressed President Barack Obama on Tuesday to rein in the U.S.
government’s electronic spying after a court dealt a blow to
the administration’s surveillance practices.

Top executives from Apple, Google, Yahoo!
, Netflix, Comcast, AT&T,
Microsoft, Twitter, Facebook and other
companies met privately for more than two hours with Obama and
top White House aides.

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.

    • 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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