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Feb 11, 2014

Barack and Francois take center stage at White House

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – There were no “freedom fries” or any other remembrances from strained Franco-American ties in the past. Instead, it was dry-aged beef and plenty of bonhomie as President Barack Obama gave a lavish welcome to French President Francois Hollande.

Obama went out of his way to welcome Hollande at the White House on Tuesday, saying a few words in passable French, teasing the Frenchman for his formality and toying with the notion that U.S. ties with France are as close as they are with old ally Britain.

Feb 11, 2014

Obama says U.S. will deal harshly with violators of Iran sanctions

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama issued a sharp warning on Tuesday to companies eyeing business deals with Iran, saying the United States would come down like a “ton of bricks” on those that violated sanctions against Tehran.

Obama, speaking at a joint news conference with French President Francois Hollande, said France and other allies were committed to enforcing existing sanctions even as they worked together on a possible a diplomatic deal over Iran’s nuclear program.

Feb 10, 2014

Hollande visit reflects stronger U.S.-French ties despite spy row

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – French President Francois Hollande starts a visit to the United States on Monday with spats over U.S. eavesdropping and trade talks with the EU unlikely to chill a relationship now far warmer than before the 2003 U.S.-led war on Iraq.

Hollande, 59, who split from his partner last month after an affair with an actress, arrives solo for the first state visit hosted by President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle in nearly 2-1/2 years.

Feb 10, 2014

French president coming alone to White House this week

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – White House officials are giving a dismissive Gallic shrug to French President Francois Hollande’s personal drama and preparing a state visit to showcase strong U.S.-French cooperation on a host of global priorities.

Hollande, 59, who just broke up with his longtime partner after an alleged affair with a much younger actress, arrives solo on Monday to begin two days of pomp and ceremony including a high-profile visit to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello estate.

Feb 5, 2014

Obama vows to help Democrats in 2014 in third day of talks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama spent part of a third straight day on Wednesday talking to congressional Democrats about an agenda for the year that party leaders hope will help them make gains or limit losses in November elections.

Obama trooped over to the Washington Nationals baseball stadium for a private session with Senate Democrats in a meeting room in a section of the stadium behind home plate. Former President Bill Clinton also addressed the group.

Feb 4, 2014

The pen, phone and iPad: Obama’s tech push in U.S. schools

ADELPHI, Maryland (Reuters) – President Barack Obama has a pen. He has a phone. And on Tuesday, he wielded an iPad to help make a point about how he hopes to do more for schools without more funding from Congress.

Obama toured Buck Lodge Middle School in Adelphi, Maryland, where seventh-grade students were using tablets to work on math problems based on the Rover explorer on Mars.

Feb 3, 2014

Obama says Kerry to ‘give me a recommendation’ on Keystone project

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama made clear he would make the ultimate call on whether to approve the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline from Canada, and played down the number of jobs the project could create in a Fox News interview to air on Monday.

In recent days, officials from the White House and State Department have emphasized Secretary of State John Kerry’s role in determining whether the $5.4 billion project should go ahead, and have shied away from describing Obama’s role.

Feb 1, 2014

Obama’s executive actions: the power of taking small steps

WASHINGTON, Feb 1 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s sixth
year in office is starting out as a testament to the power of
taking small steps.

Frustrated by congressional gridlock, he has turned to the
“pen and the phone” to provoke a “year of action” with a flurry
of executive orders, directives, meetings and reviews to get his
presidency back on track after the difficulties he encountered
last year.

Jan 29, 2014

Obama to lay out go-it-alone approach in State of Union speech

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama will lay out his strategy for getting around a divided Congress starting with a wage hike for federal contract workers in a State of the Union speech on Tuesday that reflects scaled-back legislative ambitions after a tough year.

Obama will say in his 9 p.m. EST (0200 GMT Wednesday) address that he will bypass fractious U.S. lawmakers and go it alone in some areas with a series of executive actions aimed at boosting the middle class, many that do not require congressional approval.

Jan 28, 2014

Obama to lay out go-it-alone approach in big speech

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama will lay out a strategy for getting around a divided Congress and boosting middle-class prosperity on Tuesday in a State of the Union speech that reflects some scaled-back legislative ambitions after a difficult year.

Obama will make clear in his 9 p.m. EST address that he is willing to bypass U.S. lawmakers and go it alone in some areas by announcing a series of executive actions that do not require congressional approval.

    • 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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