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Dec 17, 2014

U.S. moves to normalize relations with Cuba in dramatic shift

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States and Cuba are moving to normalize diplomatic relations more than 50 years after they were severed in a historic shift in policy, President Barack Obama was set to announce on Wednesday.

Senior U.S officials, previewing Obama’s 12 p.m. ET announcement, said the United States and Cuba will move to open embassies in each other’s capitals. Obama spoke on Tuesday to Cuban President Raul Castro to discuss the changes in a call that lasted nearly an hour.

Dec 17, 2014

Jeb Bush explores 2016 U.S. presidential run

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Jeb Bush is actively exploring a run for the U.S. presidency in 2016, making the former Florida governor with the famous political last name one of the first major Republicans to formally move toward a possible candidacy.

Bush, 61, said on Tuesday he will establish a political action committee in January, a step that an aide said will allow him to engage politically with supporters and potential donors and determine whether sufficient support exists for a run.

Dec 16, 2014

Jeb Bush says he will explore 2016 U.S. presidential run

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Jeb Bush announced on Tuesday he is actively exploring a run for the U.S. presidency in 2016, making the former Florida governor with the famous political last name one of the first major Republicans to formally move toward a possible candidacy.

Bush, 61, who has not held public office since 2007, would have to come to terms with increasingly powerful conservatives in the Republican Party in order to best what is expected to be a crowded Republican field in 2016.

Dec 15, 2014

Obama vows no safe haven for Islamic State

By Steve Holland

FORT DIX, N.J. (Reuters) – President Barack Obama used a holiday season visit to a U.S. military base on Monday to issue a tough warning to Islamic State militants, saying a U.S.-led coalition will permit no safe haven to the group and will destroy it eventually.

Obama spoke to hundreds of camouflage-wearing troops in a hangar at Fort Dix to thank the U.S. military for its actions around the world. In a display of bipartisan support for the troops, Obama was joined by New Jersey’s Republican Governor Chris Christie, a potential candidate to succeed Obama in 2016.

Dec 5, 2014

Obama promises more aid, loan guarantees to Jordan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama said on Friday that the United States and its allies are making slow but steady progress in the fight against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, and he pledged new aid to Jordan to grapple with Syrian refugees.

Obama and Jordan’s King Abdullah made a show of solidarity against Islamic State, holding Oval Office talks that covered the gamut from Iran’s nuclear program to tensions between Israel and the Palestinians.

Dec 5, 2014

Obama nominates Ashton Carter for Pentagon chief

WASHINGTON (Reuters) РU.S. President Barack Obama nominated longtime Defense Department understudy Ashton Carter as his fourth defense secretary on Friday to replace Chuck Hagel, the lone Republican in Obama’s Cabinet, who resigned last week after disagreements with the White House.

In Carter, Obama gets a policy expert who has worked for 11 defense secretaries. The 60-year-old Carter pronounced himself ready to give Obama candid, strategic advice once he clears U.S. Senate confirmation, which should move fairly quickly.

Dec 4, 2014

Obama sketches 2015 agenda of taxes, trade; meets McConnell

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Wednesday laid out a business-friendly legislative agenda for next year that hinges on whether he and the new Republican Congress can set aside long-simmering disputes and find common ground.

Obama also spoke one-on-one in the Oval Office with Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, whose party routed Democrats in midterm elections last month and who will become Senate majority leader in January.

Dec 3, 2014

Obama says China’s Xi has consolidated power quickly, worrying neighbors

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama said on Wednesday that Chinese President Xi Jinping had consolidated power more quickly than any Chinese leader in decades, raising human rights concerns and worrying China’s neighbors.

Obama, who met Xi last month in Beijing, told the Business Roundtable group of top U.S. chief executives that the Chinese leader had won respect in the short time since he had taken over.

Dec 3, 2014

Obama settles on Ashton Carter as Pentagon chief, sources say

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Can a career Washington technocrat break into U.S. President Barack Obama’s tight-knit inner circle and oversee the world’s most powerful military?

It looks like former Pentagon official Ashton Carter is about to find out.

Administration sources said on Tuesday that Obama has settled on the 60-year-old Carter as his fourth defense secretary, with an announcement expected in coming days once he is thoroughly vetted.

Dec 2, 2014

Obama expected to nominate Ashton Carter to lead Pentagon

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former Pentagon official Ashton Carter emerged on Tuesday as the expected nominee to replace Chuck Hagel as U.S. defense secretary, sources familiar with the situation said.

Carter, a former deputy secretary at the Department of Defense, would have the task of breaking into the tight-knit White House inner circle that President Barack Obama has leaned on to run national security policy.

    • 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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