Tales from the Trail

from MediaFile:

Obama tech dinner photos offer fodder for Silicon Valley Kremlinologists

ObamaCarIt’s Kremlinology day in Silicon Valley as industry-watchers pore over the details of the two photographs released by the White House of President Obama’s big dinner with the lords of the tech world.

Who sat where, who was drinking what, and what does it all signify, were among the top questions under debate the morning after the commander-in-chief and fourteen guests broke bread at the house of venture capitalist John Doerr.

If proximity to the president is the key measure of clout, then Facebook wunderkind Mark Zuckerberg and Apple CEO Steve Jobs won top honors, with both executives flanking Obama at the dinner table, as can be seen in this picture.

The White House denied press photographers access to the event, so Reuters and several other media outlets are not publishing the photos. But you can find them here.

Whether the White House's official dinner-table photo was deliberately shot from an angle to show only Jobs’ back was a subject of speculation, coming a day after the National Enquirer published photos which seemed to show Jobs -- who is currently on medical leave from Apple -- outside a cancer center looking particularly frail.

Washington Extra – Cool science

In the cool equation, can science equal sports in school?

President Barack Obama today tried to promote math and science as exciting pursuits for America’s youth.

OBAMA/At the Intel Corporation in Oregon, Obama showcased the possibilities by describing his encounters during the visit.

“It gave them a chance to talk about things like quantum ternary algorithms, and it gave me a chance to nod my head and pretend that I understood what they were talking about,” he said.

Washington Extra – Royal news

bahraintowerCalling Bahrain.

As is increasingly the case, the United States is finding that talking pro-democracy is one thing. Dealing with the aftermath of uprisings another.

U.S. officials have been on the telephone with officials in Bahrain urging restraint after police attacked anti-government protesters.

The tiny Gulf kingdom that is home of the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet becomes another U.S. ally in the Middle East seeing unrest with protesters wanting their leaders gone.

Washington Extra – New guy

The crowds, the anticipation, the time checks…

Jay Carney’s first appearance behind the podium in the White House press room as President Barack Obama’s new press secretary had all the markings of a mini-movie premiere… Beltway style. USA/

As the hands on the clock passed 12:30 p.m. the tweeting began — he’s late! On the first day!

No detail was too small to note. “Thanks for retiring the pastel ties. No offense to Robert, but it’s nice to see a dark tie,” one reporter said. We think the color was either plum, maroon, or a combination of both.

New White House press secretary Carney sounds a few familiar notes

President Barack Obama’s new press secretary, Jay Carney, took a few phrases out of his predecessor’s playbook during his first stint at the White House podium.

It turns out that he, like Robert Gibbs, is not an economist. And he doesn’t want to speculate. And he refers you to the (insert relevant department here) for further details on questions that were not entirely on his radar. USA/

Despite those familiar dodges — “I’m not an economist” was a favorite line of Gibbs — Carney did show up prepared on Wednesday.

Washington grow up? Don’t hold your breath

President Barack Obama said he wants a mature discussion between politicians of all stripes as the White House and members of Congress try to make tough decisions on spending and taxes necessary to run the government and deal with a ballooning budget deficit.obama1

“My hope is that what’s different this time is, is we have an adult conversation where everybody says here’s what’s important and here’s how we’re going to pay for it,” Obama told a news conference Tuesday.

Don’t hold your breath.

Obama campaigned for the presidency in 2008 with a pledge to seek common ground between Democrats and Republicans, but his time in office has been marked by bitter fighting and few issues garnering bipartisan support.

Washington Extra – Back pat

President Barack Obama wasn’t shy about praising his handling of the revolution in Egypt.

USA-BUDGET/“I think history will end up recording that at every juncture in the situation in Egypt that we were on the right side of history,” Obama said at a news conference.

“What we didn’t do was pretend that we could dictate the outcome in Egypt, because we can’t,” he said. So if the United States didn’t dictate the outcome, what did it do?

Why are these politicians smiling?

IMMIGRATION-USA/SECURITYSocial Security reform is coming. You can tell by the smiling nice guy personas being adopted around Washington in uncommon bipartisan fashion.

There’s Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, the senior Republican on the Senate Budget Committee. “If we’re smart, we can adjust those programs in ways that minimize the impact,” he reassures the viewers of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

After all, Sessions says there’s no reason seniors should have to worry about losing their Social Security (who says they would?) or see it “savaged in any significant way.”

Washington Extra – Cake cutting

Everyone SAYS they want to cut the budget deficit, but when it comes to actually agreeing on a course of action, it’s not exactly a piece of cake.  GERMANY/

President Barack Obama says his budget plan would halve the deficit by 2013. “So what we’ve done here is make a down payment, but there’s going to be more work that needs to be done, and it’s going to require Democrats and Republicans coming together to make it happen,” he said.

But Democrats and Republicans are far from seeing eye-to-eye on how to go about deficit cutting.

Budget and bipartisanship don’t mix on Valentine’s Day

Where’s the love?

Despite all the (whining?) and dining at the White House in the hopes of  bipartisanship and civility, Republicans got out the trash-talk for  President Barack Obama’s 2012 budget proposal.

USA-BUDGET /Since Republicans control the House, and Democrats the Senate and White House, bipartisan action will be needed if any progress is to be made. Congressional Correspondent Richard Cowan takes a look at how the budget process works here.

Obama released a $3.7 trillion proposal as the first salvo in the annual budget wars. Republicans immediately marched out their disapproval.