Tales from the Trail

First draft: Talking to Afghans, Pakistanis

May 6, 2009

AFGHAN/KARZAIPresident Barack Obama will jump into the thorny issue of Afghan-Pakistani relations today as he meets with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan and Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari.

Afghan solution: pomegranates for poppies

April 23, 2009

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has an idea for dealing with the heroin trade in Afghanistan: pomegranates. AFGHANISTAN

First Draft: It’s Take-Your-Kids-To-The-White-House Day!

April 23, 2009

MASTERCARD/AMERICANEXPRESSJust as the cherry tree blossoms pass their peak and not long after the Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn, there’s another hallowed Washington spring tradition: Take Your Child To Work Day. That’s when Type A parents with Type A jobs bring their kids to the office to give them some idea of what Mom and Dad do for a living — and that includes people who work at the White House, the State Department and on Capitol Hill.

First Draft: It’s Earth Day — The Green and the Red

April 22, 2009

President Barack Obama  heads to Iowa later today for an Earth Day tour of a former Maytag plant which has been reconfigured to produce wind energy equipment, lining up the “green jobs” that the Obama administration is pushing as part of the future for the American heartland.

The First Draft: South of the Border

April 16, 2009

MEXICO/President Obama heads south to meet with Mexico President Felipe Calderon, to discuss drug-related violence, energy and trade. He leaves Andrews Air Force Base at around 10 a.m.

Bill and Hillary take to joint stage on Haiti

April 14, 2009

USA/USA/Haiti is a family concern for Washington power couple, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and husband former President Bill Clinton. 

The waste not, want not, method of crisis handling

March 9, 2009

So, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton created a stir last week by telling Europeans “never waste a good crisis” … which apparently reached the ears of everyone but the White House.

The First Draft: jobs jobs jobs

March 6, 2009

Guess what? There’s more bad news about the economy today.

Numbers out today show the unemployment rate has risen to its highest rate in 25 years as companies buckled under the strain of a recession that is showing no signs of ending. ECONOMY-JOBFAIR/

So is Clinton advising Obama on healthcare? White House won’t say

March 5, 2009

President Barack Obama turned his chief rival in the 2008 Democratic primaries, Hillary Clinton, into his secretary of state, but is he tapping her for advice on healthcare reform too?
Not clear. Clinton, who spearheaded a failed attempt to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system in the 1990s while her husband, Bill Clinton, was president, will be in Europe on Thursday, when Obama holds a “summit” on healthcare reform.
So has the White House consulted with the former first lady about the issue? OBAMA/
“You know, I don’t know if they have had wide-ranging conversations specifically with Secretary Clinton,” spokesman Robert Gibbs told a White House briefing.
“There are still a number of people around that were part of that effort that can be consulted,” he said.
Clinton’s failed efforts in the 90s were widely blamed for hurting her husband’s adminstration, with critics citing the secrecy of the process as one of its downfalls.
Thursday’s summit is meant to set a process in motion to reduce healthcare costs and extend insurance benefits to millions of Americans who are not covered.
Gibbs hinted that the White House would not repeat the former first lady’s mistakes.
“I think even those involved in previous efforts would acknowledge misgivings that they had about the way the process worked,” he said. “Tomorrow’s effort is intended to bring about a process that people can be assured is open.”

The First Draft: Downtown Gordon Brown

March 4, 2009

That Gordon Brown, he won’t leave town. The British Prime Minister speaks to Congress at 11 a.m., where he is expected to urge lawmakers to steer clear of protectionism. OBAMA-BRITAIN/