Guess what? There’s more bad news about the economy today.
Tales from the Trail
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?
“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.”
It’s not yet 9:00 on a Monday morning, and the federal government has already dumped another $30 billion into the tottering financial system. The money goes to insurer American International Group Inc., which just announced a fourth-quarter loss of $61.7 billion — the largest quarterly loss in corporate history.
Good day you hosers!
President Barack Obama takes off to the Great White North today on his first foreign jaunt as president. Trade will top the agenda in Ottawa as Obama seeks to ease concerns about protectionism. He’ll also discuss the war in Afghanistan and clean energy technology with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Canadian Parlaiment, but the one-day trip leaves little time to get into details. Too bad, eh?
Is U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to Jakarta a hint that President Barack Obama will pick Indonesia as the first Muslim country he visits in his drive to improve U.S. relations with the Islamic world? There were lots of other suggestions when he first mentioned this back in December, including Egypt (the New York Times pick) and Morocco (judging by what might have been a write-in campaign on our comments page).
WASHINGTON – Hillary Clinton went on a charm offensive with France’s foreign minister on Thursday, fondly recalling many trips to Paris and heaping praise on the country’s education system as a model for America.
Clinton has played up the Transatlantic relationship this week, choosing to meet first with the foreign ministers of Britain, Germany and France in her second week as new U.S. secretary of state.
“I have been to France many times and I always have a good impression. I enjoy visiting in France,” the former first lady and New York senator said at a joint news conference with France’s Bernard Kouchner at the State Department.
She recalled meeting Kouchner’s wife “longer ago than Christine or I care to admit” and said she was impressed by the country’s preschool facilities, prompting her to return home to try and get the United States to follow France’s example.
“I not only have enjoyed my time in France but I have learned a lot from my visits. I look forward to returning,” she added. “As soon as possible,” gushed Kouchner, beaming at her side.
The Bush administration had a prickly relationship with France at the time of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, to the extent that in congressional cafeteria the words “French fries” were changed to “Freedom fries” on menus.
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