President Barack Obama is well known as a basketball fanatic, but he might feel more like going for a jog after receiving a custom-made pair of New Balance running shows, embroidered with the words “President” and “Obama,” on them Friday night in Maine.
Tales from the Trail
from Photographers' Blog:
It all started out with a phone call from Reuters News Pictures Washington Editor In Charge Jim Bourg on Thursday night informing me there was a secret Presidential trip leaving on Saturday to an undisclosed destination which Reuters would like me to travel with the president on. I was told that this was very secretive and that I was not to mention it to anyone and that no details were available yet. I had been with President Obama on his secret trip to Baghdad last year, so it was pretty easy to figure out that the destination this time might be Afghanistan, a trip which had been highly anticipated since Obama became president 15 months ago. I was to expect to be contacted directly by the White House for a meeting to discuss the details. But I was to "open" the White House as the first Reuters photographer arriving there on Friday morning at 7am, my scheduled shift, and to go about my day as planned acting as if everything was normal. Nothing could be further from the truth.
GM's Lordstown, Ohio assembly plant has become a symbol of both GM's hard times and its best hopes for a turnaround after a $50 billion federal investment. A recent bump in sales because of the government's "Cash for Clunkers" program has allowed GM to call back more than 1,000 workers from layoff. So it was a natural backdrop for a return visit by President Obama, who held a roundtable with workers and then gave a stump speech from the factory floor for his economic policies and health care reform. But this is not your father's GM anymore and nothing about it as clear-cut as it seems -- even if you are the leader of the free world and head of the government that holds a controlling stake in the automaker. At one point, Obama -- veering from his prepared remarks -- suggested that health-care reform would allow the UAW-represented workers in the audience to negotiate better wages.
It’s May 4th, but the White House decided to celebrate Cinco de Mayo (the fifth of May) a day early.
That’s not exactly a breach of protocol, but introducing the Mexican ambassador and then not letting him speak kind of is.
That’s what President Barack Obama did on Monday at a White House ceremony to highlight the Mexican holiday.
“Welcome to Cinco de Cuatro — Cinco de Mayo at the White House,” Obama told a group of mostly Hispanic guests at the executive mansion. “We are a day early, but we always like to get a head start here at the Obama White House.”
After making brief remarks Obama introduced the Mexican ambassador, Arturo Sarukhan, and his wife, Valencia.
But as Sarukhan made his way to the podium, the president and first lady Michelle Obama made their way into the crowd and started shaking hands.
As crowds go, shaking hands with Barack Obama has a way of trumping speeches from Mexican ambassadors, so the noise level in the White House’s Grand Foyer rose and the ambassador looked like he wasn’t going to get to that speech.
Whoops. The president realized his mistake, stopped shaking hands, and came back to the podium to urge quiet.
“In an incredible breach of protocol, I introduced my good friend, the Ambassador, but he has greetings from the people of Mexico,” Obama said. “So I take complete responsibility for that. I apologize. Will everybody please settle down, and let’s hear from our Ambassador from Mexico.”
Applause, applause, and all was well. Sarukhan delivered his remarks and the crowd went back to partying.
The gaffe was not the only one to come out of the White House on Monday. Earlier in the day Vice President Biden’s office sent out a statement that it had to correct minutes later. The mistake? The boss’s name was misspelled.
“Vice President Buden Kicks Off $32 million Renovation and Restoration of Wilimington Train Station” the announcement read.