Tales from the Trail

Back at home, President Obama, family attend wedding

President Barack Obama got a brief respite from the euro zone debt crisis and an intensifying general election campaign on Saturday while attending the wedding of a top aide’s daughter with his family in his hometown.

The wedding of White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett’s daughter, Laura, on a balmy night brought Obama administration allies and friends to Jarrett’s home in a neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side.

Laura Jarrett was to marry fellow Harvard Law School graduate Tony Balkissoon, according to local news reports.

Notable guests included Attorney General Eric Holder; Ariel Investments chief executive and big-dollar Obama fundraiser John Rogers, Jr.; and business executive and civil rights activist Vernon Jordan, an adviser to former President Bill Clinton.

Obama and his family strolled to the wedding from their own home a few houses away. The president wore a light brown suit, first lady Michelle Obama was dressed in a cream-colored skirt, and their two daughters, Sasha and Malia, wore green and yellow dresses, respectively.

White House adviser says Obama to energize his base for November

USA/President Barack Obama adds a new item to his first-term to-do list: energize his most loyal supporters in a national get-out-the-vote campaign for the November congressional midterm elections.

That’s the message Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett delivered on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, where she predicted a robust White House campaign to encourage voters including blacks and Hispanics to get to the polls next month.

Obama has already been out trying to stir up enthusiasm among the younger voters. But that was just for starters.

The First Draft: White House takes a lonely road to openness on Crasher-gate

President Barack Obama’s senior adviser, Valerie Jarrett, feels the White House doesn’t need Congress to help it maintain openness on the Crasher-gate scandal. That’s why it’s chosen to eschew the limelight of a Capitol Hill hearing today. USA/

“We think we’ve really answered the questions fully,” she told ABC’s Good Morning America, while making the TV rounds to defend a White House decision not to send its social secretary to explain how a Virginia couple got into last week’s state dinner without an invitation.

“Having a full review up on the (White House) Web site, where everyone in the country — anyone who goes on our Web site — can read it, is the definition of transparency.”

Some U.S. health insurers deny coverage to abuse victims, White House notes

USA/In eight U.S. states and the capital, Washington, D.C., being beaten by your spouse or domestic partner can be deemed a “pre-existing condition” that a company can legally use as a reason to deny health insurance coverage. Valerie Jarrett, a top adviser to President Barack Obama, raised the issue in a web chat making the White House’s case for healthcare reform on Monday.

“In some states if you have been a victim of domestic violence, you can be considered as having a pre-existing condition,” Jarrett said as she hosted the chat on the White House website and on the Facebook social networking site, taking questions on an array of issues, many having to do with healthcare issues faced by members of minority groups.

Some of the participants in the webcast responded by posting outraged notes after she said it.

After the big speech, pyramids!

CAIRO – After the pressure of his big speech to the Islamic world had ended on Thursday, President Barack Obama got down to the serious business of all Egyptian travelers — visiting pyramids.
 
OBAMA/EGYPTSwapping his speech suit for beige chinos and a navy blue polo shirt, Obama helicoptered to the hot and dusty site of the Khufu pyramid with advisers David Axelrod, Valerie Jarrett, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and body man Reggie Love.
 
“This thing is huge,” he said standing at the base of the pyramid and urging Love to come for a closer look.
 
The pyramid is estimated to weigh 6 million tons and originally stood about 480 feet high.
 
“Hear that guys?” Obama shouted to reporters. “No evidence aliens actually built this.” 
 
The president avoided the temptation of riding a camel but watched as Emanuel, Jarrett and Love mounted the seated beasts and were  then lifted high in the air as the animals stood.
 
“I just want you guys to know,” he told accompanying reporters, “if you weren’t here, I’d get on a camel. I don’t want to give you guys the satisfaction.”
 
Obama toured the nearby sphinx with Dr. Zahi Hawass, secretOBAMA/EGYPTary of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, and pronounced it as awe inspiring.
 
And he visited the Solar Boat, a 130-foot vessel found buried near the pyramids.
 
At one point the president entered a subterranean tomb and called attention to one of the hieroglyphs with a round face and big ears.
 
“Hey, that looks like me,” a member of the group quoted him as saying. “Look at those ears.”

For more Reuters political news, click here.

Photo credits: Reuters/Larry Downing (Obama at sphinx; Obama in front of pyramid with Hawass)