President Obama led the annual Easter Egg Roll at the White House Monday. (Getty Images)
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama and the rest of the first family teamed up with an extremely oversized rabbit Monday to the host the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, much to the delight of visiting children from across the country.
The theme of this year's festivities was "Ready, Set, Go!" - a reference to first lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" initiative, which is designed to address the problem of childhood obesity.
The first family kicked off the event, which dates back to 1878, shortly before 11 a.m., appearing with the Easter Bunny on the White House's South Portico, a balcony overlooking the residence's sprawling South Lawn.
(CNN) - Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele defended his leadership of the organization amid recent reports he has engaged in excessive spending, and says he has a "slimmer margin for error" because he is African-American.
"Barack Obama has a slimmer margin," Steele said in an interview on ABC's 'Good Morning America.' "We all - a lot of folks do. I mean, it's a different role for me to play and others to play. And that's just the reality of it. It's more of because you're not somebody they know. I am not a Washington insider even though I grew up in DC. My view of politics is much more grassroots-oriented. It's not old-boy-network-oriented."
The interview was Steele's first since reports surfaced that the RNC paid for a night out at a risqué Hollywood nightclub. Steele has also come under criticism for the costs associated with his use of private jets, limousines, and five-star hotels.
(CNN) - A third straight poll of California voters indicates that Meg Whitman has a slight lead over Jerry Brown in this year's battle for California governor.
A Los Angeles Times/University of Southern California survey released Monday indicates that Whitman's multi-million dollar television commercial campaign has erased her once-unknown status in the Golden State.
If the general election for California governor were held today, 44 percent of registered voters in the state would back Whitman, with 41 percent supporting Brown, according to the poll. Whitman's three point advantage is within the survey's sampling error. Fourteen percent of those questioned say they are undecided.
Whitman also narrowly leads Brown in two other recent surveys, by three points in a Field Poll and five points in a Public Policy Institute of California survey.
Whitman is the billionaire former CEO of eBay who also served as an adviser and surrogate in 2008 for Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign. Brown is California's attorney general and former two-term governor from 1975-1983.
The first family, shown here in a 2009 file photo, attended Easter service at a southeast Washington church Sunday. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama and his family chose a historically African-American church in southeast Washington, D.C., for Easter observances Sunday, entering a few minutes late to the sounds of "Alleluia," which opened the 11 a.m. service.
Congregants at the Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church broke into cheers and applause, snapping cell phone pictures when Obama, wife Michelle, daughters Malia and Sasha, and mother-in-law Marian Robinson arrived via a side door.
Several speakers during the service acknowledged the first family's attendance at the church, which calls itself "The Cathedral of Southeast."
The church's pastor, the Rev. Dr. Michael E. Bell Sr., referred to the president as the "most intelligent, most anointed, most charismatic president," while complimenting Michelle Obama, who wore a cream-colored dress with elbow-length sleeves.
Bell also acknowledged the timing of Obama's visit to the church, five days after a March 30 shooting spree in the region killed four people and wounded five others.
Washington (CNN) - When President Obama throws out the first pitch at the Washington Nationals' season opener on Monday, he will kick off not only a new baseball season but also a new round of fundraisers at Nationals Park.
Though Obama won't be raising any cash himself on game day, his appearance will be the backdrop for at least one ballpark fundraiser Monday, the first of what Nationals President Stan Kasten hopes will be many political events held at the stadium this season.
Since Nationals Park first opened in March 2008, Kasten has actively encouraged political operatives of all ideological stripes to hold their fundraisers and receptions at the ballpark, as opposed to more conventional venues such as restaurants or hotel ballrooms.
(CNN) - Extended unemployment benefits will temporarily expire for thousands of Americans on Monday because the Senate went on its spring recess without approving a one-month deadline extension.
The extension, which had bipartisan support, would have cost about $10 billion, but a lone Republican, Sen. Tom Coburn, said no until the costs are offset.
The Oklahoma senator objected to a commonly used unanimous-consent agreement to pass the bill under emergency conditions, even if it increases the federal deficit. Coburn wants to eliminate additional government spending to pay for the bill.
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CNNMoney: Economic tide has turned – White House
The slow but steady U.S. economic recovery appears set to continue, with underlying indicators signaling a growing strength, some of the nation's senior economists said Sunday.
CNN: Geithner delays report, sidesteps China currency policy
President Barack Obama's senior economic adviser said Sunday that the government was delaying a report to Congress on exchange-rate policies of U.S. trading partners to provide more time to address China's alleged manipulation of its currency.
Bloomberg: Obama Focuses on Three Candidates to Succeed Justice Stevens
The Obama administration, likely to learn in the next several weeks whether Justice John Paul Stevens will retire, is focusing on three candidates to succeed him, a White House official familiar with the deliberations said. The group includes U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan and federal appellate judges Diane Wood and Merrick Garland, the person said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Salt Lake Tribune: Obama panel examines nation's nuclear waste issues
Two recent announcements from the Obama administration have energized nuclear power advocates. The first is his plan to offer $18.5 billion in loan guarantees for new nuclear plants; the other, a task force to look at the dangerously radioactive waste often blamed for delaying what some anticipate will be a nuclear renaissance. More than a few Utahns are keeping an eye on the new Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future. Tooele County includes the nation's largest low-level radioactive waste disposal site, the mile-square EnergySolutions landfill, and the nation's only high-level nuclear site licensed in the past three decades, the derailed Private Fuel Storage facility on the Goshute reservation in Skull Valley. Both sites have generated controversy in Utah for decades. Now, they could become part of a national nuclear strategy.
Boston Globe: Gains for Pakistan bear Kerry’s mark
The president of Pakistan recently sent Senator John F. Kerry flowers. Pakistan’s powerful army chief spent three hours at Kerry’s house recently for dinner. And soon, officials in Islamabad will confer on Kerry the “hilal-e-Pakistan’’ — the highest honor given to a foreigner. …As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry has been the president’s point man on providing billions of dollars in aid to Pakistan aimed at improving the US image there and strengthening the uneasy alliance with Islamabad. Both goals are considered essential for US success next door in Afghanistan.
Politico: Obama's mission: Saving Gov. Patrick
President Barack Obama raised $2.5 million for the Democratic National Committee Thursday night, but his trip to Boston had another, less publicized purpose — saving Deval Patrick. Few politicians are as close to Obama as the Massachusetts Democratic governor or have deeper ties to the president and his core team of advisers. And almost no one faces a tougher reelection battle this year than Patrick, whose disapproval ratings would be considered near-terminal if not for the three-way race that he currently finds himself in. As a result, the White House is looking to every weapon in its arsenal to help Patrick win a second term.