(CNN) - In his last news conference of 2013, President Barack Obama answered questions on the Affordable Care Act, including the botched rollout of Healthcare.gov as well as his health care promise that won Politifact's "Lie of the Year."
The President also talked about the NSA's controversial surveillance program, a congressional push for additional sanctions on Iran, and his New Year's resolution.
(CNN) - Van Jones, author and co-founder of Rebuild the Dream, asserted Wednesday on CNN's "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien" that the White House underestimates its opponents.
Washington (CNN) - Several hundred union and other progressive activists sought to capitalize on the growing "Occupy Wall Street" protests Wednesday, holding a rally on Capitol Hill to demand new public spending on job creation and an end to federal budget cuts.
The rally, led by former White House clean energy adviser Van Jones, highlighted growing liberal frustration with a public policy agenda increasingly dominated by deficit reduction efforts as opposed to more traditional economic stimulus measures.
Las Vegas, Nevada (CNN) - The former White House environmental czar who quit last year after coming under fire from conservative commentators says this week's controversy over the firing of Shirley Sherrod is "a learning moment" for the nation.
Van Jones, who left his post on the Council on Environmental Quality in September 2009, spoke of the forced resignation of the Agriculture Department employee at a session of the Netroots Nation convention of progressive activists Friday.
Jones resigned after six months in office following a firestorm of criticism, particularly from Fox News host Glenn Beck, over some of his views and past statements. He was faulted specifically for a so-called "truther" petition he had signed calling for an investigation into government involvement of the September 11 attacks and derogatory comments he had made about Republicans caught on videotape well before joining the administration.
Washington (CNN) - While Van Jones may have left the White House under a cloud, the NAACP says that's not his whole story.
The group considers him a pioneering hero for the environment and civil rights - so much so that it is awarding him one of its highest honors Friday: an NAACP Image Award. It's a move that is just becoming public now, which is sure to stoke the fire from Jones critics.
Jones resigned in September 2009 from his position on the Council on Environmental Quality, under a firestorm of criticism over a petition he had signed and his comments about Republicans.
The Obama administration's "green czar" helped coordinate government agencies focused on delivering millions of green jobs to the ailing U.S. economy.
Jones said he was the victim of a "vicious smear campaign" based on "lies and distortions."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - As one so-called White House czar resigned over the weekend, President Obama announced the appointment of another one Monday, much to the frustration of Republican critics.
By some accounts, Obama has nearly 30 czars, who are officially called special advisers. The czars cover issues from AIDS and health care to Middle East peace.
Czars are nothing new. They date back to early presidents, including Franklin Roosevelt. Republicans also had czars: Richard Nixon had an energy czar, and George H.W. Bush appointed the first drug czar.
But the positions are not subject to congressional oversight or Senate confirmation, which rankles critics of the administration.
"What you see with President Obama is this reliance on czars," GOP strategist Kevin Madden said. "And I think there are probably even some corridors of power within the administration that probably didn't like the idea that you have czars that are encroaching on their policy portfolios."
David Gergen, a CNN contributor and former aide to past presidents, said the czar controversy has given Republicans an opening to question the administration's decisions.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The resignation of Obama administration figure Van Jones, following controversies over a petition he had signed and his comments about Republicans, did not come at the request of the president, the White House senior adviser said Sunday.
"Absolutely not - this was Van Jones' own decision," David Axelrod told NBC's "Meet the Press" when asked if the president had ordered the resignation.
The chairman of the House Republican Conference, Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, had called for Jones to resign or be fired.
"I think Van Jones did the right thing," Pence said Sunday about the resignation. "His extremist views and coarse rhetoric have no place in this administration."
Jones has frequently been dubbed a "green-jobs czar" for the administration.
"The president should suspend any future appointment of so called czars while the administration and the Congress carefully examines the background and qualifications of the more than 30 individuals who've been appointed to these czar positions," said Pence, speaking to reporters. "And the Congress ought to initiate a thorough inquiry into the constitutionality of this practice which has spanned Republican and Democrat administrations."
In a statement Saturday night, the White House said Jones was giving up his post at the Council on Environmental Quality, where he helped coordinate government agencies focused on delivering millions of green jobs to the ailing U.S. economy.
"On the eve of historic fights for health care and clean energy, opponents of reform have mounted a vicious smear campaign against me," Jones said in the statement. "They are using lies and distortions to distract and divide."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – A prominent Democratic strategist said Sunday that Republicans are trying to turn President Barack Obama’s administration into another “failed presidency” like that of former Democratic president Jimmy Carter.
“They’re going to keep gunning,” Democratic strategist Joe Trippi said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, referring to conservatives’ recent - and ultimately successful efforts - to target Obama’s green jobs adviser Van Jones over controversial comments he made before becoming a part of Obama’s White House team.
Related: White House adviser resigns amid 9/11 controversy
“This administration has the potential to be FDR or Jimmy Carter and I think the Republicans are going to do everything they can to make him Jimmy Carter, to create a failed presidency. That’s, unfortunately, what many of them want.”
Trippi, who served as the campaign manager for Gov. Howard Dean’s bid for the White House, also said he believed that Obama was genuinely interested in bipartisanship but that Republicans are not likely to respond to Obama’s efforts to reach across the aisle.
Obama has to “realize he’s sticking his hand out but many Republicans are just not ready to embrace it,” Trippi told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.
Republican strategist Ed Rollins disagreed with Trippi’s assessment of Obama’s relationship with the GOP.