Washington (CNN) - What is a day at the Obama White House without the larger than life personality of former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel?
"I thought it would feel or look a lot different," said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. "I don't know why I thought that. It didn't, honestly," he added.
Emanuel stepped down last week to explore a run for Mayor of Chicago. Monday marked the first time in the Obama administration where someone other than Emanuel guided the senior staff meetings and 'started off' the President's day.
11:00 a.m. – – After a bustling week of 'firing up' the Democratic base in backyard chats and rallies, President Obama will spend the weekend off the trail and out of the fray at Camp David with first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia.
The brief respite comes as the 2010 midterm elections loom ever closer, and both Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are scheduled to hit the campaign trail yet again next week.
2:44 p.m.: There is a large group of protesters on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House.
U.S. Park Police say they expect to arrest about 100 of them for "failure to obey a lawful order.
The group has a permit, but some of the protesters aren't following the rules said a park spokesman.
New York (CNN) - President Obama's address to the United Nations covered a lot of ground, but the Mideast peace process dominated his remarks.
Obama delivered 1,082 words on the subject, as he issued an urgent appeal for all nations to help push the peace process across the finish line.
According to Mideast expert Aaron David Miller, this heavy focus demonstrates the Obama administration's deep desire to see a breakthrough on its watch.
Washington (CNN) – Despite its carefully choreographed set-up, President Obama also encountered a few humorous, unscripted moments at a backyard discussion on health care at a private residence in Fairfax, Virginia on Wednesday.
Following a question and answer session to mark the sixth month since his signing of health care reform, the president shook hands with a man who informed Mr. Obama that his daughter had just graduated from the alma mater of Rahm Emanuel, the White House Chief of Staff, and that his son shared a similar background with Emanuel. "Tell Rahm Emanuel my daughter just graduated from Sarah Lawrence College, and my son's a ballet dancer," said the man, a neighbor of the host of the event. "So you and he connect huh," the president said to laughter.
President Obama's departing director of the National Economic Council, Larry Summers, says part of his reason for stepping down was out of a "desire to think fundamental thoughts."
In an email exchange with this reporter, Summers, who helped the President develop and implement his economic policy in the first two years of his administration, also seemed eager to return to his home state of Massachusetts.
He was a frequent flyer on the shuttle between Boston's Logan airport and Reagan National, sometimes spotted carrying a soft canvas bag and hailing a cab into town.
During one commute we shared a taxi to the White House.
11:10 a.m. - Just bumped into a downright jovial Elizabeth Warren arriving at the northwest gate of the White House ahead of the president's unveiling of her as a new special assistant.
Warren told me she's "very confident" she will have real power to get the new consumer protection agency set up with some teeth, based on reassuring conversations she has had with President Obama .
Critics have wondered whether Obama is bypassing a Senate confirmation battle - by making her special adviser instead of the confirmable director of the new agency - and will leave her a toothless tiger.
But Warren just told me unequivocally she's fired up and ready to "get some things done" immediately.
Editor's note: Look for regular White House Dispatch updates from CNN's anchors, correspondents and producers at the White House and traveling with President Obama. As always, the CNN Political Ticker is your source for up-to-the-minute political news– now even more so.
9:30 a.m. - A White House official just told me that the formal announcement on Elizabeth Warren will NOT happen today.
News broke late Wednesday that President Obama had settled on frontrunner Warren to a new advisory role in setting up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau a move that would sidestep a potential senate confirmation showdown.
And this morning a few more details from a Democratic official:
"The President is appointing Elizabeth Warren to be an Assistant to the President and Special Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In this role, Ms. Warren will report directly to the President and to Secretary Geithner and lead the Administration's work in standing up the CFPB, a task that was assigned to the Treasury in the Wall Street Reform Act."
Virginia farmer John Boyd rolled into town Thursday on his red tractor, rumbling past the White House on his way to Capitol Hill. (PHOTO CREDIT: Dan Lothian/CNN)
8:45 a.m. - During my coffee break this morning, I came across Virginia farmer John Boyd. He was rolling into town on his red tractor, rumbling past the White House on his way to Capitol Hill.
It's a dramatic way to get the attention of Congress which has yet to fund more than a billion dollars in a settlement case for black farmers who were discriminated against decades ago.
This is a story first highlighted in the mainstream media by my colleague Ed Henry, who continues to pursue the efforts of black farmers to get the money they insist they deserve. An effort, as they put it to "sow seeds of justice."
Washington (CNN) - Just got off the phone with top Democratic strategist Steve Elmendorf, and like other White House allies I've spoken to today he's just positively euphoric the morning after the choice voters now have in Delaware after Tea Party favorite Christine O'Donnell's stunning Tuesday night victory in the Republican Senate primary.
"The Republicans basically gave away a Senate seat," Elmendorf practically yelled into the telephone. "This woman can not win. Just look at the tone of what the NRSC and Karl Rove said."
Indeed, the National Republican Senatorial Committee says it will not give O'Donnell any money after she knocked off their preferred candidate, moderate Rep. Mike Castle. And Rove is suggesting O'Donnell has "serious character problems" that will likely throw Vice President Joe Biden's old Senate seat into the hands of Democratic nominee Chris Coons.
Top White House aides largely agree with Elmendorf - and oddly enough Rove too - that Democrats have just taken back a Senate seat that was probably lost if Castle had won the primary. He had been elected statewide about a dozen times as governor and Congressman, while O'Donnell is a wild card.