(CNN) - The Obama administration's top economic adviser, Larry Summers, will be stepping down from his post at the end of 2010, the White House announced Tuesday.
Summers, the director of the National Economic Council, will return to Harvard University, the White House said. His departure comes as the administration is struggling with poor reviews of its stewardship of the economy after a deep recession that has unemployment at nearly 10 percent.
"I will always be grateful that at a time of great peril for our country, a man of Larry's brilliance, experience and judgment was willing to answer the call and lead our economic team," President Barack Obama said in a statement on Summers' departure.
Updated 5:40 p.m.
Washington (CNN) - After two days of meetings and talks led by President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Israeli and Palestinian leaders leave Washington deadlocked over the contentious issue of Israeli settlements.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met alone behind closed doors Thursday, in a State Department room just outside Clinton's office. The one-on-one meeting followed their on-camera pledges to move the peace process forward and their hardy handshake with Clinton in the middle.
But several diplomatic sources involved in the summit said the two leaders emerged from their meeting in a stalemate over whether Israeli settlements should continue.
The two leaders met with Clinton to give a readout of their meeting.
According to Palestinian delegation member Fadi Elsalameen, the two leaders were very blunt about their opposing views.
Washington (CNN) - White House aides said Wednesday they do not expect President Barack Obama to call Shirley Sherrod, the black former USDA employee who resigned after a video clip of her discussing a white farmer surfaced earlier this week.
Obama did not appear at the White House briefing Wednesday to discuss the issue. At the briefing, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs apologized to Sherrod on behalf of the administration.
Last year, the president did make a surprise appearance at a briefing to address reporters regarding the controversy surrounding the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., even though White House officials had said he wouldn't speak publicly about it.
(CNN) - A White House official tells CNN a "longer look" now needs to be taken at the circumstances surrounding the firing of USDA official Shirley Sherrod.
"We're not sure what the ultimate result will be, but it's clear that with new information through the full speech, a longer look needed to be taken," the official told CNN's Suzanne Malveaux. "The White House contacted the department last night about the case and agreed, based on new evidence, that it should be reviewed."
A White House official told CNN Tuesday night that President Obama had been fully briefed after Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack's original decision and fully supported that decision. Vilsack says he's now willing to conduct a thorough review and consider additional facts.
(CNN) - President Barack Obama will visit the Gulf Coast region Friday, the White House announced.
"On Friday, June 4, President Barack Obama will return to the Louisiana Gulf Coast to assess the latest efforts to counter the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. More details will be released later today," the White House said in a statement.
Washington (CNN) - The Obama administration will no longer do joint briefings with BP on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, and instead will have former Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen handle the daily briefings on his own, senior administration officials told CNN on Tuesday.
According to the senior administration officials, the change is an effort to control the message, release accurate information about the oil spill and speak in one voice to deliver the daily message on latest developments.
Allen, the administration's point man on the oil spill, later told reporters in New Orleans that his job is to speak "very frankly with the American public."
"I think we need to be communicating with the American people through my voice as the national incident commander," he said.
The move comes amid growing frustration from the White House that BP is delivering inaccurate information and not being transparent, said the senior administration officials, who spoke on condition of not being identified by name.
Washington (CNN) - The Obama administration, eager to show it is responding to the Gulf Coast oil spill, will announce plans Tuesday to split up an Interior Department agency that oversees offshore drilling, White House officials confirmed.
Spokesman Robert Gibbs first sent out a Twitter with the news, and then confirmed its accuracy, addressing the "plan to split offshore drilling agency - one to inspect oil rigs and enforce safety, other to oversee leases, royalties."
The official announcement by the Department of Interior will be made at an afternoon news conference with Secretary Ken Salazar. According to a DOI release, Salazar will address new reforms "to toughen oversight of offshore oil and gas operations."
Salazar will propose splitting the Minerals Management Service, which is the government agency that oversees the oil business, into two separate ones.
Washington (CNN) - Megastars Beyonce and Jay-Z, accompanied by a small group of friends, visited the White House on Wednesday for a special tour that included the White House Situation Room, White House aides confirmed.
A photo, apparently taken of the group in the Situation Room, was released on the Web site Rap Radar. The photo shows Jay-Z sitting at the head of the table, the seat normally occupied by the president. He is surrounded by his wife, Beyonce, and others in his entourage.
White House tours for the public normally do not include a stop inside the Situation Room. When occupied by the president and his national security team, the room is typically used to mobilize the administration during a crisis situation and communicate to officials around the world. But one White House aide said special visitors occasionally get access to the Situation Room.
"It's not like there's classified information laying around," the aide said. "It's really just a conference room."
Last December, the White House posted a virtual tour of the Situation Room, touting it as "an exclusive look inside one of the most secure spaces in the country."
White House aides confirmed that Jay-Z and Beyonce stopped by before Jay-Z's concert Wednesday night at Washington's Verizon Center.
Washington (CNN) - After President Barack Obama's doctor gave him a "clean bill of health" over the weekend - with a recommendation to lower his cholesterol and continue to try to quit smoking - the White House was flooded Monday with questions about the president's habits and health.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs blamed Obama's elevated cholesterol level on a less-than-ideal diet he ate during the course of the campaign.
"I think he would be also the first to tell you that he has probably had a few more cheeseburgers and I think he would admittedly tell you he's had more desserts in the last year than I've seen him eat prior to this," Gibbs said.
He also said, now as president, Obama enjoys a White House kitchen and chef, completely at his disposal.
"I think most people will tell you that if it's available you're more likely to eat it. And I think he's had more access to sweets and desserts in the past year than he - look, those guys make good desserts over there and I think he's on more than one occasion sampled more than he needed to," Gibbs said.
The president's eating habits are not as healthy as people believe, Gibbs said.