(CNN) - First lady Michelle Obama cast an early vote ballot in her home city of Chicago Thursday.
Obama cast her ballot at the MLK Community Center on the South Side of Chicago while she there as part of a campaign swing for Democratic candidates, her office confirmed Thursday morning. Early voting in Illinois began Monday.
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.
Washington (CNN) – First lady Michelle Obama made an unannounced visit to Walter Reed Medical Center on Friday as part of her "regular private meetings and interaction with military families," according to an official in her office.
In addition to her public events on military bases and other venues that are a part of her official schedule, the First Lady also has private meetings with military families both in Washington and as she travels around the country, according to the official. "It's a good way for her to get informal input and advice from military family members from across the country on how the administration and our country can better support military families," the official said.
At an event with military families in May, the first lady announced that President Obama had directed his national security staff to lead a 90-day review to develop a coordinated federal government-wide approach to support and engage military families.
Red, white, and blue dominate the preparations for Sunday's July 4 barbecue on the South Lawn of the White House. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Washington (CNN) – Members of the military and their families will be the guests of honor at a Fourth of July celebration at the White House Sunday.
In addition to a barbecue and an opportunity to watch fireworks over the National Mall, President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will host a USO concert on the White House South Lawn featuring Brandi Carlile, Cedric "The Entertainer," The Killers, and "The President's Own" U.S. Marine Band.
In a message entitled "Supporting Our Military Families" emailed from the White House Sunday, the first lady called on all Americans to find a way in their communities to support members of the military and their families. "A small percentage of Americans fight our wars, but we need 100 percent of Americans to support these brave men and women and their families back home," Mrs. Obama said in her message.
The first lady said she and the president will welcome more than 1,200 service members and their families to the White House festivities.
Washington (CNN) - Business leaders from the automotive, food and biofuels, and media worlds were lunch guests of President Barack Obama at the White House on Thursday.
Roger Ferguson, president and CEO of TIAA-CREF; Bob Iger, president and CEO of The Walt Disney Company; Alan Mulally, president and CEO of Ford; Brian Roberts, chairman and CEO of Comcast; and Patricia Woertz, president and CEO of Archer Daniels Midland, were the five executives on the guest list, according to a White House official.
The lunch was "part of an ongoing dialogue with the business community about investing in our economic recovery and spurring private sector job creation," the White House official told CNN.
Obama has hosted seven lunches with business leaders since taking office.
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama dined with author and historian Elie Wiesel Tuesday at the White House in what an administration spokesman called a "friendly lunch."
The meeting came a few weeks after Wiesel published a full page ad in the Washington Post and other major newspapers, criticizing the Obama administration for its handling of the Middle East peace process.
Following the lunch, Wiesel told White House reporters he had a "good meeting" with the president and that Obama told him the peace process "must continue." Wiesel said the two men agreed "there is no substitute to peace among nations."
On Monday, the White House said Obama spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for about 20 minutes to discuss the way forward to direct negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians, and to reaffirm his "unshakable" commitment to Israel's security.
OTTUMWA, Iowa (CNN) - This city was in the political spotlight Tuesday as it hosted President Barack Obama, but for fans of the TV show M.A.S.H, Ottumwa is also known as the hometown of Don Shaffer - the real-life inspiration for the character Walter Eugene "Radar" O'Reilly.
Shaffer, who said he supports and prays for the president, said he came to Tuesday's town hall at Indian Hills Community College out of a sense of civic duty, with the president visiting his hometown. Following the town hall, the same man who met President Truman as a boy in Ottumwa was escorted back stage to shake the hand of today's commander-in-chief.
Just as much of a character in person as Radar was on the screen, Shaffer, a veteran of both the Korean and Vietnam wars, was not shy about sharing the wisdom of his 80 years in an interview with CNN, and engaging in the rough-and-tumble of present-day Washington politics.
On the recent battle over health care legislation, Shaffer said he would have charted a different course and recommended the president should have taken "Hillary Clinton's health plan and pushed it from the White House, rather than let Congress get involved. It would've been less headaches."
Shaffer was an initial supporter of Clinton's campaign for the presidency, but said he voted for Obama in the general election.
Washington (CNN) – President Obama believes the Vice President's wife has a thing or two to teach others about higher education in today's economy. Mr. Obama has asked Jill Biden to convene a White House summit on community colleges later this year.
Courtney O'Donnell, Biden's communications director, told CNN the summit "will be an opportunity for community college leaders, students, education experts, business leaders, and others to share with the administration and with one another the innovative ways they are educating our way to a better economy." O'Donnell said the White House will release additional information on the summit in the coming weeks.
Mrs. Biden will introduce the president on Tuesday as he makes the announcement, and signs the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act. The legislation, which made changes to the original health care bill passed by the House, also overhauls the student loan system and makes investments in the community colleges. The announcement will take place at Northern Virginia Community College – the same school where Mrs. Biden teaches English.
Washington (CNN) - This year's souvenir White House Easter eggs will have an environmentally-friendly design, the White House announced Monday.
The keepsake eggs, that feature the stamped signatures of the president and first lady, will come in four colors – purple, pink, green and yellow.
The eggs are given as a souvenir to all children 12 years and younger who attend the Easter Egg Roll.
In an effort to be eco-friendly, all of the eggs have been crafted from Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood in the United States, according to a release from the White House. The packaging is also designed to minimize waste and environmental impact. The packaging will not contain wood fibers from endangered forests and will feature vegetable oil-based inks and a water-based coating, the White House said.
The annual Easter Egg Roll that brings families to the White House for fun and games will take place on April 5 and will focus on promoting health and wellness under the theme, "Ready, Set, Go." The White House said this year's activities are intended to encourage children to lead healthy and active lives – the same themes of the first lady's recently announced campaign against childhood obesity.
Washington (CNN) – One lucky high school class will get President Obama to speak at their graduation this year, the White House announced Friday.
The first annual "Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge" competition invites public high schools across the country to show the White House what sets them apart from other schools in academic excellence and college preparedness. Obama will address the commencement of the winning school.
"Public schools that encourage systemic reform and embrace effective approaches to teaching and learning help prepare America's students to graduate ready for college and a career, and enable them to out-compete any worker, anywhere on the world," Obama said in a video released on the White House Web site Friday. "This is your opportunity to show me why your school exemplifies the best that our education system has to offer."
Schools must fill out an application form available through the White House Web site by March 15. Six finalists will then be featured on the White House Web site where the public will have an opportunity to vote for the three schools they think best meet Obama's goals. An ultimate winner will then be selected. The six finalists will be selected by the White House and the Department of Education according to a statement from the White House.
Obama has made education reform a centerpiece of his domestic agenda. In his budget for fiscal year 2010, Obama proposed adding an additional $1.35 billion to continue his $4 billion Race to the Top Challenge for the nation's public schools.
The initiative calls for states to submit applications outlining how they would improve student performance, reward and retain teachers, and turn around low-performing schools.