February 15th, 2009
02:27 PM ET
14 years ago

Aide: Scrutiny from NBA greats would make Obama 'nervous'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/12/art.bohoops0212.gi.jpg caption="There are very few days that I don’t see, at some point in the day, the President either handling or dribbling a basketball, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Sunday."]
(CNN) - Basketball is one of President Barack Obama’s primary stress relievers, according to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. In fact, the President plans to spend some time on the court this weekend with friends in Chicago, Gibbs said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

Basketball “is a big part of his life,’ Gibbs told Chief National Correspondent John King.

“There are very few days that I don’t see, at some point in the day, the President either handling or dribbling a basketball.”

“It helps him get some exercise and relieve some stress. For a little bit of time, he can think about something different,” added Gibbs.

Armed with footage of Obama playing hoops, Chief National Correspondent John King asked some NBA greats to put the President’s game under a microscope.

The thought of several NBA legends deconstructing his skills on the hardwood is enough to make the new Commander-in-Chief a bit nervous, Gibbs said Sunday.

Watch: NBA legends on Obama's game

“I can only imagine that if I were to call him now, he’d be a little nervous that people like Bill Russell were going to critique his game,” Gibbs told King. “That’s pretty serious.”

February 15th, 2009
02:00 PM ET
12 years ago

Republican senators slam Obama's early efforts at bipartisanship

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/02/15/obama.gop.stimulus/art.mccain.john.king.cnn.jpg caption="Sen. John McCain says the Obama administration is off to a bad beginning."]

(CNN) - Top Republican lawmakers Sunday called on President Obama to change his political strategy, arguing that the passage of a massive stimulus bill on a party-line vote showed he has failed to deliver the "change" he promised.

"If this is going to be bipartisanship, the country's screwed," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, told ABC's "This Week." "I know bipartisanship when I see it."

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said Obama was off to "a bad beginning," out of step with the vow of bipartisanship both men made after Obama beat out the Republican presidential nominee for the White House in November.

"It was a bad beginning because it wasn't what we promised the American people, what President Obama promised the American people, that we would sit down together," McCain told CNN's "State of the Union With John King."

The $787 billion bill made it through Congress with the support of three Republicans - Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snow of Maine and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania. Obama is expected to sign the bill Tuesday in Denver, Colorado.

"This is not 'change we can believe in,' " Graham, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, told ABC. He said Democrats "rammed it through the House" after starting out "with the idea, 'We won - we write the bill.' "

Full story

Filed under: economic stimulus • GOP • President Obama • State of the Union
February 15th, 2009
12:00 PM ET
14 years ago

Axelrod: Picking the Cabinet 'isn't like American Idol'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/15/art.axelrod0215.cnn.jpg caption="David Axelrod said Sunday that the White House is using a thoughtful procedure to fill outstanding Cabinet posts."]

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The man primarily responsible for crafting President Obama’s message during two years of a hard-fought presidential campaign said the potential nominees for Commerce Secretary and Secretary of Health and Human Services will be announced soon.

“Choosing Cabinet members isn’t like American Idol,” David Axelrod, a senior aide to the President, said Sunday. “You don’t throw contestants out there and let the American people vote. We’re going through a thoughtful procedure to fill these posts. We want to get it right.”

The President’s method for selecting Cabinet nominees has come under increasing scrutiny after several nominees revealed problems with taxes and after three prominent nominees – New Mexico’s Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson, former Democratic Sen. Tom Daschle, and New Hampshire’s Republican Sen. Judd Gregg – all withdrew their names from consideration for Cabinet posts after being tapped by Obama.

Richardson and Gregg had both been nominees to head the Commerce Department and Obama had named Daschle to run HHS and to advise the president as the White House’s “health czar.”

Nancy Killefer, who had been chosen by Obama for a new post focused on making the federal government more efficient, also withdrew her name for further consideration because of tax issues.


Filed under: David Axelrod • Obama administration • OFA
February 15th, 2009
11:49 AM ET
14 years ago

Stimulus bill was 'a bad beginning' for Obama, says McCain


CNN's John King sat down with Sen. John McCain in Phoenix, Arizona. Watch Part 1 of McCain's interview.

(CNN) – Arizona Sen. John McCain did not pull any punches in assessing a major milestone in his former rival’s nascent presidency.

Watch: McCain on State of the Union

“It was a bad beginning,” McCain said Sunday of the legislative process that resulted in the $787 billion stimulus bill recently passed by Congress. “It was a bad beginning because it wasn’t what we promised the American people, what President Obama promised the American people – that we would sit down together.”

While McCain said he appreciated the fact that Obama came to Capitol Hill to speak with House Republicans about the stimulus bill. But, “that’s not how you negotiate a result.” Instead, “you sit down in a room with competing proposals” and “almost all of our proposals went down on a party-line vote”

“I hope the next time we will sit down together and conduct truly bipartisan negotiations. This was not a bipartisan bill.”


February 15th, 2009
10:00 AM ET
14 years ago

'Things have not yet bottomed out,' Obama aide says


Watch John King's interview with White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

(CNN) – While the White House basks in passage of the $787 billion stimulus package intended to jump start the nation’s sagging economy, a senior aide to President Obama is also sounding a note of caution about the immediate impact of the legislation.

“The President is focused on making sure that, that money gets out the door very quickly,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

“Certainly the number of jobs that we’ve lost over just the last three months shows you that the economy is actually getting worse right now, not getting better. So I think it’s safe to say that things have not yet bottomed out. They are probably going to get worse before they improve.”

Gibbs also said the new president would continue his efforts to reach out to Republicans even though the massive stimulus bill received no GOP support in the House and only three Republican votes in the Senate.

“What you saw from this president is an unprecedented effort to reach out to Republicans,” Gibbs said. “You had the President drive up to Capitol Hill to meet with Republicans where they work. I think that was certainly unprecedented. This president has always worked in a bipartisan fashion. He will continue to reach out to Republicans. We hope that Republicans will decide they want to reach back.”

February 15th, 2009
09:26 AM ET
14 years ago

Sources: Obama to sign stimulus Tuesday in Denver

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/02/11/borger.obama/art.obama.news.gi.jpg caption="President Obama will sign the economic stimulus bill Tuesday in Denver, Colorado, two officials said Saturday."]
(CNN) - President Obama will sign the economic stimulus bill Tuesday in Denver, Colorado, two senior administration officials confirm to CNN.

Both officials cited a desire to get out of Washington - to go, in the words of one official, “out west in an area hit hard economically, away from the politics of Washington.”

The other official described Denver as “a place that will see the benefits of the bill in hiring workers.”

Obama traveled to areas hit hard by the economic downturn last week, holding town hall meetings in Elkhart, Indiana and Fort Myers, Florida. He met with workers at a Caterpillar plant in Peoria, Illinois on Thursday, after the company announced 22,000 layoffs.

Filed under: Colorado • economic stimulus • President Obama
February 15th, 2009
08:55 AM ET
14 years ago

Air Force One is one 'spiffy ride,' Obama says

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/02/13/air.force.one/art.air.force.one.gi.jpg caption="The aircraft, which is longer than the length of a hockey rink, has 4,000 square feet of floor and three levels."]
(CNN) - During the first couple of weeks of his presidency, Barack Obama has made good use of his "spiffy" new ride.

The president, who has made several trips around the country in Air Force One, was particularly excited during his first trip on the plane as commander in chief, when he flew to the House Democrats' annual retreat in Williamsburg, Virginia, last week.

"Thanks for giving me a reason to fly Air Force One," he told the House Democrats after his flight, which took him away from a week of fighting for the economic stimulus bill.

Donning a blue jacket with the presidential seal on the right and his name embroidered on the left, Obama came back to the press section of the plane shortly before taking off for Williamsburg.

"Hey guys, what do you think of my - this spiffy ride here?" the president asked the group of reporters traveling with him on the presidential plane.

Full story

Filed under: President Obama