Tuesday, May 31, 2011
From the White House:
Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden have departed en route Rome, Italy, to lead the Presidential Delegation to the Celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Unification of Italy on Thursday, June 2nd.
While in Rome, Vice President Biden will meet with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to discuss the full range of bilateral and regional issues, as well as how the United States and Europe can work together to help meet the global challenges we face. Vice President Biden and Prime Minister Berlusconi will also participate in a trilateral lunch meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. In addition, Vice President Biden will meet with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.
The Bidens will also visit with tri-mission staff from the U.S. Embassy to Italy, U.S. Embassy to the Holy See, and U.S. Mission to the United Nations Agencies in Rome.
On Saturday, the Vice President and Dr. Biden will visit with U.S. service members and their families in Naples, Italy, and deliver remarks at an event with U.S. and NATO forces and their families. Afterwards, the Bidens will return to Washington, DC.
Obama is expected to make the announcement at 1:15 pm ET, according to CBS's Mark Knoller. Bryson will replace Gary Locke, who's replacing Jon Huntsman as the ambassador to China. Bryson's bio:
John E. Bryson, 67, serves as Senior Advisor to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR) and is Retired Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Edison International. Mr. Bryson was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Edison International (an electric power generator and distributor), the parent company of Southern California Edison and Edison Mission Group from 1990 to 2008. He has been a director of The Boeing Company since 1995, is a non-executive chairman of the board of BrightSource Energy, Inc. and of the board of overseers of Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, and is a trustee of the California Institute of Technology, a director of the W.M. Keck Foundation and the California Endowment, and was a director of Western Asset Income Fund from 1986 to 2006. Mr. Bryson has been a Director of the Company since 2000.
Monday, May 30, 2011
Obama placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery and spoke (transcript). Full video:
Obama named Army Gen. Martin Dempsey to head the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Dempsey will succeed Navy Adm. Mike Mullen when Mullen's term ends. He also named Adm. James Winnefeld as the Vice Chairman and Gen. Ray Odierno to succeed Gen. Dempsey as Chief of Staff of the Army. Obama's mention of Internet security in addition to traditional security domains was interesting:
Between them, they bring deep experience in virtually every domain -- land, air, space, sea, cyber.Transcript.
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Barack and Michelle Obama host a breakfast for Gold Star Families at the White House.
Obama makes Department of Defense personnel announcements. LIVE STREAM
Obama participates in a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns. LIVE STREAM
Obama participates in the Memorial Day Service at Arlington National Cemetery.
This brilliant video, created in response to being named in Newsweek as a dying city, will get you:
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Obama departs the White House en route Andrews Air Force Base.
Obama departs Andrews Air Force Base en route Joplin, Missouri.
Obama arrives in Joplin, Missouri.
Obama visits with those in the community who lost so much during last week's deadly, historic tornadoes.
Obama delivers brief remarks at a memorial service held by local clergy and Missouri Governor Jay Nixon for those who lost their lives.
Obama departs Joplin, Missouri en route Andrews Air Force Base.
Obama arrives at Andrews Air Force Base.
Obama arrives at the White House.
Considering Tim Pawlenty (don't feel bad if you don't know who that is. It's just another republican who thinks he can beat Obama) thought Obama was on a "European pub crawl" this past week... His tweet:
@BarackObama sorry to interrupt the European pub crawl, but what was your Medicare plan?...We can rest assured that he won't be president any time soon.
Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty announced his candidacy for president on Monday, just a week after fellow presidential contender Newt Gingrich managed to torpedo his own nascent campaign within a matter of days. Could Pawlenty avoid the same fate? Here’s a breakdown of how his first week fared. Here you go
Read the entire transcript of Obama and Prime Minister Tusk's and Q&A here.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you very much, Mr. Prime Minister. Once again, I just want to thank you and the people of Poland for the extraordinary welcome that I’ve received since I arrived. And I have to tell you that my wife Michelle and the girls very much want to come back, because I’ve told them on the phone what a extraordinary country this is.Read Obama and President Komorowski's press conference here.
And you’re right, in some ways I am part of Poland because I come from Chicago, and if you live in Chicago and you haven’t become a little bit Polish, then something’s wrong with you.
You know, Poland is one of our strongest and closest allies in the world -- and is a leader in a Europe. And I believe that Poland’s story demonstrates how a proud and determined and enthusiastic people can overcome extraordinary challenges and build a democracy that represents the great strength and character of this nation, while now serving as an example for Europe and the world.
During our conversations, we reaffirmed the strength of our alliance. Our alliance is rooted in shared history, shared values, deep ties among our people. Our alliance is cemented through NATO and the ironclad commitment that Article 5 of NATO represents.
Of course, our alliance is also rooted in shared interests, and we, during our lunch, reviewed a wide range of issues. I want to congratulate Poland on behalf of the United States for reaching the incredible milestone of assuming the presidency of the European Union. This is Poland’s first opportunity to take on this leadership role since joining the EU. And it speaks to the incredible progress that Poland has made both politically and economically during this period of time. And we look forward to working closely with Poland as it assumes these new responsibilities.
Along those lines, we are interested and excited about Poland’s plans for the Eastern partnership as a priority of its EU presidency. And I understand that it will host a summit this fall to raise awareness and support for Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus. And the dinner that I had yesterday was an indication of Poland’s leadership in helping to shape a vision for the region that continues down a path that offers more opportunity and more prosperity to people. And obviously one of the important roles that Poland can play is not just as a promoter of ideas but as a living example of what is possible when countries take reform seriously.
We’re also aiming to expand our bilateral economic relationship with Poland, as the Prime Minister mentioned. Poland’s economy was the only economy in the EU not to fall into recession during the economic crisis, and has enormous potential for economic growth. So far, as a consequence, this fall we will hold a high-level U.S.-Poland business roundtable, which brings together private and public sector leaders to identify and promote new opportunities to boost economic growth. And the idea that was raised by the Prime Minister about a potential innovation fund that is a part of this fall summit I think is an excellent idea, and so we’re going to pursue that actively.
We also discussed the potential for us to cooperate on a wide range of clean energy initiatives, including how we can, in an environmentally sound way, develop natural gas in both the United States and Poland and how we can cooperate on the technology and science around that.
The United States is also fully committed to supporting safe nuclear power generation in Poland, and we’re prepared to offer our expertise of the largest and safest nuclear power industry in the world.
And finally we discussed the issue of how jointly we can promote democracy. The session that I had this morning with democracy promotion experts, including many of the founders of Solidarity, who recently traveled to Tunisia to share their advice and assistance, is just a symbol of why Poland is so important. It has gone through what many countries want to now go through, and has done so successfully. And so the United States wants to work with Poland, and we welcome their leadership in reaching out to North Africa and the Middle East.
At the same time, as Prime Minister Tusk mentioned, here in this neighborhood we still have challenges. We discussed in particular the unacceptable situation in Belarus. President Lukashenko has shown a total disregard for democratic values, the rule of law, and the human rights of his own people. And his brutal crackdown included the conviction and sentencing of presidential candidates who challenged him in the presidential election, and the repression and imprisonment of members of the free press, including one of the Polish press.
So since this crackdown has begun, Poland and the United States have coordinated closely on Belarus, both bilaterally and through the EU. We appreciate Poland’s leadership on this issue, including the strong support of Belarusian civil society and the generosity to its people. We are looking forward to strong cooperation on this front.
Last point I guess I would make, we discussed our respective relationships with Russia. And I am a strong believer that the reset between the United States and Russia has benefitted this region, as well as the United States and Russia, because it’s reduced tensions and has, I think, facilitated genuine dialogue about how each country can move forward.
We very much appreciate Poland’s pragmatic approach to their relationship with Russia. I applaud the Prime Minister for his determination to continue these efforts, even if it is not always the most politically popular thing to do.
We both believe that we cannot compromise on our most cherished principles and ideals, but we should also seek to cooperate where we can -- for example, in areas like counterterrorism, counternarcotics, the spread of nuclear weapons and materials, and the support of our joint operations in Afghanistan.
So this has been an excellent visit. It’s fitting that I conclude my trip here in Poland. At each stop I’ve affirmed the fact that America’s transatlantic alliance is the cornerstone of our engagement in the world. It’s indispensable to the peace and prosperity of the world. It helps to uphold the principles of rule of law and individual liberty around the world. And I think that Poland is a leader on all these issues.
So, congratulations, Mr. Prime Minister, for your outstanding leadership. And to the Polish people, thank you so much for your incredible hospitality.
Read Obama and Komorowski's remarks after their meeting here.
Read the U.S.-Poland initiatives factsheet. Read a wrap of Obama's time in Warsaw here.
From the White House:
12:15 P.M. CEST
PRESIDENT KOMOROWSKI: (As translated.) Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, I think we feel it all too well that it’s worth having dreams, but dreams come true when, apart from dreams, we have courage and determination to pursue such goals as freedom and democracy.
Mr. President, today in this room you are meeting the Polish democracy. These are those who fought for the Polish freedom and for the democratic state, and they fought well. Those are the people who brought in the anti-communist position; those are the people of Solidarity. And here in this room, you also see those who have come here to meet you, and those are the protectioners of today’s democracy. Those are the ones who will take part in the today’s processes of democratization. Here we see the representatives of the both chambers of the parliament. There are ministers; there are also representatives of the major political forces in Poland, in our democratic Poland.
I also would like to indicate that that part of the Polish democracy, which is not directly involved with politics, but they co-create Polish democracy, those are nongovernmental organizations as they are watchdogs; they, in fact, incentivize us as to take due care of democracy as our constant challenge and our constant commitment, and to also be in touch with the society.
Also there is the former prime minister, Mazowiecki, together with us, and he is the person who would like to talk with you about our Polish experience in transformation; that is, when we were passing away from the communist regime and getting onto a democratic society.
And once again, I would ask to speak Mr. President first, and then the former prime minister.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, thank you very much, Mr. President, and thank you for the great honor of appearing with all of you. I want to express my thanks to everyone who is here today to share with me their experiences and expertise in democracy building. I look forward to listening and learning from Poland’s esteemed democracy leaders and younger activists.
I have to say that it is especially a treat for me to be able to see so many of you who inspired us in America when the Solidarity movement first appeared. I was still a relatively young man. I have a lot of gray hair now, but at the time I was still studying. And I remember at that time understanding that history was being made because ordinary people were standing up and doing extraordinary things with great courage and a great -- against great odds.
And the Solidarity leaders and others in this room launched a peaceful revolution that eventually led to a regime’s collapse and the downfall of a broader system of Soviet repression. And that’s had ripple effects and ramifications around the world, not just in Central and Eastern Europe.
Your actions charted a course for freedom that inspired many on this continent and beyond. And it has many relevant lessons, so we want to encourage all states undergoing similar experiences to learn from Poland. We all know that in the aftermath of the overthrow of a repressive regime, emotions run high. But new democratic governments have to show themselves to be able to channel that energy in constructive ways, to hold themselves to higher standards than their authoritarian predecessors in being inclusive, respecting the rule of law, respecting minority rights, believing in freedom of expression even when we don’t agree with what’s being expressed. And so I think that Poland has navigated that process as well as any country in recent history.
I very much value the contributions that Poland is making in Tunisia. I appreciate the fact that your foreign minister has now visited Benghazi.
So, again, let me thank everybody in this room, but the people of Poland, for being an inspiration to change around the world. And I’m very much looking forward to hearing some of the observations that those who’ve fought long and hard for democracy may have as we face similarly transformative moments around the world.
Rolling Thunder, the annual motorcycle rally that honors the nation's veterans, says it didn't invite Sarah Palin, who is kicking off her bus tour at Rolling Thunder, and they say she's a distraction. Once again Palin has stolen the media spotlight. Every other story is about Palin, which only makes her and her family richer and richer.
Palin is NOT running for president. I repeat: Palin is NOT running for president. The media knows this. But Palin is easy to despise. Covering her requires no work on the part of the media. The media should be reporting on more worthy topics but the media is so easily manipulated.
Palin's pushing buttons. She thrives on opposition. She likes to be heard.
If someone repeated everything that I had to say, if someone contributed to my nest feathering, I'd go on a bus tour too! She may be ignorant but she's not brain dead. She knows she couldn't be president.
Joe Biden fills in for Obama on the weekly address. He touts the auto industry comeback in a way that only Joe can. But it isn't just hollow bragging. It's true. The Obama administration literally, as Joe would say, saved the American auto industry. Biden also has a Memorial Day message.
Friday, May 27, 2011
Obama attends a U.S. Embassy meet and greet.
Obama participates in an arrival ceremony.
Obama holds an expanded bilateral meeting with President Komorowski of Poland.
Obama and President Komorowski make statements to the press.
Obama and President Komorowski participate in a discussion on democracy.
Obama participates in an arrival ceremony at the Chancellery.
Obama and Prime Minister Tusk of Poland hold a working lunch.
Obama and Prime Minister Tusk hold a joint press conference.
Obama visits the memorial to the victims of the Smolensk plane crash.
Obama departs Warsaw, Poland en route Andrews Air Force Base.
Obama arrives at Andrews Air Force Base.
Obama arrives at the White House.
Here's what's left of this European trip:
On Friday, the President will hold a bilateral meeting with President Sarkozy of France. The President will then participate in the G-8 working sessions. Later, the President will travel from Deauville, France to Warsaw, Poland. In the evening, the President and President Komorowski of Poland will host a dinner for the heads of state of Central and Eastern Europe.Obama meets with Jewish community leaders and Holocaust survivors in Warsaw
On Saturday, the President will hold a bilateral meeting with President Komorowski of Poland. Later, the President and Prime Minister Tusk of Poland will hold a working lunch. Following the lunch, the President and Prime Minister Tusk will hold a joint press conference. Later, the President will depart for Washington, DC. The President will return to Washington, DC at night.