This article is the fourteenth in a continuing series chronicling the unfolding history of the Obama Administration. The writer's opinions are not offered, leaving the readers to arrive at their own conclusions.
"It's the story of hardworking Americans who are held hostage by health insurance companies that deny them coverage, or drop their coverage, or charge fees that they can't afford for care that they desperately need." __Barack Obama, President of the United States, August 11, 2009
Day 191/Aug1st/Saturday: In his Weekly Address, the President said the newly released Gross Domestic Product (GDP) numbers are an indication that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) is working, but that long""term investments in innovation are needed to ensure our nation's long-term economic growth. Transcript Video
The President was at Camp David.
The President's cabinet members continued their retreat at Blair House in Washington, D.C., the second of the two-day sessions in which all 22 cabinet-rank members assessed the first 6 months of the Obama Administration and their own strengths and weaknesses towards efforts to move the President's agenda forward. They also collaborated on goals for the next 6 months. Vice-President Joe Biden chaired this day's session.
The Post 911 GI Bill, a new educational benefit program that pays up to 100 percent for tuition, housing, books and supplies for individuals who served on active duty on or after September 11, 2001, began processing payments to participating schools for training pursued on or after August 1, 2009. You may be eligible if:
(1) you served at least 90 aggregate days on active duty after September 10, 2001, and you are still on active duty or were honorably-discharged from the active duty; or
(2) released from active duty and placed on the retired list or temporary disability retired list; or
(3) released from active duty and transferred to the Fleet Reserve or Fleet Marine Corps Reserve; or
(4) released from the active duty for further service in a reserve component of the Armed Forces; or
(5) you were honorably discharged from active duty for a service-connected disability and you served 30 continuous days after September 10, 2001. Pamphlet.pdf
For help in navigating the difficult to navigate official site, go to http://newgibill.org/
Day 192/Aug2nd/Sunday: The President and his family stayed at Camp David.
Day 193/Aug3rd/Monday: The President and Vice-President Joe Biden, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki , United States Senator Jim Webb, former U.S. Senator John Warner traveled to George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia to mark the implementation of the Post 911 GI Bill. Transcript Video
The President met His Highness Shaykh Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al Sabah, Amir of the State of Kuwait, in the Oval Office of the White House. Afterward, Vice-President Joe Biden joined them for lunch in the Old Family Dining Room. Premeeting Remarks of President Obama and His Highness Sheikh Sabah Amir of the State of Kuwait Video
The President met with United States Senator Tom Harkin in the Oval Office.
United States Energy Secretary Steven Chu joined U.S. Congressman Tim Walz in Rochester, MN, to examine three renewable energy projects including a mobile self-contained ethanol plant, cars created and adapted by students at MSU-Mankato that run on solar and electrical technology, and the IBEW Wind Turbine Training Facility where electrical workers train to service the turbines delivering clean energy to southern Minnesota. Source
Day 194/Aug4th/Tuesday: On his 48th birthday, the President had lunch at the White House with 57 of the 60 Democrats and Independents of the United States Senate. Among the agenda, the President pressed the senators to extend the successful Car Allowance Rebate System (Cash for Clunkers) program and strategized on getting healthcare reform passed. Senators Edward Kennedy Kennedy and Robert Byrd could not attend due to poor health and Senator Barbara Mikulski had to pass due to a broken ankle.
The President met with the National Commander of the American Legion, Dave Rehbein and the Executive Director of the American Legion, Peter Gaytan. Rehbein thanked the President for his commitment to veterans, expressing his appreciation for the President's support of Advanced Appropriations: a policy designed to ensure Veterans' medical care is never dependent on Washington budget politics. Gaytan stated that the Administration was moving in the right direction to tackle the claims backlog issue. Gaytan was pleased to see that the Administration was looking to innovative technological solutions in solving this problem. Source
The President accepted a telephoned wish for a happy birthday from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Also discussed was the situation in Georgia and the need to decrease tensions in the region and the need to move forward quickly on agreements reached at the July 2009 summit in Moscow: in particular, they reaffirmed their commitment to complete negotiations on a follow-on agreement to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) by December of this year. Source
The President sent these nominations to the United States Senate:
Anne M. Northup, of Kentucky, to be a Commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission for a term of seven years from October 27, 2004 bio
Daniel I. Werfel, of Virginia, to be Controller, Office of Federal Financial Management, Office of Management and Budget
Terry A. Yonkers, of Maryland, to be an Assistant Secretary of the Air Force
Marcia K. McNutt, of California, to be Director of the United States Geological Survey
United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Kenya for the first part of a seven-nation tour of Africa. Clinton will also visit South Africa, Angola, Congo, Nigeria, Liberia and Cape Verde, meeting with top African officials and offering continuing support to nations recovering from conflict. Source
In Longmont, Colorado, United States Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar met with employees of the innovative solar panel company, Abound Solar, Inc. Abound Solar has created more than 200 "green jobs' in two years and expects to double employment by next year. A product of federal and state government support for clean energy technology innovation, three of the company's founders worked for Colorado State University before spinning off, with help from the National Science Foundation and Department of Energy. Source
The White House added an electronic tip box, set up to receive information on "fishy" claims about the President's healthcare plan. The new site declared: "There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can't keep track of all of them here at the White House, we're asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to email@example.com."
Day 195/Aug5th/Wednesday: The President, from the South Lawn of the White House, praised former United States President Bill Clinton for the success of Clinton's mission to North Korea that resulted in the release of Euna Lee and Laura Ling, two journalists, from imprisonment in the nation of North Korea and return to the United States. Transcript Video
The President traveled to Wakarusa, Indiana to announce $2.4 Billion in Grants to Accelerate the Manufacturing and Deployment of the Next Generation of U.S. Batteries and Electric Vehicles, and that the Recovery Act will fund 48 new advanced battery and electric drive components manufacturing and electric drive vehicle deployment projects in over 20 states. Among the President's remarks at Monaco RV:
"The last third of the Recovery Act""and that's what we're going to talk about here today""is for investments that are not only putting people back to work in the short term, but laying a new foundation for growth and prosperity in the long run. These are the jobs of building the future of America: upgrading our roads and our bridges; renovating schools and hospitals. The Elkhart area has seen the benefits: Dozens were employed to resurface the runway at Elkhart Airport; a four-mile stretch of highway is being upgraded on US-33; the Heart City Health Center has received recovery dollars to expand services and hire additional staff."
"Indiana is the second largest recipient of grant funding, and it's a perfect example of what this will mean. You've got Purdue University, Notre Dame, Indiana University, and Ivy Tech, and they're all going to be receiving grant funding to develop degree and training programs for electric vehicles. That's number one. We've got EnerDel, a small business in Indianapolis that will develop batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles. You've got Allison Transmission in Indianapolis, Delphi in Kokomo, Remy in Pendleton, and Magna located in Muncie, all who will help develop electric-drive components for commercial and passenger vehicles.
And right here in Elkhart County, Navistar""which has taken over two Monaco Coach manufacturing facilities""will receive a $39 million grant to build 400 advanced battery electric trucks, with a range of a hundred miles, like the trucks here today. Just a few months ago, folks thought that these factories might be closed for good. But now they're coming back to life." Transcript Video Additional Information
U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu visited Celgard, in Charlotte, NC, to announce a $49 million grant for the company to expand its separator production capacity to serve the expected increased demand for lithium-ion batteries from manufacturing facilities in the U.S. Celgard will be expanding its manufacturing capacity in Charlotte, NC and nearby Aiken, SC, and expects that hundreds of jobs could be created, with the first of those jobs beginning as early as Fall 2009. Source
U.S. Evironmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson was in St. Petersburg, FL, to announce a $95.5 million grant for Saft America, Inc. to construct a new plant in Jacksonville on the site of the former Cecil Field military base, to manufacture lithium-ion cells, modules and battery packs for military, industrial, and agricultural vehicles. Source
U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke joined U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver in Kansas City, Missouri, to announce a $10 million grant for Smith Electric to build and deploy up to 100 electric vehicles, including vans, pickups, and their "Newton" brand medium duty trucks. In addition, Locke announced two other grants, worth a total of more than $30 million, supporting manufacturing and educational programs in Missouri and Michigan. Source
U.S. Deputy Secretary of the Department of Transportation John Porcari visited East Penn Manufacturing Co., in Lyon Station, Pennsylvania, to award the company a $32.5 million grant to increase production capacity for their valve regulated lead-acid batteries and the UltraBattery, a lead-acid battery combined with a carbon supercapacitor, for micro and mild hybrid applications. Source
Deputy White House chief of staff, Jim Messina, confirmed a previously undisclosed deal that had assured the Pharmaceutical Industry the Obama Administration would block any efforts by the United States Congress to legislate cost savings beyond the $80 billion the industry would agree to. "The president encouraged this approach," Messina wrote. "He wanted to bring all the parties to the table to discuss health insurance reform." source
Day 196/Aug6th/Thursday: The President met with members of the Senate Finance Committee in the Oval Office of the White House
The President met with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner in the Oval Office.
The President met with John Roos, United States Ambassador-Designate to Japan, in the Oval Office. Remarks by the President before the Meeting with John Roos.
The President met with Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan in the Oval Office. Brennan delivered "A New Approach to Safeguarding Americans" prepared address in the White House Press Briefing Room. Among Brennan's remarks:
"So here are the facts.
Al Qaeda and its affiliates are under tremendous pressure. After years of U.S. counter-terrorism operations, and in partnership with other nations, al Qaeda has been seriously damaged and forced to replace many of its top-tier leadership with less experienced and less capable individuals. It is being forced to work harder and harder to raise money, to move its operatives around the world, and to plan attacks.
Nevertheless, Al Qaeda has proven to be adaptive and highly resilient and remains the most serious terrorist threat we face as a Nation". From its safe haven in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas, the so-called FATA, al Qaeda continues to recruit and train fighters""including extremists from Western nations""and to plot attacks. Finally, Al Qaeda's own capabilities are further leveraged by the web of relationships the group maintains with other locally run terrorist organizations around the world, from Iraq to the Arabian Peninsula, from East Africa to the Sahel and Maghreb regions of North Africa.
In short, we continue to face a dynamic and evolving threat."
"I would add one personal observation. Over the past six months we have presented President Obama with a number of actions and initiatives against al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Not only has he approved these operations, he has encouraged us to be even more aggressive, even more proactive, and even more innovative, to seek out new ways and new opportunities for taking down these terrorists before they can kill more innocent men, women, and children." Transcript
The President delivered remarks in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House on the United States Senate's confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor as the 111th Justice of the United States Supreme Court. The Senate had confirmed Sotomayor by a vote of 68-31. Transcript Video
United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, at a town hall meeting in Kenya, was asked by CNN's Fareed Zakaria if a decision had been made on the year 2000 dowry offer a Kenyan man who had written to, then, President Bill Clinton offering 40 goats and 20 cows, in accordance with African tradition, for Chelsea Clinton's hand in marriage. "My daughter is her own person, very independent, so I will convey this very kind offer," Secretary Clinton responded. Source Video
The United States Senate approved an additional $2 billion for the "Cash for Clunkers" program by a vote of 60-37.
Day 197/Aug7th/Friday: The President delivered remarks on the economy from the Rose Garden of the White House. Transcript Video
The President met with United States Senator Chuck Schumer in the Oval Office of the White House.
The President signed into law:
H.R. 2245, the New Frontier Congressional Gold Medal Act, to award gold medals on behalf of the United States Congress to Neil A. Armstrong, the first human to walk on the moon; Edwin E. 'Buzz' Aldrin, Jr., the pilot of the lunar module and second person to walk on the moon; Michael Collins, the pilot of their Apollo 11 mission's command module; and, the first American to orbit the Earth, John Herschel Glenn, Jr..
H.R. 3114, which provides temporary authority to the Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to use trademark fees for patent operations.
H.R. 3435, which provides FY 2009 emergency supplemental appropriations for the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Program (Cash-for-Clunkers)
H.R. 3357, which provides funding to cover expected shortfalls of the Highway Trust Fund and the Unemployment Trust Fund and increases the loan guarantee authority of the Federal Housing Administration and Government National Mortgage Association.
The President announced these nominations:
Jane Stranch for a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
Judge Thomas Vanaskie for a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit Source & nominee bios
Edward Chen, for the Northern District of California
Dolly Gee, for the Central District of California
Richard Seeborg, for the Northern District of California Source & nominee bios
Steven O'Donnell, for United States Marshal for the District of Rhode Island. Source & nominee bio
United States Attorneys:
Kenyen Brown, Southern District of Alabama
Neil MacBride, Eastern District of Virginia
Benjamin Wagner, Eastern District of California Source & nominee bios
Barry B. White, for Ambassador to Norway, Department of State. Source & nominee bio
The U.S. Justice Department filed a petition with the United States Supreme Court asking it to overturn an appeals court decision requiring the Pentagon disclose photos allegedly depicting abuse of prisoners in U.S. military custody in Iraq and Afghanistan. "The President of the United States and the Nation's highest-ranking military officers responsible for ongoing combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have determined that disclosure by the government of the photographs at issue in this case would pose a significant risk to the lives and physical safety of American military and civilian personnel by inciting violence targeting those personnel," Solicitor General Elena Kagan wrote. Source
Day 198/Aug8th/Saturday: In his weekly address, the President insisted health insurance reform critical to our nation's long-term economic strength and rebuke the dire rumors being promoted by those who defend the status quo. Transcript Video
Day 199/Aug9th/Sunday: the President departed for Guadalajara, Mexico for his first North American Summit. He arrived at Don Miguel Hidalgo Y Costilla International Airport in the evening, then attended a bilateral meeting with President Felipe Calderon of Mexico at the Cabanas Cultural Center. Afterward, the President had a working dinner with President Calderon and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the Cabanas Cultural Center before the three leaders attended a cultural event at the Cabanas Cultural Center. Swine Flu, combating the drug cartels and trade were among the discussions planned for the two days of talks.
Day 200/Aug10th/Monday: the President met with President Calderon of Mexico and Prime Minister Harper of Canada at the Cabanas Cultural Center in Guadalajara. Afterward, President Obama, President Calderon and Prime Minister Harper held a press conference at the Cabanas Cultural Center. Transcript Video
The President departed Mexico to return to the White House.
Day 201/Aug11th/Tuesday: the President traveled to Portsmouth for a healthcare reform town hall at Portsmouth High School. Among the President's remarks:
"I don't think government bureaucrats should be meddling, but I also don't think insurance company bureaucrats should be meddling. That's the health care system I believe in."
""In the past three years, over 12 million Americans were discriminated against by insurance companies because of a preexisting condition. Either the insurance company refused to cover the person, or they dropped their coverage when they got sick and they needed it most, or they refused to cover a specific illness or condition, or they charged higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs. No one holds these companies accountable for these practices."
"Under the reform we're proposing, insurance companies will be prohibited from denying coverage because of a person's medical history. Period. They will not be able to drop your coverage if you get sick.They will not be able to water down your coverage when you need it. Your health insurance should be there for you when it counts""not just when you're paying premiums, but when you actually get sick." Transcript Video
The President returned to Washington, DC. and the White House where he met with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in the Oval Office.
The President and the First Lady hosted the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom Award ceremony in the East Room of the White House. The recipients of the award were:
Jack Kemp, deceased
Joe Medicine Crow "" High Bird*
Harvey Milk, deceased
* Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow, the last living Plains Indian war chief, is the author of seminal works in Native American history and culture. He is the last person alive to have received direct oral testimony from a participant in the Battle of the Little Bighorn: his grandfather was a scout for General George Armstrong Custer. A veteran of World War II, Medicine Crow accomplished during the war all of the four tasks required to become a "war chief," including stealing fifty Nazi SS horses from a German camp. Medicine Crow was the first member of his tribe to attend college, receiving his master's degree in anthropology in 1939, and continues to lecture at universities and notable institutions like the United Nations. His contributions to the preservation of the culture and history of the First Americans are matched only by his importance as a role model to young Native Americans across the country.
The President signed into law:
H.R. 838, the "Miami Dade College Land Conveyance Act," which conveys a parcel of land in Miami Dade County, Florida, held by the Justice Department's Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to Miami Dade College for use as a site for a new educational building and parking area
S. 1107, the "Judicial Survivors Protection Act of 2009," which establishes a 6-month special open enrollment period for judicial officials to enroll in the Judicial Survivors' Annuities System.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack traveled to Alaska with scheduled stops in Bethel and Hooper Bay. Donavan announced $132 million has been made available to communities in Alaska and across the country, the final installment of funding for the Native American Housing Block Grant Program under the Recovery Act, $5 million of which will go to Bethel. Duncan announced the Obama Administration is investing $200 million in the state of Alaska for education.
Day 203/Aug13th/Thursday: the President signed an executive order extending for another year the national emergency declared by former United States President George W. Bush via the August 17, 2001 Executive Order 13222 which declared a national emergency with respect to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States in light of the expiration of the Export Administration Act of 1979, as amended (50 U.S.C. App. 2401 et seq.). The Export Administration Act of 1979 still has not been renewed by the United States Congress. Text of the President's Letter to Speaker Pelosi & U.S. Senate President
In a letter to U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, the President wrote," I am committed to supporting our troops and will continue to promote policies that maintain their high level of readiness and that improve the quality of life of servicemembers and their families. To that end, as part of the constant assessment of Department of Defense (DOD) operations, my Administration proposes to increase temporarily the Army's active component by up to 22,000 personnel, including 15,000 troops in Fiscal Year 2010." Full Text of Letter
The President declared a major disaster exists in the State of Iowa and ordered Federal aid to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the area struck by a severe storm on July 10, 2009.
The Obama Administration filed court papers defending a Bill Clinton 2001 rule that protected millions of acres of national forests from commercial development. The filing in U.S. District Court in Wyoming to preserve the government's appeal rights, siding with environmentalists, against a George W. Bush era rule that raised the amount of commercial logging, mining and other development in millions of acres of national forests in 38 states and Puerto Rico. Source
In a joint news release, both the Federal Aviation Administration and its largest union, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), announced a "landmark" tentative agreement that included:
(1) a tentative three-year agreement with the nation's air traffic controllers over pay and working conditions
(2) greater flexibility in their work schedules
(3) childcare support
(4) a new grievance review process
(5) a more equitable pay standard, to benefit new hires as well as veterans nearing retirement.
(6) affords FAA the flexibility to more effectively redeploy labor to congested airports using Controller Incentive Pay
Air traffic controllers have been working without an agreement since 2006. SourceWhite House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs announced: "Today, the President extended the authority for Department of Commerce-administered export controls. In addition, the President has directed that the NEC/NSC launch a broad-based interagency process for reviewing the overall U.S. export control system, including both the dual-use and defense trade processes. The aim of the review is to consider reforms to the system to enhance the national security, foreign policy, and economic security interests of the United States. The US has one of the most robust export control systems in the world. But, it is rooted in the Cold War era of over 50 years ago and must be updated to address the threats we face today and the changing economic and technological landscape."
United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Liberia to show support for Africa's only woman president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the only female African president.
Vice-President Joe Biden announced the launch of the $2.3 billion Recovery Act Green Manufacturer Tax Credit Program that will, he said, ""ramp up manufacturing of green energy materials in this country, while creating thousands of new jobs right here in our own backyard."
The President traveled to Belgrade, Montana, where he conducted a town hall on health insurance reform at Gallatin Field Hangar ER-2 in Belgrade. Among the President's remarks:
"We are held hostage at any given moment by health insurance companies that deny coverage, or drop coverage, or charge fees that people can't afford at a time when they desperately need care."
"One report found that three insurance companies alone had canceled 20,000 policies in this way over the past few years. One man from Illinois lost his coverage in the middle of chemotherapy because his insurer discovered he hadn't reported gall stones he didn't know about. True story. Because his treatment was delayed, he died. A woman from Texas was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer, was scheduled for a double mastectomy. Three days before surgery, the insurance company canceled the policy, in part because she forgot to declare a case of acne. True story. By the time she had her insurance reinstated, the cancer had more than doubled in size."
"But because we're getting close, the fight is getting fierce. And the history is clear: Every time we are in sight of health insurance reform, the special interests fight back with everything they've got. They use their influence, they run their ads, and their political allies try to scare the heck out of everybody. It happened in '93. It's happening now. It happened, by the way, when Lyndon Johnson tried to propose Medicare. It happened when John F. Kennedy tried to propose Medicare.We can't let them do it again. Not this time." Transcript Video
The President announced his intent to nominate:
Cynthia L. Quarterman to become the Administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration at the Department of Transportation.
The President announced he will designate Mary Lucille Jordan, currently serving as a Commissioner on the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission, as Chair of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission.
The President declared a major disaster exists in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and ordered Federal aid to supplement Commonwealth and local recovery efforts in the area struck by severe storms, straight-line winds, and flooding on August 4, 2009, making Federal funding available to affected individuals in Jefferson County.
The President and the First Lady stayed overnight in Big Sky, Montana.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs announced:
Samantha Power, Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights at the National Security Council in the White House, will coordinate the efforts of the many parts of the U.S. government on Iraqi refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), including the Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of Defense.
Mark Storella, a Senior Foreign Service officer who recently served as Deputy Chief of Mission in Geneva, arrived in Baghdad to take up the post of Senior Coordinator for Iraqi Refugees and Displaced Persons. Storella will coordinate the United States government's work in Iraq on refugees and IDPs, and will represent the United States in its dealings with the Iraqi Government, the international community, and non-governmental organizations on these issues.
Day 205/Aug15th/Saturday: in his weekly address, the President said Healthcare Reform will put an end 14,000 Americans losing their insurance everyday and provide everyone with the security and stability missing today, that it will stop insurance companies from creating annual or lifetime caps on coverage and will limit how much people can be charged for out-of-pocket expenses. Transcript Video
The President traveled to Grand Junction, Colorado for a healthcare reform town hall. Among the President's remarks:
"I recently signed into law a public lands bill that designates the Dominguez-Escalante Canyon as a National Conservation Area here in Colorado. These are national treasures, symbols of how much we owe to those who came before us, and the fact that we're borrowing this earth from those who will follow us."
"I know there's been a lot of attention paid to some of the town hall meetings that are going on around the country""especially those where tempers have flared, and TV really likes that. You can have 20 really great town hall meetings, and if there's one where somebody loses their temper, that's the one TV wants to cover."
"Almost 90 percent of individual health insurance policies have lifetime benefit limits. And about a third of family plans in the individual insurance market have lifetime limits under $3 million. If you or your spouse or your child gets sick and you hit that limit, it's suddenly like you have no insurance at all." Transcript Video
Day 206/Aug16th/Sunday: the President and his family were in Scottsdale, Arizona, where they visited the Grand Canyon. The President played some golf, also.[Author's note: all days in these chronicles are full days. The Obama Inauguration on January 20, 2009 was a half-day, so not counted.]