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The Obama Administration: February 1-14, 2010

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The President in the Cabinet Room

This article is the twenty-sixth 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.

"How do you expect people in this country to trust you when you've repeatedly broken promises that were made on the campaign trail, most recently the promise to have a transparent health care debate?"__question from Warren Hunter from Brooklyn, New York, to Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, February 1, 2010

Day374/Feb1st/Monday: The President delivered remarks on the budget in the Grand Foyer of the White House. Among the President's remarks, he said, "I've proposed a freeze in government spending for three years. This won't apply to the benefits folks get through Social Security, Medicaid, or Medicare. And it won't apply to our national security - including benefits for veterans. But it will apply to all other discretionary government programs. And we're not simply photocopying last year's budget; freezing spending does not mean we won't cut what doesn't work to pay for what does." Transcript Video Briefing by Office of Mananagement & Budget Video

The President and King Abdullah II of Jordan spoke by telephone about efforts to get Israeli-Palestinian negotiations underway and Special Envoy George Mitchell's latest trip to the region. The President expressed his appreciation for Jordan's staunch support for a two-state solution and comprehensive peace in the region. Source

The President telephoned Chilean President-elect Sebastian Pinera to congratulate Piñera on his recent electoral victory. Source

The President joined Vice President Joe Biden's discussions with Iraqi Vice President Tarig al-Hashimi at the White House. The leaders discussed political and economic developments within Iraq, the importance of transparent elections with broad participation, and Iraqi refugees. Source

The President participated in a YouTube interview in the Library of the White House, answering video and text questions submitted by YouTube users during and after the State of the Union. Users voted the best questions to the top on CitizenTube, YouTube's political platform, and Steve Grove, YouTube's news and political director, directed a selection of the top-voted questions to the President in a live-streamed interview on YouTube and WhiteHouse.gov. Among the questions to and answers of the President was:

Q: Warren Hunter in Brooklyn, asked: "How do you expect people in this country to trust you when you've repeatedly broken promises that were made on the campaign trail, most recently the promise to have a transparent health care debate?"

A: The President gave a lengthly response, by denied the charges: "We've actually followed through on a lot of the commitments that we'd made. And so Warren is mistaken in terms of how he characterized it." Transcript Video

The President sent these nominations to the United States Senate:

Jeffrey A. Lane, of Virginia, to be an Assistant Secretary of Energy (Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs)

Paul Steven Miller, of Washington, to be a Governor of the United States Postal Service for a term expiring December 8, 2016

Lana Pollack, of Michigan, to be a Commissioner on the part of the United States on the International Joint Commission, United States and Canada

J. Patricia Wilson Smoot, of Maryland, to be a Commissioner of the United States Parole Commission for a term of six years

Dennis J. Toner, of Delaware, to be a Governor of the United States Postal Service for the remainder of the term expiring December 8, 2012 Source Bios

The President signed into law:

H.R. 1377, which requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to pay for emergency medical treatment furnished to certain veterans in non-departmental facilities

S. 692, which provides that claims of the United States to documents relating to Franklin Delano Roosevelt that were in the possession of Grace Tully, his last personal secretary, at the time of her death are to be treated as waived and relinquished if any entity makes a gift of those documents to the United States National Archives and Records Administration. Source

The President proclaimed February 2010 as National African American History Month. Source

The President proclaimed February 2010 as American Heart Month, and invited all Americans to participate in National Wear Red Day on February 5, 2010, inviting the Governors of the States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, officials of other areas subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, and the American people to join him in recognizing and reaffirming commitment to fighting cardiovascular disease. Source

Day375/Feb2nd/Tuesday: The President traveled to Nashua, New Hampshire, where he toured a local business that makes energy efficient light bulbs, then held a town hall to discuss details of a new small business-lending proposal at Nashua High School North. Transcript Video Fact-Sheet on $30billion Small Business Lending Fund (pdf)

The President sent this nomination to the United States Senate:

Michele Marie Leonhart, of California, to be Administrator of Drug Enforcement Source Bio

The President declared a major disaster existed n the State of North Carolina and ordered Federal aid to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the area struck by severe winter storms and flooding during the period of December 18-25, 2009.Federal funding was made available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by severe winter storms and flooding in the counties of Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Haywood, Jackson, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Watauga, and Yancey. Federal funding also became available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide. Source

The President, "because the situation in or in relation to Côte d'Ivoire continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States" continued the national emergency declared on February 7, 2006, and the measures adopted on that date to deal with that emergency in effect beyond February 7, 2010 in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)) and Executive Order 13396 (pdf). Source additional information

Day376/Feb3rd/Wednesday: The President delivered remarks and responded to questions from the Senate Democratic Policy Committee Issues Conference at the Newseum. Among the questions and the President's answers were these:

Q: U.S. Senator Arlen Spector asked, "We have China violating international law with subsidies and dumping, really, a form of international banditry. They take our money and then they lend it back to us and own now a big part of the United States".Would you support more effective remedies to allow injured parties -- unions which lose jobs, companies which lose profits -- by endorsing a judicial remedy, if not in U.S. courts perhaps in an international court, and eliminate the aspect of having the ITC decisions overruled by the President -- done four times in 2003 to 2005-- at a cost of a tremendous number of jobs on the basis of the national interest. And if we have an issue on the national interest, let the nation pay for it, as opposed to the steel industry or the United Steel Workers."

Q: U.S. Senator Arlen Spector also asked: "When China got into the World Trade Organization, a matter that 15 of us in this body opposed, there were bilateral treaties. And China has not lived up to its obligations to have its markets open to us, but take our markets and take our jobs. Would you support an effort to revise, perhaps even revoke, those -- that bilateral treaty, which gives China such an unfair trade advantage?".

A: "Arlen, I would not be in favor of revoking the trade relationships that we've established with China. I have shown myself during the course of this year more than willing to enforce our trade agreements in a much more serious way. And at times I've been criticized for it. There was a case involving foreign tires that were being sent in here, and I said this was an example of where we've got to put our foot down and show that we're serious about enforcement. And it caused the usual fuss at the international level, but it was the right thing to do."

Q: U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer asked, "For community banks to lend, can you do that by executive order? My understanding is you can use some of the TARP funds that were paid back and use that -- or those funds that have not been used -- can you use that and get this going by executive order, or do you need us to put that program into a jobs bill?

A: "I do think it's better to do them through legislation than through executive order. TARP was a congressionally created structure with some fairly stringent guidelines in terms of how we were supposed to approach it. It shouldn't be hard to do, though. It's a pretty simple concept. Banks have repaid money; there's $30 billion that we could take that has already been repaid -- immediately apply that to a fund so that small banks are -- community banks are able to provide their small business customers with greater lending." Transcript Video

The President and Vice President Joe Biden met with a bipartisan group of Governors from across the country in the State Dining Room of the White House to discuss energy policy. The President announced a series of steps, primarily to boost biofuels and clean coal technologies, as part of his Administration's strategy to enhance American energy independence while building a foundation for a new clean energy economy that the President believed would create new industries and millions of jobs. Transcript Video Presidential Memorandum

The President and Vice President Joe Biden led a Cabinet-level exercise in the Cabinet Room to discuss preparedness, crisis response and incident-management procedures for the upcoming 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

The President sent a letter to the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives and to the President of the U.S. Senate informing them he was providing a classified report prepared by his Administration that included information on the conduct of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) from June 26, 2008, through November 16, 2009, and concluded that the DPRK does not meet the statutory criteria to again be designated as a state sponsor of terrorism. Source

The President announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to the Committee for the Preservation of the White House:

Pamela Bass-Bookey, co-developer and design consultant for the recently restored Temple for Performing Arts; an award winning historic preservation project

Lonnie Bunch, founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture

Robert G. Clark, Chairman and CEO of Clayco, Inc., one of the nation's largest, privately owned real estate, architecture, engineering, design, and construction firms

Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem

Richard H. Jenrette, founding partner of the investment firm Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette and instrumental in taking DLJ public in 1970, making it the first publicly traded securities firm in the United States

Lew Manilow, founder and former President of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago

Richard C. Nylander, curator emeritus of Historic New England (formerly The Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities), a Boston-based preservation organization that manages 35 historic house museums from Connecticut to Maine and maintains a collection of more than 120,000 artifacts relating to the cultural heritage of New England

Linda Johnson Rice, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Johnson Publishing Company, Inc. which publishes EBONY and JET magazines, and is also the parent company of Fashion Fair Cosmetics, LLC.

Paul Schimmel, Chief Curator of The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

Michael S. Smith, founder/principal of Michael S. Smith, Inc., a design firm located in Los Angeles and New York

Beth White, Director of the Chicago Region Office of The Trust for Public Land, a national organization dedicated to land conservation and the creation of urban parks

John Wilmerding, Emeritus Professor of American Art at Princeton University, and an adjunct curator in the Princeton University Art Museum Source&Bios

Vice President Joe Biden met with Gianfranco Fini, the President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies. They affirmed the strong friendship and cooperation between the United States and Italy and also discussed the need for strong international cooperation to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons capability and ways to deepen cooperation in the NATO mission in Afghanistan. Source

Day377/Feb4th/Thursday: The President and First Lady Michelle Obama attended the National Prayer Breakfast at the Washington, D.C. Hilton, and the President delivered remarks. Transcript Video

The President met with United States House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, and Steny Hoyer of the U.S. House of Representatives in the Oval Office of the White House to discuss a broad range of priorities at the top of the Obama Administration's legislative agenda.

The President had lunch with business leaders in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House.

The President and the Vice President met with United States Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner in the Oval Office.

The President and the Vice President met with United States Secretary of State Hilary Clinton in the Oval Office.

The President sent these nominations to the United States Senate:

Daryl J. Boness, to be a Member of the Marine Mammal Commission for a term expiring May 13, 2013. (Reappointment)

Parker Loren Carl, to be United States Marshal for the Eastern District of Kentucky for the term of four years Bio

David B. Fein, to be United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut for the term of four years Bio

Elizabeth Erny Foote, to be United States District Judge for the Western District of Louisiana Bio

Kerry Joseph Forestal, to be United States Marshal for the Southern District of Indiana for the term of four years Bio

Mark A. Goldsmith, to be United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Michigan Bio

Gerald Sidney Holt, to be United States Marshal for the Western District of Virginia for the term of four years Bio

Clifton Timothy Massanelli, to be United States Marshal for the Eastern District of Arkansas for the term of four years Bio

Scott Jerome Parker, to be United States Marshal for the Eastern District of North Carolina for the term of four years Bio

Timothy Q. Purdon, to be United States Attorney for the District of North Dakota for the term of four years Bio

Larry Robinson, to be Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere

Marc T. Treadwell, to be United States District Judge for the Middle District of Georgia Bio

Josephine Staton Tucker, to be United States District Judge for the Central District of California Bio Source

The President announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to the Council of Governors:

Governor Jim Douglas, Co-Chair, Council of Governors

Governor Christine Gregoire, Co-Chair, Council of Governors

Governor Janice Brewer, Member, Council of Governors

Governor Luis Fortuno, Member, Council of Governors

Governor Brad Henry, Member, Council of Governors

Governor Robert McDonnell, Member, Council of Governors

Governor Jay Nixon, Member, Council of Governors

Governor Martin O'Malley, Member, Council of Governors

Governor Beverly Perdue, Member, Council of Governors

Governor M. Michael Rounds, Member, Council of Governors

The Council, created January 11, 2010 by Executive Order, works closely with the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and other defense and national security advisors to exchange views, information and advice on matters of mutual interest pertaining to the National Guard, homeland defense, synchronization and integration of State and Federal military activities in the United States, and civil support activities. Source

In the evening, the President delivered remarks at a Democratic National Committee (DNC) fundraising reception at the Capitol Hilton, then participated in a question and answer session facilitated by Organizing for America Director Mitch Stewart. Transcript

The President delivered remarks at a DNC fundraising dinner at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Transcript C-Span Video

The President announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key administration posts:

Richard M. Lobo, Director, International Broadcasting Bureau

Lowell Junkins, Chairman and Member of the Board of Directors, Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation

Sara L. Faivre-Davis, Member of the Board of Directors, Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation Source&Bios

Myles Watts, Member of the Board of Directors, Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation Source&bio

United States Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced details of President Obama's National Export Initiative (NEI), a key part of the President's strategy to get America's economy growing strongly again.Among the initiative's components:

Expand the US government's export promotion efforts in all its forms by funneling $132 million to the Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration (ITA), and the US Department of Agriculture to educate U.S. farmers and businesses about opportunities overseas and directly connect them with new customers

Improve access to credit, especially for small and medium-sized businesses that want to export

Increase the government's focus on knocking down barriers that prevent U.S. companies from getting open and fair access to foreign markets Source

Aneesh Chopra reported a collaboration between industry, the health community and government to bring a free mobile health service for pregnant women and new mothers, giving them useful tips timed to their pregnancy or age of baby. The service is called text4baby, and it is an educational program of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition. Women who sign up for the service by texting BABY to 511411 (or BEBE for Spanish) receive three free SMS text messages each week timed to their due date or baby's date of birth. Text4baby messages also connect women to local clinics and support services for prenatal and infant care. Source

Day378/Feb5th/Friday: The President attended a memorial service and delivered remarks at the CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia for the seven Americans killed in eastern Afghanistan on December 30, 2009. Family members and more than a thousand Agency officers gathered in attendance, along with guests including senior officials from the Intelligence Community, the White House and the Pentagon, as well as members of Congress. Transcript

The President traveled to Lanham, Maryland where he visited Oasis Mechanical Contractors and met with small business owners, then delivered remarks on job creation and small business initiatives. Transcript Video

The President met with members of the Park View Little League baseball team of Chula Vista, California in the East Room of the White House to congratulate them on winning the 2009 Little League World Series.

The President announced his intent to appoint the following individuals:

Chuck Close, Member, President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities

Fred Goldring, Member, President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities

Sheila Johnson, Member, President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities

Pamela Joyner, Member, President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities

Jhumpa Lahiri, Member, President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities

Ken Solomon, Member, President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities Source&Bios

The President declared a major disaster existed in the State of New Jersey and ordered Federal aid to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the area struck by a snowstorm during the period of December 19-20, 2009. Federal funding was made available to State and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the snowstorm in the counties of Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cumberland, Gloucester, Ocean, and Salem. In addition, assistance was made available to State and eligible local governments on a cost-sharing basis for emergency protective measures, including snow assistance, for a continuous 48-hour period during or proximate to the incident period. Federal funding became also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide. Source

Day379/Feb6th/Saturday: In his Weekly Address, the President urged the United States Congress to move forward immediately on steps to expand and create jobs. These proposals include using $30 billion in the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds to create a new Small Business Lending Fund to provide capital to community banks to increase lending to small businesses, offering a new tax credit for over one million small businesses that hire new workers or raise wages, and providing targeted support for the most innovative small businesses with the potential to export new goods and products. Source Transcript Video

The President delivered remarks at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Winter Meeting at the Capitol Hilton. Transcript C-Span Video

Day380/Feb7th/Sunday: The President and the First Lady Michelle Obama hosted a Super Bowl party at the White House.

Federal agencies went live this weekend with their own webpages in order to make work more transparent, part of fullfilling the Open Government Directive. These pages contain the latest news and updates, downloadable information unique to each individual agency, and information about how each agency is moving to implement the President's call for a more transparent, participatory, and collaborative government.Links: Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, Department of Education , Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of the Interior, Department of Justice, Department of Labor, Department of State, Department of Transportation, Department of the Treasury, Department of Veterans Affairs, Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Agency for International Development, General Services Administration , National Science Foundation, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Office of Personnel Management, Small Business Administration, Social Security Administration, Corporation for National and Community Service, International Trade Commission, National Archives and Records Administration, National Transportation Safety Board, Peace Corps, Council on Environmental Quality, Office of Management and Budget, Office of National Drug Control Policy, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Office of the United States Trade Representative Source

Day381/Feb8th/Monday: The President met with United States Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar in the Roosevelt Room of the White House.

The President released a statement on the death of Democratic Representative of the United States House of Representatives John Murtha. Statement

Day382/Feb9th/Tuesday: The President spoke about and signed a memorandum on childhood obesity in the Oval Office of the White House as part of First Lady Michelle Obama's nationwide campaign to combat childhood obesity. Transcript Video Presidential Memorandum

The President and Vice President Joe Biden met with bipartisan leaders of the United States House of Representatives and U.S. Senate to discuss working together on the economy and jobs. The President's Opening Remarks Video

The President conducted an unscheduled press conference from the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. Transcript Video

The President and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement, a concert celebrating Black History month. Transcript of the President's Remarks The concert featured songs from the Civil Rights Movement as well as readings from famous Civil Rights speeches and writings with participants including Bob Dylan, Jennifer Hudson, Smokey Robinson, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, The Freedom Singers, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Yolanda Adams, Joan Baez, Natalie Cole and John Mellencamp. Video#1:The Blind Boys Video#2:Smokey Robinson Video#3:Bob Dylan Video#4:The Freedom Singers Video#5:Yolanda Adams Video#6:Jennifer Hudson Video#7:Joan Baez Video#8:Natalie Cole Video#9:John Mellencamp Video#10:Smokey Robinson&Jennifer Hudson Video#11:Yolanda Adams

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it would take steps to more stringently regulate three of the most potent forms of medical radiation, including CT scans, some of which deliver the radiation equivalent of 400 chest X-rays. Source

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk announced at a news conference with Mexican Economy Minister Gerardo Ruiz the Obama administration took the first step toward renewing a pilot program that allows Mexican truckers to operate within the United States, as stipulated in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), but still must work with the United States Congress on fashioning a new program. "With the offending language now being removed from the most recent appropriations bill, we have at least the green light to go forward and start those consultations with Congress" and other interested parties, Kirk said. Source

A vote in the United States Senate to close debate on the nomination of Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) failed 52-33, eight short of the 60 votes needed to block a filibuster. Source

Day383/Feb10th/Wednesday: The President met with African American leaders in the Oval Office of the White House to discuss the economy and jobs. In attendance were: Al Sharpton, founder of the National Action Network; NAACP President Benjamin T. Jealous; and Marc H. Morial, president of the National Urban League. Source

The U.S.Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced it is rescinding, temporarily, enforcement of its 24-month cumulative cap on short-term and emergency housing assistance under the Ryan White program, pending a broader review of Ryan White housing policies. The program provides for the care and treatment of people living with HIV/AIDS. Source

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke released his plan to shrink the Fed's balance sheet:

(1) changes to the Fed's discount window operation, where banks can borrow on an emergency basis at a premium, would go from 90-day down to 28-day loans

(2) the maximum loan amounts would be lowered

(3) the cost of borrowing emergency money would go up

Of these measures, Bernanke stated, "We have full confidence that, when the time comes, we will be ready to do so." Source

The White House warned that a British court's order releasing once-secret details of the harsh interrogation of a terrorism suspect could affect US-British intelligence sharing. "We're deeply disappointed with the court's judgment today, because we shared this information in confidence and with certain expectations," said Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for President Barack Obama. Source

Day384/Feb11th/Thursday: The President signed the Economic Report of the President in the Oval Office of the White House.

The President and Vice President Joe Biden met with United States Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner in the Oval Office.

The President and Vice President Joe Biden met with United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Oval Office.

The President met with the 2009 and 2010 March of Dimes Ambassadors in the Oval Office.

The President telephoned Victor Yanukovych of Ukraine to congratulate him on his election and wish him success and commended the Ukrainian people on the conduct of their February 7, 2010 vote. Source

The President released a statement on the United States Senate's confirmation of 27 of his high-level nominees, many of whom had been awaiting a vote for months. During his February 9, 2010 press conference, the President had threatened to use recess appointments for some of his long-stalled picks.

Vice President Joe Biden and Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency Lisa P. Jackson hosted a conference call with elected officials from across the country to discuss implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Vice President discussed the ways state governments are working to meet the deadline for obligating their Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, and offered his assistance in doing so. State governments are required to place 100 percent of their funds under contract by February 17, 2010. The following elected officials participated:

Governor Haley Barbour (R-MS)

Governor Ted Kulongoski (D-OR)

Governor Bill Richardson (D-NM)

Mayor Adrian Fenty (D-DC) Source

The President's Council of Economic Advisors released the Economic Report of the President for 2010, a detailed economic history of the first year of the Obama Administration, the economic challenges facing the United States, the policy actions that had already been taken to address those challenges, and the President's proposals for further action. Source

Day385/Feb12th/Friday: The President spoke via telephone with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, expressing his strong support, and that of the American people, for the Prime Minister and the Lebanese people as they mark the upcoming anniversary of the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. The President said the American people admired and appreciated the Prime Minister's commitment to carrying on his father's work. The President and Prime Minister agreed on the importance of supporting the work of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon to bring those responsible for the assassination to justice. President Obama and Prime Minister Hariri also discussed bilateral issues on which the United States and Lebanon are cooperating, including U.S. support for the Lebanese Armed Forces. Source

United States Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis announced a total of nearly $1 billion in Recovery Act awards to help health care providers advance the adoption and meaningful use of health information technology (IT) and train workers for the health care jobs of the future. The awards would help make health IT available to over 100,000 hospitals and primary care physicians by 2014, train thousands of people for careers in health care and information technology, and help grow the emerging health IT industry. Source

Day386/Feb13th/Saturday: In his Weekly Address, the President, hours after signing pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) legislation into law, praised this step towards restoring fiscal responsibility and called for both parties to set aside politics and do the hard work of addressing the deficit.Since the proposed Fiscal Commission was recently blocked in the Senate by a handful of Republicans who had previously backed the idea -- the President declared his intension to create the commission by executive order. Transcript Video

The President addressed by video the U.S.-Islamic World Forum in Doha, Qatar. Transcript&Video

The President announced his appointment of Rashad Hussain to serve as his Special Envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). Comprised of over 50 member states, the OIC is the second largest inter-governmental organization in the world, and Rashad Hussain was expected to deepen and expand the partnerships that the United States pursued with Muslims around the world since President Obama's speech in Cairo in June 2009. Source

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs joined Twitter. "Learning about 'the twitter' -- easing into this with first tweet -- any tips?" read his first message. Source

Day387/Feb14th/Sunday: The President traveled to Camp David.

A van in Vice President Joe Biden's motorcade carrying members of the official US Olympic Games Delegation was involved in a minor accident while traveling to an event. Two members of the delegation, Peggy Fleming and Vonetta Flowers, received minor injuries and were taken to a local hospital as a precaution. They were both evaluated and released. Neither the Vice President nor anyone else in his party was involved in the incident. Source

[Author's note: all days in these chronicles are full days. The Obama Inaugeration on January 20, 2009 was a half-day, so not counted.]

 

Retired, Robert Arend was president of an AFSCME local from 1997-2007.
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