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May 16th, 2013
10:08 AM ET

IRS Commissioner Forced out: CNN's Dan Lothian Reports

Wednesday the President asked IRS commissioner Steve Miller to resign.  This was in response to newest reports that the IRS may have targeted conservative and tea party groups that were seeking tax exempt status.  President Obama said in a statement that he, 'would not tolerate this behavior.' The President further claims that he will do everything he can to make sure something like this never happens again. 

This scandal has drawn bi-partisan outrage. House speaker John Boehner said in a press conference,  "My question is.. .who's going to jail?" 

READ MORE: Boehner on IRS Scandal 'Who is going to jail?'

Filed under: IRS • Politics • President Barack Obama
March 21st, 2013
08:08 AM ET

Fmr. Ambassador Holliday: President Obama's meeting with Palestinian President Abbas 'a significant visit'

Today, President Obama is in the West Bank city of Ramallah for the second leg of his historic Middle East visit. He is meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss the possibility of reviving peace talks in the region. The president has said he is prepared to listen, and hasn't come with a peace plan. The two leaders will talk at a working lunch and will then address the media.

But the trip is already marred by violence. Two rockets fired from Gaza  landed in the southern Israel city of Sderot hours earlier, while the president was about 60 miles away in Jerusalem. There are reports of property damage but no injuries.

Stuart Holliday, president and CEO of the Meridian International Center and fmr. former U.S. Ambassador special political affairs to the UN Security Council, weighs in on Obama’s meeting with Abbas today and how the attacks may have affected it. Holliday says the rocket attacks are a reminder that the Palestinian Authority does not control Gaza and that the Palestinian government is divided, highlighting "the weakness that we face in terms of the talks restarting."

Holliday calls the president's trip a significant visit, but notes that the Palestinians are very skeptical about what the president hopes to accomplish.  “I think it's a mixed bag,” Holliday says. “But I do believe that they would view the president's visit, and the look for any opportunity to get these talks restarted. And of course, they've been on the sidelines, waiting for what they see as a critical issue, for these settlements to halt. Whereas Israelis have said, look, ‘we're ready to talk at any point as long as you don't put preconditions on these talks.’”

March 21st, 2013
07:28 AM ET

President Obama meets with Palestinian President Abbas hours after rockets from Gaza land in southern Israel

Today, President Obama is in the West Bank city of Ramallah for the second leg of his historic Middle East visit. He arrived from Jerusalem this morning, making a 10-mile trip between two Middle East cities that are worlds apart.

The trip is already marred by violence. Two rockets fired from Gaza landed in the southern Israel city of Sderot earlier, underscoring the urgency of the visit. It happened just a few hours ago while the president was still in Jerusalem, about 60 miles away. There are reports of property damage, but no injuries.

The president is in Ramallah to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The two leaders will talk at a working lunch and will then address the media.

Later today, President Obama returns to Jerusalem for a state dinner in his honor hosted by Israeli President Shimon Peres.

Chief White House Correspondent Jessica Yellin is live from Ramallah with the latest on how the rockets may have affected what the president hopes to accomplish today.

March 20th, 2013
07:01 AM ET

VIDEO: President Obama arrives in Tel Aviv for first visit to Israel

President Obama arrives in Tel Aviv for his first visit to Israel since becoming President of the United States.

Filed under: Israel • President Barack Obama
March 15th, 2013
06:53 AM ET

CNN Trends: American women want 'royal' nose & Obama's ideal Israeli excursion

According to the New York Daily News, there's something the Duchess of Cambridge has that American women really want— her nose.  There’s been a surge in women asking plastic surgeons for "The Kate Middleton". Experts say her nose has a feminine look with a cute upturn at the end.

Also trending on the web is an interview President Obama had with Israeli television ahead of his trip to Israel where he appears to be channeling Joe Biden in talking about what he'd really like to do there. He just wants to wander down Tel Aviv, go to a bar and spend time with strangers! The president heads to Israel for the first time as president next week.

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Filed under: Israel • President Barack Obama • Royal family • Royals • Trending
January 29th, 2013
07:07 AM ET

CNN Trends: Man's fast food funeral, and Lebron goes to the White House

Trending on the web this morning: One man's final wish to have a fast food funeral is granted, and President Obama welcomes Lebron James & the Miami Heat to the White House.

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Filed under: NBA • President Barack Obama • Sports • Trending
January 22nd, 2013
07:05 AM ET

President Obama inaugural speech's place in history – Nick Ragone weighs in

Presidential historian Nick Ragone on how President Obama's second inauguration speech will be viewed by history.

January 22nd, 2013
06:52 AM ET

Washington celebrates President Obama with parties galore – Brianna Keilar reports

Brianna Keilar reports on the numerous parties celebrating President Barack Obama's second inauguration.

January 21st, 2013
07:38 AM ET

Creating an historic moment: Presidential Inauguration Committee's Brent Colburn explains logistics

The focus all over the country today is on the inaugural ceremony and parade in Washington. Tonight it will be all about the parties. Big name artists including Katy Perry, Brad Paisley, Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys and John Legend are all expected to perform. But the celebration is somewhat scaled back from four years ago. The presidential inaugural committee is hosting just two official inaugural balls this year compared to 10 official balls in 2009. Brent Colburn is Communications Director for the Presidential Inauguration Committee. With more on the logistics of the festivities, he joins us on “Early Start” this morning.

Colburn describes the differences between the first and second inauguration’s programming.  “Obviously second inaugurals are a little different than first inaugurals,” he says. “[They] tend to be a little bit smaller, but they’re a really important moment. It’s an important moment for the president to look back at where we've gone as a country, and for the country to look forward.”

January 21st, 2013
07:31 AM ET

Vision, unity should be themes in President Obama's inauguration speech – fmr. campaign messaging director Brett O'Donnell explains

In just a few hours, the country will watch as Barack Obama is inaugurated for a second term as President of the United States. Washington is abuzz in anticipation for the big ceremony and the president’s big speech as he embarks on the next four years in office.

Brett O'Donnell was the Messaging Director for John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign. In the last election cycle, he worked for both the Michele Bachmann and Mitt Romney campaigns. This morning, O’Donnell offers his thoughts on what the president has to accomplish in speech today.

O’Donnell says inaugural addresses are about two things. “They're about vision and they're about unity,” he says. “The challenge for the president is really to bring the country together, to sound a vision for the country that is eloquent and that will inspire Americans to come together and get behind him and get behind our elected leaders to work for the good of the country.”

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