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January 21st, 2013
07:04 AM ET

Will President Obama's second inaugural address be memorable?Ana Navarro and Roland Martin weigh in

Washington is abuzz with Americans excited to see the president’s second inauguration festivities today. Many are speculating what President Obama might say in his speech. CNN Contributor and Republican Strategist Ana Navarro and CNN Political Analyst Roland Martin weigh in on what to expect from the president’s second inaugural address.

January 21st, 2013
07:00 AM ET

Securing the inaugural parade route; Former Secret Service Agent Dan Bongino on planning for the 'big 6' scenarios

Every four years the inaugural parade kicks off the biggest party in town. And when the president is the center of the celebration, it means a big logistical challenge along the parade route.

Former Secret Service Agent Dan Bongino is familiar with the entire operation. Four years ago he headed up security for President Obama's first inaugural parade. Agent Bongino describes the planning behind the monumental task of securing the president, block by block.

January 15th, 2013
07:46 AM ET

Vice President Biden shares gun control recommendations with President Obama; White House Correspondent Dan Lothian reports

Aurora, Newtown, Webster are all places recently marred by tragedies by gunfire. Now, Vice President Joe Biden has officially delivered his recommendations to President Obama with suggestions for trying to stop these horrific shootings from happening again.

The recommendations reportedly include proposing background checks on all gun sales, making certain rapid-fire weapons off-limits and keeping guns away from the mentally ill. White House Correspondent Dan Lothian is following developments and has more on “Early Start” this morning.

January 8th, 2013
08:06 AM ET

Special Correspondent for Newsweek & The Daily Beast, Peter Beinart, on criticism of Hagel nomination: 'character assassination to be honest'

President Obama is looking at a tough second term ahead as he re-stocks his cabinet, getting criticized for his choices by politicians from both parties. He officially nominated former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, a Republican, to replace Leon Panetta as Secretary of Defense. The president said Monday, "Chuck Hagel's leadership of our military would be historic. He'd be the first person of enlisted rank to serve as Secretary of Defense. One of the few secretaries who have been wounded in war and the first Vietnam veteran to lead the department.”

The president also gave a nod to his Anti-Terrorism Chief John Brennan to be the next Director of The CIA. But it's Hagel who's getting the most scrutiny as critics pick apart comments he made in the past. Peter Beinart is a Special Correspondent for Newsweek & The Daily Beast and the author of "The Crisis of Zionism". He wrote a very in-depth piece about the implications of Hagel's nomination and comes to “Early Start” this morning with his take.

Hagel, who has publicly expressed his opposition to war, is being criticized for it by politicians for his views on sanctions and military action in Iran. Beinart believes Hagel is just considering the enormous financial costs of imposing wars. “He’s a lot like Dwight Eisenhower, who people forget drove the defense budget down quite dramatically,” Beinart says. “He believed America’s real power was its fiscal health.” Hagel is also being scrutinized for his position on Israel and relationship with the Jewish community, who many believe he does not support and some equate to anti-Semitic. Beinart refutes this assessment. "I think this is really a smoke screen," Beinart says. "I think it's character assasination to be honest."

November 9th, 2012
06:19 AM ET

Obama gets emotional talking to campaign staff – Brianna Keilar reports

From CNN's Political Ticker:

(CNN) – Video of President Barack Obama's visit Wednesday to his campaign headquarters in Chicago shows the newly re-elected commander in chief becoming emotional while heralding the hard work of his young staffers.

"I am absolutely confident that all of you are going to do amazing things in your lives," Obama says in the video, which was posted on his campaign's official Youtube page Thursday.

In his brief speech to the young crowd, Obama drew parallels to the work his team had just finished and the community organizing post he took up when he first moved to the Windy City at 25, saying his campaign team was "so much better than I was" at accomplishing their goals.

Toward the end of his five-minute-long remarks, Obama got choked up telling the staffers how proud he was of their hard work. The show of emotion – extremely rare for Obama – was met with loud applause.

This morning on "Early Start," CNN's Brianna Keilar shares the video.

READ MORE: Obama gets emotional talking to campaign staff

September 4th, 2012
06:55 AM ET

Can Democrats get the love back? CNN contributor Maria Cardona on building enthusiasm at the DNC

The Democratic National Convention kicks off tonight with party leaders poised to answer the critical question posed by Republicans recently: Are Americans better off now than they were four years ago? CNN Contributor and Democrat Strategist Maria Cardona joins John Berman and CNN Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash on “Early Start” this morning to share her take on DNC.

Given that the latest Gallup poll shows Republicans are more enthusiastic about voting than Democrats at 39% to 51%, Cardona admits that “it’s going to be very challenging” for President Obama to repeat the kind of enthusiasm he had in 2008 for this election, when Democrats were more enthusiastic about voting than Republicans at 61% to 35%.

She says President Obama will use this convention to rebuild that enthusiasm. “He’s going to be talking about the context under which he accepted the role of president four years ago,” she says. “He’s going to be talking about what he’s going to be doing to continue on the path forward for the focus of middle class families.”

Cardona also responds to Bash’s question about disappointment in the president among Democrats.

“As we know, there is disappointment, but the Republicans need to be careful about one word, and that word is ‘context’,” she says. “Voters are more willing than they have been in a long time to look at this election in context, understanding what the president was handed, understanding that he got zero help from the Republicans.”

August 21st, 2012
06:57 AM ET

President Obama to Syria: Don't cross 'red line' – Jim Clancy on what this means for ongoing violence in the country

(CNN) - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should heed U.S. warnings to neither use nor move chemical or biological weapons, lest he risk crossing a "red line" and provoke a U.S. military response, President Barack Obama said Monday.

"We cannot have a situation where chemical or biological weapons are falling into the hands of the wrong people," Obama told reporters at the White House. "We have been very clear to the Assad regime - but also to other players on the ground - that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized."

"That would change my calculus; that would change my equation."

Obama added that U.S. officials are monitoring the situation "very carefully" and have put together a number of contingency plans.

On "Early Start" this morning, Jim Clancy reports on what President Obama's warning means for the ongoing violence in Syria.

READ MORE: Obama warns Syria not to cross 'red line'

Filed under: President Barack Obama • Syria
July 5th, 2012
05:30 AM ET

President Obama's 'Betting on America' bus tour ready to roll

President Obama's "Betting on America" bus tour starts today and is heading for the Rust Belt. It kicks off with four campaign stops in Ohio today, then on to Pennsylvania for an appearance in Pittsburgh, aka "The Steel City" tomorrow.

This morning on "Early Start," Brianna Keilar previews the bus tour, explaining how President Obama will emphasize how the economic stimulus and the auto bailouts worked to shore up the economy. Keilar also details how the Romney campaign will work to counter his economic message.

Filed under: 2012 election • Politics • President Barack Obama
June 19th, 2012
11:14 AM ET

Obama, Putin in Syria standoff as world struggles to end violence – CNN's Jill Dougherty explains

Jill Dougherty on President Obama's meeting with Russia's Vladimir Putin and the lack of progress on an agreement on Syria.

Filed under: President Barack Obama • Russia • Syria
June 4th, 2012
07:22 AM ET

Best excuse note ever: President Obama gets 5th grader out of class

Tyler Sullivan may have received the greatest excuse note of all time. The 11-year-old boy will be returning to his fifth grade class with a handwritten note from President Obama, explaining Tyler's absence from class.

Tyler had been attending an event where the President spoke at a Honeywell factory where his dad works. After the speech, President Obama asks Tyler if he needed an excuse note. The President broke out the official Presidential stationary and wrote "Mr. Ackerman, Please excuse Tyler... he was with me! Barack Obama."

This morning on "Early Start," Tyler and his teacher Terry Ackerman talk about getting the note from the President.

Filed under: President Barack Obama
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