THE PRESIDENT DOUBLE-DOWNS ON OBAMACARE
By Arwa Damon and Faith Karimi, CNN
Johannesburg, South Africa (CNN) – In a symbol befitting a nation in mourning, dark gray clouds swept over Johannesburg on Friday.
Under overcast skies that threatened to rain any minute, South Africans draped in flags and images of Nelson Mandela gathered on the streets to sing and dance.
Children spelled out “we love you Mandela” on the grass using rocks near his home in the suburb of Houghton. Nearby, stuffed animals and flowers sat in a heap.
Others wept as they lit candles.
Mandela, 95, died Thursday. The nation’s first black president battled health issues in recent years, including a recurring lung infection that led to numerous hospitalizations.
President Jacob Zuma announced the loss late Thursday night, long after many South Africans had gone to bed.
They didn’t find out until Friday morning.
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Got a question for President Obama? Now is your chance to ask him.
Hardball host Chris Matthews will sit down for a Q&A with the commander-in-chief on Thursday at American University in Washington, D.C. During the town hall-style interview, Obama will also answer students’ questions, in addition to some of yours, via the official “Let’s Play Hardball” group on msnbc.com.
Obama’s interview with Matthews comes following the rocky rollout of HealthCare.gov, an interim nucleardeal with Iran, renewed calls for immigration reform, and with new budget negotiations on the horizon.
Matthews will discuss a number of topics with Obama, including voter suppression, healthcare, political gridlock in D.C., growing dissatisfaction with the government and more. The interview will air on Thursday evening’s Hardball at 7 p.m. ET.
By Jennifer Epstein
“I don’t have an update for you on that. I know that he will and has said that he will,” Carney told reporters.
Asked when the registration will happen and whether the White House will make it open to the press, Carney responded: ”I’ll get back to you.”
Soon after the ACA passed, the White House had told USA Today that Obama would sign up for insurance through an exchange, and when POLITICO followed up earlier this year, a reporter was directed back to those comments.
Carney’s comments Monday were the first recent confirmation of the president’s plans. He has the option of choosing to work through the District of Columbia or his home state of Illinois.
How the president’s Irish “cousin” is making shrewd use of the First Family.
By Ben Schreckinger
There was little surprise when, shortly after President Obama’s chopper touched down in a patch of emerald grass in Moneygall, Ireland, in 2011, he was whisked inside the local watering hole and soon seen hoisting a pint and mugging for snapshots. It was a photo op, to be sure—one that played well with any of the 40 million Irish-Americans who saw pictures of the president’s visit to their ancestral homeland—but few people would have figured that it was the young Irishman at Obama’s side, Henry Healy, a then-26-year-old former accountant, who would go on to make deft political use of the moment. Fewer still who saw the pictures would have guessed they were looking at two old relatives catching up over a Guinness.
Healy, whose bright smile and ginger hair gives him a rather stereotypically Irish appearance, is a distant relative of Obama’s—who is more often described as America’s first African-American president, not its 12th one with Irish heritage. But both are accurate: Four years before that Obama visit to Ireland, Healy’s paternal uncle used parish records to trace then-Sen. Obama’s great-great-great grandfather to their village of Moneygall, population 310. Healy is one of several distant Obama relations still living in the hamlet, halfway between Dublin and Limerick, and when Obama upset Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Iowa caucuses, television cameras showed up, and the family put Healy forward as spokesman to explain how happy they were for their long lost cousin. “Speaking in public wouldn’t be something I’d be afraid of,” says Healy, who—as seems to be the village habit—often makes statements by speaking in the conditional. On an island where American politics looms large, Healy was an overnight celebrity.