By Jessica Yellin
(CNN) – 102-year-old Desiline Victor is among first lady Michelle Obama‘s guests at the State of the Union Tuesday – and her example is meant to drive home President Barack Obama’s commitment to protecting voting rights made during his inaugural address. In that speech he said, “Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote.”
Victor, a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Haiti, waited in line for three hours to cast an early vote ballot in Florida. According to voting rights advocates who know Victor’s story, when she returned later in the day other people in line urged election officials to get her in to vote. It was her second time filling out a ballot since she became a citizen in 2005.
The president’s power to alter voting practices is limited. Only Congress has the power to create national standards. Voting rights advocates are calling for uniform rules around early voting, voter identification laws and means of registration but this cannot be done by executive action.
President Barack Obama says Hillary Rodham Clinton will go down as one of the finest secretaries of state the nation has ever seen. He tells this to Steve Kroft with Clinton sitting beside him in the Blue Room of the White House, in their first joint interview conducted today for broadcast on 60 Minutes, Sunday, Jan. 27 at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT.
The joint interview is the only U.S. interview the president has ever given with anyone other than his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama. FULL ARTICLE
Washington (CNN) – After celebrating his second inaugurationwith a throng estimated at about 800,000, President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama spent the evening at more intimate affairs: 30,000 guests at two inaugural balls.
The Obamas first swung by the Commander in Chief’s Ball, where they danced in front of a sea of cell phone cameras to Jennifer Hudson‘s performance of Al Green‘s classic “Let’s Stay Together.” They then switched partners: the first lady danced with Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Timothy D. Easterling and the president danced with an Air Force Staff Sgt. Bria D. Nelson.
Obama sang a bit of the same song at a campaign fundraiser in Harlem last year.
The first lady wore a custom, ruby-colored gown designed by Jason Wu, who also designed her inaugural gown in 2009, and the president wore a tuxedo and white tie.
Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, also appeared at the two balls, dancing to Jamie Foxx performing Ray Charles‘ “I Can’t Stop Loving You.” Foxx portrayed the singer in the movie “Ray.”
The Bidens also switched partners with military members, the vice president dancing with Army Staff Sgt. Keesha Nicole Dentino and Mrs. Biden with Navy Petty Officer Patrick Figueroa. FULL ARTICLE
JOE BIDEN WILL TAKE HIS OATH AT 8:05 AM
Weekly Address: The President and First Lady Extend a Holiday Greeting and Thank our Troops for their Service
In this week’s address, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, and thank our brave troops and their families for their service. The President and First Lady ask the American people to visit JoiningForces.gov to find ways to honor and support our veterans and military families, and say that we must all come together, as we always do, to care for each other during this holiday season.
Watch President Obama’s weekly address.
By Scott Stump, TODAY contributor
U.S. Marine Corps captain Matthew Phelps asked, and his partner Ben Schock said yes.
On Saturday night, Phelps was photographed getting down on one knee in what is believed to be the first same-sex marriage proposal ever made in the White House. The couple’s engagement came 14 months after the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell’’ policy officially ended, and the joyful photo was quickly passed around on social media shortly after it was posted online by the American Military Partner Association. The proposal occurred while Phelps and Schock were taking a Christmas tour of the White House together.
“Such a special night surrounded by wonderful people in an amazing place, and the best is still yet to come,” Phelps wrote on his Facebook page. “Thanks for all the wonderful greetings and messages, and thanks to Barack Obama and Michelle Obama for lending us your home for the occasion!”
“Such a wonderful night for us, and it’s received so much attention on Facebook!’’ Phelps also wrote on his blog. “Really, the only thing on my mind was making it a memorable and unforgettable night for Ben. Thank you all for the well wishes!!” FULL ARTICLE
THE PRESIDENT AND THE FIRST LADY ARE JOYOUS!
|Kind of amazing.You have to see this video.Every White House has the privilege of hosting some world class athletes. Every President gets an opportunity to welcome Super Bowl champions, winners of the NBA Finals, and other professional and collegiate athletes at the top of their games.
But every once in a while, the White House hosts a group of champions who represent us all — Team USA.
Last week, more than 400 Olympians and Paralympians gathered at the White House for an event to celebrate their success in this year’s London Games.
We put together a video that takes you behind the scenes and lets you hear from the athletes as they describe their visit. Check it out here:
GO TO WHITEHOUSE BLOG
We also sat down with one extraordinary athlete — Lieutenant Brad Snyder — as he met with First Lady Michelle Obama.
Lieutenant Snyder is a veteran of the U.S. Navy. Exactly one year after he was blinded by an improvised explosive device while on duty in Afghanistan, he won gold in the 400-meter freestyle in the London Paralympics, finishing nearly six seconds ahead of the next closest competitor.
That video is pretty special, too.
Check them both out here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/team-usa