Posted tagged ‘President’

Barack Obama Inauguration Schedule

January 19, 2009

For those looking for it, the Associated Press has a full schedule of Barack Obama’s inaugural events and it can be found below.

From the article:

MONDAY, JAN. 19

  • National Day of Community Service event: To honor Dr. King’s legacy, Obama, Biden and their families, joined by Americans across the country, will participate in activities dedicated to serving others in communities across the Washington, D.C. area.
  • Black Tie & Boots Inaugural Ball, sponsored by the Texas State Society, at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center.
  • Green Inaugural Ball at the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture. Ball hosted by former Vice President Al Gore.
  • Huffington Post preinaugural ball at the Newseum.
  • Hip-Hop Inaugural Ball at the Harman Center for the Arts. Hosted by the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, Russell Simmons, LL Cool J, among others.
  • A children’s evening concert at the Verizon Center honoring military families. Event hosted by Michelle Obama, who will attend. Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers are among the entertainers.
  • Obama to attend three private dinners to honor former secretary of State Colin Powell, Biden and Sen. John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, for their public service. Dinners at the Hilton Washington, National Building Museum and Union Station.

TUESDAY, JAN. 20 (INAUGURATION DAY)

  • Gates to the Inaugural Ceremony open at 8 a.m. The inaugural festivities are scheduled to start at 10 a.m. on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol. They will include:
  • Musical selections of The United States Marine Band, followed by the San Francisco Boys Chorus and the San Francisco Girls Chorus.
  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein provides call to order and welcoming remarks.
  • Invocation by the Rev. Rick Warren.
  • Musical selection of Aretha Franklin.
  • Biden will be sworn into office by Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.
  • Musical selection of John Williams, composer/arranger with Itzhak Perlman, (violin), Yo-Yo Ma (cello), Gabriela Montero (piano) and Anthony McGill (clarinet).
  • Obama will take the Oath of Office, using President Lincoln’s Inaugural Bible, administered by Chief Justice John Roberts. Scheduled around noon.
  • Obama gives the inaugural address.
  • Poem by Elizabeth Alexander.
  • Benediction by Rev. Joseph E. Lowery.
  • The National Anthem by The United States Navy Band “Sea Chanters.”

After Obama gives inaugural address, he will escort outgoing President George W. Bush to a departure ceremony before attending a luncheon in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall.

The 56th Inaugural Parade will then make its way down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House.

Later that day, the Presidential Inaugural Committee will host 10 official inaugural balls:

  • Neighborhood Inaugural Ball at the Washington Convention Center.
  • Obama Home States (Illinois and Hawaii) Inaugural Ball at the Washington Convention Center.
  • Biden Home States (Pennsylvania and Delaware) Inaugural Ball at the Washington Convention Center.
  • Midwest Inaugural Ball at the Washington Convention Center.
  • Mid-Atlantic Inaugural Ball at the Washington Convention Center.
  • Western Inaugural Ball at the Washington Convention Center.
  • Commander in Chief’s Ball at the National Building Museum.
  • Southern Inaugural Ball at the National Guard Armory.
  • Eastern Inaugural Ball at Union Station.
  • Youth Inaugural Ball at the Washington Hilton.

Unofficial balls include:

  • Congressional Black Caucus Inaugural Ball at the Capitol Hilton.
  • Creative Coalition Inaugural Ball at the Harman Center for the Arts.
  • Recording Industry Association of America’s ball for Feeding America.
  • BET’s Inaugural Ball at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
  • Africa on the Potomac inaugural celebration at Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Va.
  • American Music Inaugural Ball at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.
  • Inaugural Purple Ball at the Fairmont Hotel.
  • Human Rights Campaign’s Equality Ball at the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel.
  • Inaugural Peace Ball at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum.
  • Impact Film Fund ball.

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 21

  • The president, vice president and their families will participate in a prayer service at the Washington National Cathedral.

Newsday also has an in depth look at the festivities.

From the article:

With Barack Obama set to be inaugurated Tuesday as the nation’s 44th president, the day figures to be one of the most-covered live events ever — on television, radio or online.

Estimates put the potential worldwide audience for Obama’s swearing-in in the billions, a figure that could dwarf viewership numbers for the Super Bowl and Academy Awards and reach heights ordinarily seen only by the Olympics and the World Cup.

Following is an hour-by-hour account of what to look for as you keep up with the day’s proceedings:

5 a.m.

CNN kicks off the day’s live event coverage from Capitol Hill. C-Span and the other broadcast and cable networks begin their day at 6 a.m., so expect to see a lot of talking heads doing a lot of talking. There will also be copious live shots of empty stages and digital maps of the parade route as the anchors and correspondents fill hours talking about what their viewers are about to see.

8 a.m.
Security gates open for ticketholders for the swearing in and the National Mall. Expect to see shots of cold, but excited attendees slowly making their way through security gates at entrances to the swearing-in viewing areas and on the National Mall. Inauguration officials have advised anyone with tickets to arrive no later than 9 a.m. to get through security. Nonetheless, expect to see people in lines well before and after the official program starts.

10 a.m.
Now the show starts for real. The swearing-in ceremony begins with music from the Marine Band, the San Francisco Boys Chorus and the San Francisco Girls Chorus. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) will issue the call to order and make brief welcoming remarks before making way for probably the day’s most controversial figure, Rick Warren of the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif.

Obama infuriated gay and lesbian groups when he announced earlier this month that Warren, a conservative evangelical megachurch minister, would deliver the invocation. The Obama camp attempted to defuse the situation by naming Gene Robinson, an openly-gay Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire, to give the invocation at Sunday’s inauguration opening ceremonies at the Lincoln Memorial.

Warren, 54, has a long record of staunchly opposing same-sex marriage, though he most certainly will deliver a nondenominational prayer today.

10:30 a.m.
After a song by Aretha Franklin, who also sang at President Bill Clinton‘s first inauguration, Joe Biden will be sworn in as vice president by Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. Stevens, 88, is the court’s oldest and most liberal justice and, to put it gently, since the justices have lifetime appointments, the most likely to be replaced during Obama’s term.

This will be Biden’s second swearing-in ceremony in as many weeks. He took the oath for his seventh term in the Senate Jan. 6, then officially resigned the seat Jan. 15.

11 a.m. The third musical interlude features composer and Floral Park native John Williams (noted for his “Star Wars” scores, among other accomplishments), violinist Itzhak Perlman, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, pianist Gabriela Montero and clarinetist Anthony McGill.

Once Williams and the foursome are through playing, Obama and John Roberts, the Supreme Court’s chief justice, will take center stage.

The swearing-in duties will be Roberts’ first, making him the 14th chief justice to swear in a president.

Every elected president since John Adams has been sworn in by the chief justice. (In 1789, George Washington was sworn in by Robert Livingston, the New York state chancellor, and William Cushing, an associate justice, in 1793.)

When presidents have died in office, the oath has been administered by an available judge or, in Calvin Coolidge‘s case, by his father, a notary public.

Obama, placing his hand on Abraham Lincoln‘s inaugural Bible, will recite the same oath as his 43 predecessors, as prescribed by the Constitution: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Noon
Obama’s inaugural address is perhaps one of the most anticipated political speeches in modern American history. It will be televised on scores of television networks worldwide, giving Obama an unprecedented platform to deliver his message to the world. Expectations for the speech are understandably enormous, so look for Obama to give a speech heavy on soaring language, and light on specifics.

The address will be followed by a poem composed and read by New York-born poet Elizabeth Alexander. The Rev. Joseph E. Lowery will follow with a benediction and the program concludes with a playing of the national anthem by the U.S. Navy band Sea Chanters.

12:30 p.m. After Obama, now President Obama, finishes his inaugural address, he will accompany now-former President George W. Bush to a departure ceremony at the Capitol and then attend a luncheon at the Capitol’s Statuary Hall. The three-course meal featuring stewed and scalloped oysters and an apple desert, is inspired by Lincoln’s culinary favorites. Obama, Biden and their families, the Supreme Court justices, cabinet designees and the congressional leadership are expected to attend.

At 1:25 p.m., Bush will make “brief remarks” at a departure ceremony.

2:30 p.m.
The 56th Inaugural Parade will make its way down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House, with groups including the Mobile Azalea Trail Maids, from Alabama, and the University of Delaware Fightin Blue Hen Marching Band, having traveled from all over the country to participate.

Despite the predicted cold weather — forecasts are calling for highs near 30 and chance of snow — expect Obama to emerge from his limousine to walk a stretch of the route.

In doing so, he would follow a tradition established by Jimmy Carter that now seems ingrained in presidential inauguration. Carter’s 1.5-mile walk, which he made with his wife, Rosalynn, was designed to show that the country had emerged from the stain of the Watergate scandal. The symbolism struck home, and President Bill Clinton and both Presidents Bush also walked a stretch of the parade route.

6 p.m. The parade marks the end of the inauguration ceremonies, but Washington parties begin at 6 p.m., when the inaugural balls begin with the Commander-in-Chief’s Ball and the Eastern States Ball.

There’s also a ball that touts itself as “the largest gathering of peace activists without a protest” (Harry Belafonte and Joan Baez are attending), a Funk 4 Peace ball and a ball thrown by the D.C. municipal government to highlight the capital’s lack of representation in the federal government.

The Obamas are expected to attend 10 official inaugural balls: The Commander-in-Chief’s Ball, the Neighborhood Inaugural Ball, a Youth Ball, five official regional balls — including the Mid-Atlantic ball at the Washington Convention Center, for invitees from New York and four other states and the District of Columbia — and Home States Balls thrown by Hawaii and Illinois for Obama and Delaware and Pennsylvania for Biden.

Obama Selects Lobbyist as Deputy Defense Secretary

January 9, 2009

President-elect Barack Obama appointed a defense contractor’s lobbyist, William J. Lynn III, this morning to become the No. 2 official at the Defense Department.

Don’t get me wrong, I voted for Obama, but didn’t he pledge to stay away from lobbyists? Thoughts?

From CNN:

President-elect Barack Obama, who campaigned on lessening lobbyist influence in government, has chosen a defense expert who is currently a vice president and lobbyist for one of the country’s biggest defense contractors to be his deputy secretary of defense.

Obama’s transition office announced that William Lynn, an undersecretary of defense in President Bill Clinton’s second term, has been nominated as Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ deputy.

Lynn is currently a senior vice president at Raytheon, which has billions of dollars in Defense Department contracts and is the maker of the Army’s Patriot Missile system and the Tomahawk missile used by the Navy. The company is also developing a global positioning satellite communication system with the Air Force.

As deputy secretary, Lynn would be involved in the process of budgeting and acquisitions, in addition to running the day-to-day operations of the Defense Department.

Obama’s transition office acknowledged that appointing a lobbyist did not, on the face of it, seem in line with the president-elect’s ethics stance but that Lynn’s qualifications and the recommendations that came from both Republicans and Democrats made him the top candidate.

“Because Mr. Lynn came so highly recommended from experts across the political spectrum, the president-elect felt it was critical that he fill this position,” said Obama transition spokesman Tommy Vietor.

Vietor said Lynn and the transition team would create guidelines that would fit the ethics standards of the new administration.

From the Associated Press:

William J. Lynn III, Obama’s choice for deputy defense secretary, is a former Pentagon official who now is senior vice president for government operations at Raytheon Co. Lynn hasn’t been a registered lobbyist since July, meaning he can’t personally lobby Congress or the White House.

In the first three months of 2008, his lobbying team reported spending $1.15 million to influence issues including missiles, sensors and radar, advanced technology programs and intelligence funding.

Obama has vowed that no political appointees in his administration would be permitted to work on areas that “directly and substantially related to their prior employer for two years.” Although Lynn heads Raytheon’s division for government operations and strategy and was personally registered as a Raytheon lobbyist until July — both within that two-year period — Obama plans to give him the job.

“We are aware that Mr. Lynn lobbied for Raytheon, and are working with Mr. Lynn to craft a role for him that is consistent with the President-elect’s high standards while balancing the need to fill this critical national security position,” Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor said.

Vietor declined to comment further on whether Lynn would have to remove himself from involvement on any issues.

Some government watchdogs questioned the revolving-door aspect of Lynn’s appointment even while acknowledging his qualifications.

“He left public service and went into lobbying for one of the largest defense contractors in the nation. And that’s the part that’s troubling,” said Bill Buzenberg, executive director of the Center for Public Integrity. “Even if he’s completely above board and ethical, it raises questions about his loyalty.”

During his presidential campaign, Obama took pains to tell voters he wouldn’t tolerate influence-peddling.

“I am in this race to tell the corporate lobbyists that their days of setting the agenda in Washington are over,” Obama said in November 2007 in Des Moines, Iowa. “I have done more than any other candidate in this race to take on lobbyists and won. They have not funded my campaign, they will not run my White House, and they will not drown out the voices of the American people when I am president.”

Bill Richardson Will Not Be Commerce Secretary

January 4, 2009

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson is withdrawing his nomination to be commerce secretary, he and President-elect Barack Obama said in statements earlier today.

From Reuters:

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson on Sunday withdrew as U.S. President-elect Barack Obama‘s nominee for commerce secretary, becoming the first casualty among Obama’s picks for his Cabinet.

One of the country’s most prominent Hispanic politicians, Richardson said he was dropping out because of an investigation into a company that has done business with New Mexico’s state government.

Obama said in a statement that he had accepted Richardson’s withdrawal with “deep regret.” Richardson, 61, denied any wrongdoing but feared a lengthy investigation would delay his confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

Richardson becomes the first of Obama’s cabinet choices to withdraw. The Senate had been expected to easily confirm his appointment. Obama is scheduled to take office on January 20.

Richardson, 61, served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and energy secretary in the Clinton administration and is a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

He became an early Obama supporter after dropping his own presidential ambitions.

“Let me say unequivocally that I and my Administration have acted properly in all matters and that this investigation will bear out that fact. But I have concluded that the ongoing investigation also would have forced an untenable delay in the confirmation process,” Richardson said in a statement released by the Obama transition team.

“It is also because of that sense of urgency about the work of the Commerce Department that I have asked the President-elect not to move forward with my nomination at this time. I do so with great sorrow. But a pending investigation of a company that has done business with New Mexico state government promises to extend for several weeks or, perhaps, even months,” Richardson added in the statement.

Barack Obama is TIME Magazine’s “Person of the Year”

December 17, 2008

Although there were many qualified people this year, this doesn’t come a surprise to me.

The decision to name the United States’ first black president Person of the Year, announced this morning on The TODAY Show,  followed many weeks of deep discussion and debate among TIME editors and staff members.

From MSNBC:

Could TIME magazine’s 2008 Person of the Year have been anyone other than President-elect Barack Obama?

Maybe not. But what the much-anticipated announcement lacks in the surprise department is offset by Obama’s already undeniable place in history.

In a year when the economy imploded before our eyes, could U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson have made a provocative choice? How about Hillary Clinton or Sarah Palin, two women who captivated the nation over much of the past year and who both, in their own ways, came so close to the presidency themselves?

Those people were considered, too, as were comedian Tina Fey, Olympian Michael Phelps, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, oil executive and renewable energy proponent T. Boone Pickens, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and Zhang Yimou, director of the Beijing Olympics’ opening and closing ceremonies.

But in the end, the 44th president of the United States proved to be the irresistible choice.

“I don’t think that Americans want hubris from their next president,” Obama told TIME for the Person of the Year issue, which appears online today and on newsstands Friday. “[But] I do think that we received a strong mandate for change. And I know that people have said, ‘Well, what does this change mean?’ … It means a government that is not ideologically driven. It means a government that is competent. It means a government, most importantly, that is focused day in, day out on the needs and struggles, the hopes and dreams of ordinary people.”

Caroline Kennedy Interested in Filling Hillary Clinton’s Senate Seat

December 15, 2008

Caroline Kennedy, the 51-year-old daughter of former President John Kennedy, has indicated her interest in filling the Senate seat being vacated by Secretary of State-designee Hillary Clinton. It’ll be interesting to see how this story develops in the coming days and weeks.

From CNN:

Two other sources Monday confirmed her interest in filling the seat now held by Secretary of State-designee Hillary Clinton. One source is a senior Democratic operative.

Kennedy’s interest in the seat could mean the continuation of a family legacy in the Senate that began 56 years ago with the election of her father as the then-junior senator from Massachusetts.

Her uncle Ted Kennedy has represented Massachusetts in the Senate since 1963, and her uncle Robert Kennedy served as New York’s junior senator from 1965 until he was assassinated in 1968.

“Remember, [Clinton's] seat in the Senate was once held by Robert Kennedy,” said Bill Schneider, CNN’s senior political analyst. “[Caroline Kennedy's] other uncle, Ted Kennedy, is ill right now. If Paterson appoints Caroline Kennedy to the Senate, it means there could be a Kennedy staying in the Senate for quite a long time.”

CNN reported earlier this month that Caroline Kennedy had called New York Gov. David Paterson to discuss the possibility of taking the seat.

Five September 11 Suspects to Confess

December 9, 2008

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other men who have been charged with coordinating the September 11 attacks have stated that they want to enter guilty pleas, apparently challenging the U.S. government to sentence them to death before President-elect Barack Obama takes office.

From the Associated Press:

The Guantanamo detainees said they decided on Nov. 4 — the day Obama was elected — to abandon their defenses in their death-penalty trials. Obama opposes the military war-crimes trials and has pledged to close Guantanamo’s detention center, which holds some 250 men.

Mohammed said Monday he will confess to masterminding the attacks that killed 2,975 people. The four other defendants did the same, in effect daring the Pentagon to give them death sentences.

The judge ordered lawyers to advise him by Jan. 4 whether the Pentagon can apply the death penalty — which military prosecutors are seeking — without a jury trial.

Mohammed, who has already told a military panel he was the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, said he has no faith in the judge, his Pentagon-appointed lawyers or President George W. Bush.

Sporting a chest-length gray beard, Mohammed told the judge in English: “I don’t trust you.”

The defendants’ announcement shocked victims’ relatives who watched from behind a glass partition, the first time family members have been allowed to observe the war-crimes trials.

Alice Hoagland of Redwood Estates, Calif., told reporters that she hopes Obama, “an even-minded and just man,” would ensure the five men are punished, though she believes they should not be executed and become martyrs.

Hoagland’s son, Mark Bingham, died on United Flight 93, whose passengers fought hijackers before it crashed in rural Pennsylvania.

“They do not deserve the glory of executions,” Hoagland said. “I want these dreadful people to live out their lives in a U.S. prison … under the control of people they profess to hate.”

But Hamilton Peterson, of Bethesda, Md., and whose father and stepmother died on United 93, said the defendants showed a “complete lack of contrition” and deserved to be executed.

Maureen Santora, of Long Island City, N.Y., watched from the back of the courtroom, wearing black and clutching a photo of her son Christopher, a firefighter who died responding to the World Trade Center attacks.

“They were proud to be guilty and that says a lot about them,” she said.


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