Saturday, March 14, 2009

Saturday, March 14th

The New York Times' only story pertaining directly to President Obama today was a summary of his speech about the economy on Friday. These remarks were previously covered by both the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times, but this article goes into more depth about Obama's remarks and the reaction from the Republican National Committee and the White House press secretary. The R.N.C. sent out an email comparing Obama's optimistic speech to one given by presidential candidate John McCain in September. McCain was mocked by Democrats for appearing too positive about a failing economy, but on Friday Republican representative John A. Boehner of Ohio criticized the Obama administration for "changing their economic message." Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, said Obama was not overly chipper about the state of the economy, but was still confident and hopeful that it would improve sooner rather than later.

A tour bus in Havana. The U.S. will now allow Cuban Americans to visit relatives in Cuba once a year. (Javier Galeano, Associated Press)

The Los Angeles Times also published a review of the president's remarks on the economy. In addition, they had two opinion columns regarding the mounting political tension between Cuba and the United States. Several Latin American leaders have spoken out against the embargo the U.S. has in place against Cuba. Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is expected to denounce the embargo as "anachronistic, vindictive and counterproductive" and push for a change in the Obama administration's foreign policy with Cuba on his visit to the White House on Saturday. Obama has already taken steps to liberalize relations with Cuba. He supports annual visits for Cuban-Americans to family in Cuba, instead visits once every three years as is allowed now. He also ended a requirement that made Cubans have to pay cash in advance for food imported from the U.S. Lula and many other Latin American leaders hope that eventually all the restrictive laws of the embargo will be changed or repealed.

The top Obama story in the Wall Street Journal was Saturday's presidential address in which Obama announced top Food and Drug Administration appointments. Margaret Hamburg, an internationally recognized leader in public health and medicine, will become the Commissioner of the F.D.A., and Joshua Sharfstein, current Commissioner of Health for the city of Baltimore, will join her as Principal Deputy Commissioner. Obama also announced the creation of a new Food Safety Working Group, where cabinet secretaries and senior officials will advise him on how to update and enforce food safety laws to ensure that America's food supply is safe.

- Nia

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