Chicago Sun-Times
Staff reports on all things politics - from City Hall to Springfield to Washington, D.C.

Recently in obama Category

Photo by Miguel Villagran/Getty Images

I have an old friend who refused to switch over to Gmail, Google's email service, several years ago when the company began rolling out beta accounts. The service's tagline about never having to delete an email thanks to its message threading and large amount of space available for each account, he said, made our messages prone to the government's Project Echelon. For years, I've dismissed his assumption as another conspiracy theory, a tinfoil hat approach to a new email service.

Thing is, after the last week the Obama Administration has had, his idea hardly seems silly anymore; in fact, it seems downright relevant.

Today, you've heard the national media play up a trio of controversies that are besieging the president and his administration: the Benghazi controversy, the IRS targeting of right-wing groups, and the Department of Justice's shady-as-hell collection of Associated Press phone records. Attorney General Eric Holder spoke today on the IRS investigation while White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was bombarded with questions over the AP story.

To limit the look at the fire the administration has come under to just these three stories, however, would be to ignore the greater context of the Obama presidency's now looming legacy of the dissolution of civil liberties which can include the administration's backing of the FBI's plan on Internet surveillance and the administration's reliance on drones. All told, it's been a bad week, yes, but when you add these last two topics to the pile, this administration's track record looks downright miserable.

This seems to be the only handshake Time Tebow and President Obama will share anytime soon - when Tebow's National Championship Florida Gators visited the White House in 2009. | Getty Images

Fans of Tim Tebow reached out for help from a higher power to keep their favorite quarterback/punching bag in the NFL.

No, not that higher power. They took to the new favorite repository of lost causes and political screeds - the White House's We The People petition site in an effort to get First Fan President Obama to intercede on their behalf. Sadly for Tebow and the fans of the Jacksonville Jaguars who wanted to see him back in Florida, though, this drive ends in characteristic disappointment.

On Monday, the White House removed the petition, which sought to usurp the common sense of the Jaguars rookie general manager:

Jacksonville Jaguars fans want the team to sign recently released QB Tim Tebow. However, rookie general manager for the Jacksonville Jaguars David Caldwell is blocking this from happening. If the Jaguars sign & START Tebow, home games will be sold out, sales will spike, the team will win and the fans will be happy.Mr. Caldwell is ignoring lots of facts about the misunderstood Tim Tebow while in Denver: Passer rating of 125.6 is highest ever in Broncos postseason history. Most yards per completion (31.6) in NFL playoff history.100.5 QB rating is best ever for a Broncos QB in his first start.Third most passing yards in a game by a Bronco rookie QB. (308, in his 2nd start), First 15+ point comeback in the final 3 minutes of an NFL game since the merger, 7 game winning drives in just 16 games!

The petition only managed a few hundred signatures before being yanked - just shy of the 100,000 needed.

President Obama applauds as former president George W. Bush arrives for the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Center Thursday, April 25, 2013, in Dallas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you so much. (Applause.) Thank you. Please be seated. To President Bush and Mrs. Bush; to President Clinton and now-former Secretary Clinton; to President George H.W. Bush and Mrs. Bush; to President and Mrs. Carter; to current and former world leaders and all the distinguished guests here today -- Michelle and I are honored to be with you to mark this historic occasion.

This is a Texas-sized party. And that's worthy of what we're here to do today: honor the life and legacy of the 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush.

When all the living former Presidents are together, it's also a special day for our democracy. We've been called "the world's most exclusive club" -- and we do have a pretty nice clubhouse. But the truth is, our club is more like a support group. The last time we all got together was just before I took office. And I needed that. Because as each of these leaders will tell you, no matter how much you may think you're ready to assume the office of the presidency, it's impossible to truly understand the nature of the job until it's yours, until you're sitting at that desk.

And that's why every President gains a greater appreciation for all those who served before him; for the leaders from both parties who have taken on the momentous challenges and felt the enormous weight of a nation on their shoulders. And for me, that appreciation very much extends to President Bush.

The first thing I found in that desk the day I took office was a letter from George, and one that demonstrated his compassion and generosity. For he knew that I would come to learn what he had learned -- that being President, above all, is a humbling job. There are moments where you make mistakes. There are times where you wish you could turn back the clock. And what I know is true about President Bush, and I hope my successor will say about me, is that we love this country and we do our best.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Hello, everybody! (Cheers, applause.) Hello, Illinois! (Cheers, applause.) Hello. It is good to be home! (Cheers, applause.)

Well, let -- let me begin by -- by thanking Ann (sp) for the great introduction, the great work she's doing, the leadership she's showing with her team on so many different amazing technological breakthroughs.

I want to thank Dr. Isaacs and Dr. Crabtree for giving me a great tour of your facilities. You know, it's not every day that I get to walk into a thermal test chamber. (Laughter.) I told my girls that I was going to go into a thermal test chamber, and they were pretty excited. I told them I'd come out looking like the Hulk. (Laughter, applause.) They didn't believe that. (Laughter.)

I want to thank my friend and your friend, the -- a truly great U.S. senator, Senator Dick Durbin, huge supporter of Argonne. (Cheers, applause.) An outstanding member of Congress who actually could explain some of the stuff that's going on here, Bill Foster is here. (Cheers, applause.) Congressman Bobby Rush, a big supporter of Argonne and -- (applause) -- glad he's here. We've got a number of state and local officials with us, including your mayor, Brian Reaves. (Applause.)

And I could not come to Argonne without bringing my own Nobel Prize-winning scientist -- (laughter) -- someone who has served our country so well over the past four years, our energy secretary, Dr. Steven Chu.

Today, President Obama is in Las Vegas, Nevada where he will deliver remarks regarding his new pitch for new immigration reform. Just yesterday a bipartisan group of senators announced they had reached an agreement on a new proposal for immigration reform. Follow along above with Obama's speech and below with updates from Sun-Times D.C. correspondent Lynn Sweet.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

President Obama took a moment to soak the scene in yesterday as he left the Capitol steps following his address to hundreds of thousands on the National Mall. Obama is only one of a few dozen men who have held that commanding view during an Inauguration Day and it's surely a site and feeling to store away in the memory as one of the warmest moments in a presidency.

Just how many people witnessed this very human moment? According to an AP report, somewhere north of 800,000:

Chris Geldart, who directs the District of Columbia's homeland security and emergency management agency, says early and unofficial estimates of the number of people on the National Mall indicate a turnout higher than 800,000. That's based on aerial views of how the crowd filled sections of the mall.

Road Trip to History: Inauguration Aftermath

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

APTOPIX Inaugural Swe_Newm.jpg
Somewhere out there, the Frazier family strains to see there president take the oath of office on the Capitol steps. Again. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, Pool)

The Chicago Sun-Times is chronicling the journey to Monday's inauguration with the Frazier Family of Marquette Park, and blogging about it. Catch our first story in the series here.

Mckinley Wright, 14, for whom this is the first time seeing the nation's 44th president inaugurated, is mesmerized, glued to the ceremony, straining intermittently to see the dots in the distance of the Capitol steps where this is all happening, then the jumbotron, where it's all very near.

Creative, he finds that if he watches through the zoom of Pamela's camera, he can bring this historic event closer.

Asia Wright, 16, in her own world, has processing of this second inauguration she has attended for this president, apparent in her distant gaze. She walks away from her family to find a clear opening in the crowd. There, she watches, but even more importantly, tilts her head down and listens, to President Obama's "We are made for this moment" speech.

Inaugural Obama.jpg
President Obama gives his inauguration address at his ceremonial swearing-in ceremony during the 57th Presidential Inauguration, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, on the West Front of the Capitol in Washington. Click to enlarge. (AP Photo/Rob Carr, Pool)

A sea of people flooded the National Mall - from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington Monument, visible in the distance - to watch President Obama inauguration for his second term.

More photos from the day here. And even from space, here.

Thank you. Thank you so much.

Vice President Biden, Mr. Chief Justice, members of the United States Congress, distinguished guests and fellow citizens, each time we gather to inaugurate a president, we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution. We affirm the promise of our democracy. We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names.

What makes us exceptional -- what makes us American -- is our allegiance to an idea articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal" -- (cheers, applause) -- "that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."

The view of the National Mall from orbit. | NASA Image

From images from orbit to the Curiosity rover in a parade, NASA has a busy day today during the second Obama inauguration.

The space administration has been taking part in activities all weekend. According to a NASA page set up for the inauguration - - they have a few more things to offer:

NASA will participate in Monday's Inaugural Parade with full-size models of two spacecraft that are boosting America to new heights -- the Curiosity Mars rover and Orion, the multi-purpose capsule that will take our astronauts farther into space than ever.

Walking beside the two spacecraft and greeting spectators along the parade route will be members of the Curiosity team from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and several current and former astronauts. The participating astronauts are Alvin Drew, Serena Aunon, Kate Rubins, Mike Massimino, Lee Morin and Kjell Lindgren, as well as Leland Melvin, NASA's associate administrator for Education, and John Grunsfeld, NASA's associate administrator for Science.

The West Lobby of NASA Headquarters also will be available as a warming center during daylight hours Monday.

NASA got in on the act in 2009 as well. Below is a satellite photo of the Mall when more than 1 million people jammed the Mall. Click to enlarge - all the dark clumps extending from the U.S. Capitol step back through the mall are actually people.