The White House Flickr feed released this image of President Obama and his national security team monitoring the Navy SEAL raid on Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The facial expressions of the President, Vice President and Secretary of State say everything.
ABC News' Nightline produced a dramatized timeline of the covert mission, watch it AFTER THE JUMP ...
This morning's print edition of the New York Times includes a special ten-page supplement behind the raid with analysis. One of the more detailed reports goes behind the scenes in the Situation Room:
On Sunday afternoon, as the helicopters raced over Pakistani territory, the president and his advisers gathered in the Situation Room of the White House to monitor the operation as it unfolded. Much of the time was spent in silence. Mr. Obama looked "stone faced," one aide said. Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. fingered his rosary beads. "The minutes passed like days," recalled John O. Brennan, the White House counterterrorism chief.
Remarks made by President Obama at this morning's signing ceremony of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Repeal Act of 2010, emailed by the White House Press Office to R20:
AUDIENCE MEMBER: You rock, President Obama!
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, thank you, thank you. (Laughter.)
You know, I am just overwhelmed. This is a very good day. (Applause.) And I want to thank all of you, especially the people on this stage, but each and every one of you who have been working so hard on this, members of my staff who worked so hard on this. I couldn’t be prouder.
Sixty-six years ago, in the dense, snow-covered forests of Western Europe, Allied Forces were beating back a massive assault in what would become known as the Battle of the Bulge. And in the final days of fighting, a regiment in the 80th Division of Patton’s Third Army came under fire. The men were traveling along a narrow trail. They were exposed and they were vulnerable. Hundreds of soldiers were cut down by the enemy.
And during the firefight, a private named Lloyd Corwin tumbled 40 feet down the deep side of a ravine. And dazed and trapped, he was as good as dead. But one soldier, a friend, turned back. And with shells landing around him, amid smoke and chaos and the screams of wounded men, this soldier, this friend, scaled down the icy slope, risking his own life to bring Private Corwin to safer ground.
For the rest of his years, Lloyd credited this soldier, this friend, named Andy Lee, with saving his life, knowing he would never have made it out alone. It was a full four decades after the war, when the two friends reunited in their golden years, that Lloyd learned that the man who saved his life, his friend Andy, was gay. He had no idea. And he didn’t much care. Lloyd knew what mattered. He knew what had kept him alive; what made it possible for him to come home and start a family and live the rest of his life. It was his friend.
And Lloyd’s son is with us today. And he knew that valor and sacrifice are no more limited by sexual orientation than they are by race or by gender or by religion or by creed; that what made it possible for him to survive the battlefields of Europe is the reason that we are here today. (Applause.) That's the reason we are here today. (Applause.)
So this morning, I am proud to sign a law that will bring an end to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” (Applause.) It is a law -- this law I’m about to sign will strengthen our national security and uphold the ideals that our fighting men and women risk their lives to defend.
No longer will our country be denied the service of thousands of patriotic Americans who were forced to leave the military -– regardless of their skills, no matter their bravery or their zeal, no matter their years of exemplary performance -– because they happen to be gay. No longer will tens of thousands of Americans in uniform be asked to live a lie, or look over their shoulder, in order to serve the country that they love. (Applause.)
As Admiral Mike Mullen has said, “Our people sacrifice a lot for their country, including their lives. None of them should have to sacrifice their integrity as well.” (Applause.)
That’s why I believe this is the right thing to do for our military. That’s why I believe it is the right thing to do, period.
"No longer will tens of thousands of Americans in uniform be asked to live a lie or look over their shoulder," Mr. Obama said during a signing ceremony in a packed auditorium at the Interior Department here. Quoting the chairman of his joint chiefs of staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, Mr. Obama went on, "Our people sacrifice a lot for their country, including their lives. None of them should have to sacrifice their integrity as well."
For Mr. Obama, the ceremony — held at the Interior Department because the White House is tied up with holiday tours — marked yet another in a string of last-minute, bipartisan legislative triumphs, a surprising turnaround in the wake of the self-described “shellacking” his party took at the polls last month. ... For the gay rights movement, which has been frustrated with the pace of progress under Mr. Obama, Wednesday marked a celebratory turning point. “Thank you, Mr. President,” someone shouted, as Mr. Obama took the stage, prompting a round of other shouts: “Chicago’s in the house, Mr. President! You rock, Mr. President!” Mr. Obama pronounced himself overwhelmed.
The President is seen speaking to former Staff Sgt. Eric Alva, the first Marine injured in Iraq.
The White House invited Rod 2.0 and a number of bloggers and activists to the historic event. Given plans and the timing, we weren't able to fly to D.C. last night, but are proud and honored the White House reached out to so many people. The complete video, WHEN YOU JUMP ...
The past week has not been very good for Justice Clarence Thomas, the lone Black on the Supreme Court and the far right-wing justice whose bitter confirmation hearings 20 years ago focused on allegations of sexual harassment. Earlier last week, news broke that Virginia Thomas, the Tea Party-affiliated wife of the justice, recently left a voice mail message for Anita Hill demanding that she apologize for "what you did with [sic] my husband." The phone call to the woman who accused Thomas of harassment prompted one of Thomas longtime former girlfriends, Lillian McEwen, to speak out.
The retired prosecutor, law professor and administrative law judge dated Thomas for "five or six years" in the 1980s and told the Washington Post that he is "obsessed" with pornography.
"He was obsessed with porn," she said of Thomas, who is now 63. "He would talk about what he had seen in magazines and films, if there was something worth noting." McEwen added that she had no problem with Thomas's interests, although she found pornography to be "boring."
According to McEwen, Thomas would also tell her about women he encountered at work. He was partial to women with large breasts, she said. In an instance at work, Thomas was so impressed that he asked one woman her bra size, McEwen recalled him telling her. ... However bizarre they may seem, McEwen's recollections resemble accounts shared by other women that swirled around the Thomas confirmation.
During their roughly five years together, according to McEwen, the couple occasionally went to a porn shop called Graffiti, where the owner stocked Thomas' preferred products behind the counter. McEwen said that on several occasions Thomas looked at pornographic materials during intercourse. "His interest in women's breasts was a fantasy. And when I say women's breasts I mean huge breasts," said McEwen. "He would get porn that emphasized that, that had the photographs of women with huge breasts."
McEwen told Cooper that she was not inclined to come forward sooner because of a fondness for Thomas and out of recognition that testimony about personal relationships is not customarily allowed at Senate Confirmation Hearings.
McEwen says that she was surprised that she was not called to the hearings. At the time, McEwen's worked for then-Sen. Joe Biden, who was aware that she and Thomas had dated.
President Barack Obama has relieved Lt. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal of his duties as commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. McChrystal has been replaced with CENTCOMM Commander Gen. David Petraeus, White House officials said.
The President reportedly had a half hour private session with McChrystal, whom he summoned from Kabul. The general had to personally address comments that he and aides made to Rolling Stone, slamming the president, vice president and his national security team. The article is entitled "The Runaway General" and is scheduled to publish in later this week. According to excerpts, when the writer asked an aide about a dinner that the genera;l clearly did not want to attend, the aide replied, "Some French
minister. It's so f_cking gay."
Speaking in the Rose Garden, the President said McChrystal's comments did "not meet the standards that should be set by a commanding general. It undermines the civilian control of the military... and erodes the trust that is necessary for our team to work together to achieve our objectives in Afghanistan."
Watch the President speak, as well as ABC NEWS and FOX's reports AFTER THE JUMP ...
President Barack Obama spoke for about 15 minutes at the White
House LGBT Pride Reception earlier this evening. The President spoke to a group of about 300 attendees, smaller than last year's event, and mostly state/regional and youth leaders, as opposed to national activists and policy makers.
The President also briefly mentioned larger ticket items such as repealing the Defense of Marriage Act, passing the Employment Nondiscrimination Act and the recent action taken on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Obama told the crowd: "Here’s the bottom line: We have never been closer to ending that discriminatory policy.”
"The fact that we have activists here is a reminder that change
never comes—or at least never begins—in Washington," President Obama said. "It
is when ordinary people out of love for a mother or a father, a son or a
daughter, or a husband or a wife, speak out against injustices that
have been accepted for too long."
Video, more photos, the read the transcript and a partial list of invitees AFTER THE JUMP ...
A final good-bye to Dr. Dorothy Height and a eulogy delivered by President Obama at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. The civil rights icon and gay rights ally died last week at 98.
The President remembered Height as the
"godmother of civil rights. President Obama said that Dr. Height was a constant presence at the White House. "She came by not once, not twice. Twenty-one times she stopped by the White House."
In the last months of her life, Height even took part in health care discussions at the White House and was scheduled to attend a February meeting with the President and civil rights leaders, he recalled. The New York Times adds: "Even though Washington was buried by a blizzard, [Obama] said, Ms. Height wanted to come anyway. 'She was not about to let just a bunch of men in this meeting. It was only when the car literally could not get to the driveway that she decided not to come."
In a ceremony in the East Room of the White, President Barack Obama signs the Affordable Health Care for America Act, "enacting a sweeping overhaul of the nation's $2.5 trillion health system" and "the most sweeping social legislation enacted in decade."
Says the President: "The bill I am signing will set in motion reforms that generations of Americans have fought for and marched for and hungered to see."
The Washington Post adds: "No Republicans voted for the bill in the House or Senate, and Democrats who opposed it were not invited, White House officials said. They said those Democrats would not have wanted to attend anyway."
Said the President: "We may disagree about gay marriage, but surely we can
agree that it is unconscionable to target gays and lesbians for who
they are whether it's here in the United States or as Hillary
mentioned, more extremely in odious laws that are being proposed, most
recently in Uganda."
The New York Times posted the complete advance text of the president's planned speech. There was no mention of Uganda, gay rights or marriage equality, so it appears the President went off-script. Also: In addition to the Uganda mention, the Victory Fund reports Secretary Clinton said the Obama administration is
“standing up for gays and lesbians who deserve to be treated as full
human beings and "these are priorities of the Unitied States."
And Politico reports the guests at the head table with Obama and the First Lady are Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Clinton, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-OH), Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) and ... Tim Tebow.