I’m Dreaming of a White House Christmas

I’m Dreaming of a White House Christmas

Slide Show: I’m Dreaming of a White House Christmas

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Christmas at the White House 2009

Bing Crosby: I’m Dreaming of a White  Christmas

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President and First Lady Obama Meet with Queen Elizabeth II

President Obama Looks Forward to Meeting Queen Elizabeth II

As he was getting ready for his meeting with Queen Elizabeth II on Wednesday, President Barack Obama hailed what he calls an “extraordinary affinity and kinship” between the people of the United States and Britain. When he was asked at a news conference in London about what it is that he loves about Great Britain, Obama singled out the British people. He added that an American visiting England feels a “sense of familiarity as well as difference” that makes it a “special place.”

But he also mentioned the queen, and said he’s “very much looking forward to meeting her.” He said that his wife, Michelle, had been giving that meeting a lot of thought. Obama said he values “what the queen stands for, including decency and civility.

President Obama Looks Forward to Meeting Queen Elizabeth II

President and First Lady Obama Meet with Queen Elizabeth II

President and First Lady Obama arrived at Buckingham Palace Wednesday evening for a private meeting with Queen Elizabeth II. Thousands of well-wishers crowded the traffic circle in front of the Buckingham Palace gates on Wednesday, cheering and waving as the limousine carrying Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama drove past. The Obamas arrived at Buckingham Palace at around 5:30 p.m. (London time). President Obama gave Queen Elizabeth an iPod during their private meeting, which contained video footage of her state visit to the United States in May 2007. The Queen gave the president a silver framed photograph of herself and her husband. President Obama is scheduled to attend a dinner with G-20 leaders later tonight.

President and First Lady Obama Meet with Queen Elizabeth II

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Thanksgiving and Our Future: Giving Thanks with the Obamas

Thanksgiving and Our Future: Giving Thanks with the Obamas

President-elect Barack Obama and his wife Michelle took their daughters to work at a food bank on the day before Thanksgiving, saying they wanted to show the girls the meaning of the holiday, especially at a time when so many people are struggling in America. Ten-year-old Malia and 7-year-old Sasha joined their parents to shake hands and give holiday wishes to hundreds of people who had been lined up for hours at the food bank on Chicago’s south side. Sasha and Malia helped as the family handed out wrapped chickens to the needy in a chilly outdoor church courtyard.

The president-elect was in a jovial mood, calling out “happy thanksgiving” and telling everyone “you can call me Barack.” He told reporters that he wants the girls “to learn the importance of how fortunate they are, and to make sure they’re giving back.” Michelle Obama said that they wanted to give their children “an understanding of what giving and Thanksgiving is all about.”

The Obama family’s activities in the courtyard quickly drew the attention of schoolchildren whose windows overlooked the courtyard. They put up a sign against the glass that read: “We love our prez” and screamed when the president-elect waved to them. Obama then turned to his wife and suggested they go visit the children.

Secret Service agents, looking surprised, disappeared inside the building to accommodate his request. Minutes later, hundreds of children were brought down to the school auditorium, and Obama loped onstage as they screamed and cheered. “I just wanted to come by and wish everybody a happy Thanksgiving,” he said. He then asked the children what they would be eating for Thanksgiving dinner.

The president-elect then took questions from the children, one of whom wanted to know what it was like to be followed around all the time. It is a topic that seems to touch a nerve in Obama, who has lamented the lack of privacy that comes with his new job. “I gotta admit, sometimes it’s kinda strange. You just want to go take a walk or go out and ride your bike or something, and you always have someone with you,” Obama said. “So you don’t have a lot of privacy and that’s one of the things you have to sacrifice in order to run for president.”

Giving Thanks with the Obamas


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President-elect Obama Arrives at the White House

President-elect Obama and Michelle Obama arrived at the White House for their first visit since Obama’s landslide election victory.  President Bush and first lady Laura Bush were at the South Portico of the White House to greet the Obamas on a sunny fall day with moderate temperatures and colorful autumn leaves.

The Obamas’ arrival had the look of a foreign head-of-state state visit.  The Obamas were driven up to the South Portico, where they were welcomed by the Bushes and escorted into the Executive Mansion that they’ll call home in a little more than two months.  Just a couple moments later, Bush and Obama were seen walking along the White House Collonade to the Oval Office.

President-elect Obama Arrives at the White House

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In Honor of Jennifer Hudson

Jennifer Hudson and Her Mother (The Late Darnell Hudson Donerson)

The Mother and Brother of Jennifer Hudson Are Slain

The mother and brother of the Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Hudson were found shot to death inside her mother’s house on the South Side of Chicago on Friday afternoon, and the police were said to be looking for her 7-year-old nephew. Police confirmed that Ms. Hudson’s mother, Darnell Hudson Donerson, 57, was one of the victims, the ABC affiliate WLS reported on its Web site. A neighbor reported that the other victim had been identified as Ms. Hudson’s brother, Jason S. Hudson, 29.

Sen. Barack Obama, a fan and friend of fellow Chicagoan Jennifer Hudson, took time out from his Presidential campaign Saturday to send his condolences to his fellow Chicagoan. “Michelle and I were absolutely heartbroken to learn about this unimaginable tragedy, and we want Jennifer to know that she is in our thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time. We also pray for the swift and safe return of her young nephew.

Hudson, at the behest of Senator Obama, performed the national anthem at the Democratic National Convention in August.

Jennifer Hudson’s Mother, Brother Murdered

News Update: Murder Suspect in Custody

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Jennifer Hudson: The Star Spangled Banner (DNC, Denver)

Jennifer Hudson: And I Am Telling You

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Barack Obama: Up Close and Very Personal

Barack Obama: Up Close and Very Personal

Photography by: Callie Shell

Callie Shell has snapped an entire collection of wistful photographs of Presidential candidate Barack Obama. A few of them are grand and sweeping, but most of the photographs are heartwarming and touching, showing a quietly personal side of Obama that has been revealed during the course of the presidential campaign.

Music: Robert Downey Jr./Smile

Barack Obama: Up Close and Very Personal

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Live-Blogging Day-Two of the 2008 DNC: The Hillary Kerfuffle

Live-Blogging Day-Two of the 2008 DNC: The Hillary Kerfuffle

Comments On Michelle Obama’s Speech Last Night: So That’s What Brave Looks Like….

A reader wrote to Andrew Sullivan at The Atlantic Magazine:

“I am a 36 year old African American woman. I have two girls ages 10 and 8. The country does not get the full import of this moment. My daughters and I sat together along with my husband to watch Michelle Obama tonight. Mr. Sullivan, we were all in tears. This is a day that cannot be fully described. This country has systematically oppressed Black women for centuries. My ancestors were slaves and my great, great, great, grandmothers raped and treated as property. My daughters have very few Black women to look up to in popular culture as role models. They do not feel seen, they are not held up as the standards of American beauty. We shed tears tonight as a family because Michelle (with her elegance and grace) is holding all of us up with her. You don’t understand the burden that she bears.”

And Dahlia Lithwick wrote in Salon:

“I loved best about Michelle Obama’s speech tonight was that it was fearless, but in a very different way from the fearlessness modeled by Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi. Here is a woman with a degree from Harvard Law School, who could have talked about law and policy and poverty, and yet she talked about her kids, her husband, and her family. And she didn’t do that merely to show us that smart women are soft and cuddly on the inside. She did what everyone else in this campaign is terrified to do: She risked looking sappy and credulous and optimistic when almost everyone has abandoned “hope” and “change” for coughing up hairballs of outrage. Every Democrat in America seems to be of the view that optimism is so totally last February; that now’s the time to hunker down and panic real hard. Good for Michelle for reminding us that to “strive for the world as it should be” is still cool, and for being so passionate about that fact that she looked to be near tears. Good for her for speaking from the heart when everyone else seems to be speaking from the root cellar. And if that doesn’t persuade you the woman is a warrior, let me just add that true bravery is letting your 7-year-old turn the first night of the Democratic Convention into open-mic night with the big screen and the party frock. Think any man alive would have done that? Me neither.”

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Celebrity Music Video: Yes We Can

Live-Blogging Day-Two of the 2008 DNC: The Hillary Kerfuffle

Hillary Clinton: To Damn Obama with Faint Praise

The Clintons are masters in the dramatic art of pointing at themselves and saying “attention must be paid to us!” Tuesday night, Hillary Clinton put on a good show of supporting Obama, but it was expressed as having been left with little recourse but to convey support for him, or else having to deal with something even worse, McCain and the Republicans. Watching her gave me the freaky chills, made feel glad that I’m still free enough from any obsession with the Clintons to still be able to peek under their rocks and see what kind of bugs are creeping around underneath.

In Hillary’s speech at the Democratic Convention on Tuesday night, she gave the appearance of momentarily overcoming the narcissistic conviction of personal and political entitlement that has been a long-time congenital characteristic of both Clintons. Feigning to say the right things, Clinton made an “intellectual” case for supporting Obama. Strategically aware that her own short-term political future is inextricably bound to his, she explained in somewhat clinical terms why she supports him, and indicated to her diehard supporters that they should also do so (for the time being).

But Clinton obviously still wants to be president. Hillary’s speech hardly concealed the clear subtext that it is really she who should be giving the major convention speech on Thursday night. Clinton’s performance on the podium Tuesday evening was a calculated theatrical work that directed America to look at what has been lost by her not being the Democratic nominee.

Further, it continues to be clear that Hillary obviously doesn’t like Barack Obama, and that she’s plainly not eager about the prospect of him being elected president. After all the time that she spent during her speech tracing the course of women’s suffrage and talking about what a world-historical figure she was, she failed to make any mention about Obama being a similarly important figure of history.

As a plausible, but much less noteworthy approach, she might have attempted to say something, just anything, about a specifically admirable individual characteristic that Obama might display. Even here, Clinton’s reservations were obvious. While she had open personal praise for Joe Biden and John McCain, she could not bring herself to say anything positive about Obama as a person.

The reasons that Hillary gave for supporting Obama were all ways of saying that Obama is a Democrat. She managed to say some nice “words” about Obama in her speech (she was proud to support him), but subsequently she immediately launched into a litany of the many important issues for which she’d fought and sang out with a paean to all the people who had placed their faith in her.

In the end, it came down to being all about her.

Hillary Clinton: Well, It’s Mostly About Me

Music Audio: Josh Groban/You Lift Me Up


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