Washington bigwigs took a break from partisan bickering Saturday night to enjoy some laughs and mingle with celebrities. President Barack Obama delivered some of the best jokes of the night in his speech at the annual White House Correspondents Dinner in Washington, D.C. Here are 10 of his funniest lines:
1. "These days I look in the mirror and I have to admit, I'm not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be."
2. "I go out on the basketball court, took 22 shots, made two of them. That's right. Two hits, 20 misses. The executives at NBC asked, 'what's your secret?'" more >>
The country is reeling from the latest terrorist attack, which killed three Americans and injured hundreds more at the Boston Marathon on April 15th. Two brothers who became radical Islamists have been implicated; Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, who was killed after an overnight shoot-out with police, and his 19-year old brother Dzhokhar, who was caught shortly after the bombing.
The Obama administration knew ahead of time about the brothers' ties to radical Islam. Russia warned the U.S. in 2011. The Russian government intercepted a communication between the bombers' mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaev, and someone who was probably her son Tamerlan discussing "jihad." The U.S. government added both names to its Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, or TIDE, database. Later, Tamerlan's phone number was traced to numbers that came up in two other investigations into terror suspects, according to a Senator who attended classified briefings about the Boston bombings. The FBI interviewed Tamerlan, but cleared him, finding nothing conclusive. Russian officials next tried to get the CIA to look into Tamerlan, sending the CIA a warning letter about him. Apparently their concerns were ignored by Leon Panetta, then head of the CIA and now known for gutting the defense department as Secretary of Defense.
Tamerlan frequented radical Islamist websites that promoted 9/11 conspiracy theories and advocated violence against the West. The brothers' uncle, Ruslan Tsarnaev, who has not spoken with the brothers since 2010, called the men "losers." Their parents came from an area in the Caucasus region of Eastern Europe that has become home to radicalized Islam. Their father Anzor Tsarnaev is Chechen, and their mother Zubeidat is Avar, both minorities in the conflict-torn Caucasus region. The brothers grew up on welfare as children, and Tamerlan received welfare for his family through last year. Their mother says she believes the bombings were staged and fake. She is wanted on charges from 2012 for shoplifting and property damage in Massachusetts. more >>
Homosexual activists are labeling evangelist Greg Laurie as the "anti-gay California pastor" and are asking government officials to rescind Laurie's invitation to lead National Day of Prayer-related events in Washington, D.C. as the event's honorary chairman.
The Human Rights Campaign, the largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) advocacy group in America, contends that Laurie has a history of speaking out against LGBT Americans. And OutServe-SLDN, an association of actively serving LGBT military personnel, is calling on the Pentagon to remove the pastor from the agenda, citing "his blatantly anti-LGBT message."
"Pastor Laurie's message is out of step with what the majority of people of faith across this country believe," said Dr. Sharon Groves, director of HRC's Religion & Faith Program. "In greater numbers than ever before, people of faith are feeling compelled to speak up and organize for equality – because of their faith." more >>
President Barack Obama spoke Friday morning at the Planned Parenthood conference in Washington, D.C., and apologized to the audience for missing their wild party at Thursday night's gala and fundraiser. Obama is the first sitting president to speak to the organization that, as of Jan. 1, requires all of its affiliate clinics to provide abortion services.
In his speech, the president chastised members of Congress who want to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood and expressed his disapproval of state legislatures that have voted to place restrictions on abortion. Obama vowed to Planned Parenthood supporters that as long as he's in the White House, "you've got a president who's going to be right here with you, fighting every step of the way."
"After decades of progress, there's still politicians who want to roll back the clock," said Obama, who later joked that states' actions that place restrictions on abortion makes "you want to check your calendar to make sure you're living in 2013." more >>
Former first lady Laura Bush, President Barack Obama and former Presidents Clinton and Carter, spoke fondly of the legacy of the 43rd president of the United States today at the dedication ceremony for the George W. Bush Presidential Center at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.
Laura Bush noted that her husband's library is the first presidential library of the 21st century and said the new library and museum are a reflection of "our nation and our world," during his eight years in office. "The presidency is not just about one person," she said, "it's about all of the staff, and the men and women of the military who serve every president and make the ultimate sacrifice."
The former first lady also spoke of the heartbreak and heroism of 9/11 and said she will always remember the images of President Bush standing next to the retired firefighter at Ground Zero, and their visits with the families of the fallen soldiers who died in Iraq and Afghanistan. She also shared stories about the former president's annual 100K mountain bike ride with wounded warriors, and his service projects in Africa. more >>
Warning: graphic material in following article.
Pro-life groups won a minor victory following White House Press Secretary Jay Carney's announcement that the president will not be the keynote speaker at Planned Parenthood's annual gala Thursday at the Marriott Wardman Park hotel in Washington, D.C.
Obama and the First Lady will instead attend a memorial service in West, Texas, for those who died last week in the fertilizer plant explosion. more >>