From L-R: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Jim Yong Kim, President Obama and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)
It’s been a whirlwind Friday at the White House as the administration tackled a number of hot-button issues before the weekend.
The president started the day with a press conference where he appointed Dartmouth president Jim Yong Kim to lead the World Bank. But the only question on the minds of the press centered on the controversial killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
During a week when the White House has been largely silent about the case which has sparked a media firestorm, the President broke his silence. While careful not to impair the ongoing Justice Department inquiry, he spoke candidly about how he was personally impacted by the news. “When I think about this boy, I think about my own kids. And I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this, and that everybody pulls together — federal, state and local — to figure out exactly how this tragedy happened,” he told the crowd of reporters.
He then explained that he was glad that investigations are taking place at both the federal and state levels. But it was his message to the parents of Trayvon Martin that struck an emotional chord with most people. He said, “If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon. And I think they are right to expect that all of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves, and that we're going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened.”
At today’s White House press conference, reporters wondered why the president saw fit to speak out about the matter now. Carney answered saying, “The President believes this is a tragedy. And as a parent, he can feel that, as you and other folks who are parents can understand, even more keenly the kind of grief that the Martins are suffering right now. And I think that’s an observation that is broadly and widely shared.”
While the World Bank appointment and the Trayvon Martin case seemed to take center stage, an important anniversary remained conspicuously out of the spotlight. Today marked the second anniversary of the Affordable Care Act. But there were no events or special announcements to mark the important benchmark, raising questions about whether the White House sees the landmark legislation as a political liability. Carney allayed concerns saying, “The anniversary is not something that the President is going to have an event around, but it is quite clearly a major accomplishment for him and for the administration, for the Congress.”
Carney did speak about a new report released today praising the accomplishments of the Affordable Care Act. “Thanks to this legislation, 2.5 million more young adults have health insurance on their parent's plan; 5.1 million seniors with Medicare saved $3.2 billion on their prescription drugs, and everyone on Medicare can get preventive services like mammograms now for free,” he said.
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