- - Monday, July 4, 2011

CAMPAIGN 2012

Major teachers union endorses Obama’s re-election

CHICAGO — The nation’s largest education union has endorsed President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.

Members of the National Education Association voted to support Mr. Obama on Monday at their annual convention in Chicago.

In a statement, NEA President Dennis Van Roekel says Mr. Obama and the union share a vision and that members wanted early and strong support to help his election.

The endorsement comes a day after Vice President Joseph R. Biden addressed thousands of educators at the convention. The association has 3.2 million members.

VICE PRESIDENCY

Biden on Twitter: Watch for some tweets from veep

Now appearing on Twitter: Vice President Joseph R. Biden.

The famously verbose veep was to send his first-ever tweet Monday, a Fourth of July message from himself and wife Jill Biden asking Americans to take time in the day to think of U.S. troops and military families.

Given his gift for gab - not to mention gaffes - Mr. Biden might seem an unlikely candidate to say it in 140 characters or less. Not to worry - like most politicians’ tweets, Mr. Biden’s will be staff-written.

It’s part of the White House’s growing focus on social media. The White House regularly communicates via Twitter, as does President Obama’s re-election campaign. Mr. Obama has told supporters he’ll personally author some of the campaign tweets.

On Wednesday, the White House will even hold a Twitter town hall. Mr. Obama will take questions via Twitter, though he’ll respond verbally.

HOMELAND SECURITY

Obama taps Olson as new counterterror chief

President Obama has tapped Matthew Olsen, a former prosecutor with extensive experience in intelligence matters for the federal government, as his new counterterrorism chief.

If confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Olsen would direct the National Counterterrorism Center, an agency charged with analyzing and integrating information.

Mr. Olsen, 49, currently serves as the general counsel for the National Security Agency.

MINNESOTA

As shutdown drags on, GOP lawmakers hear critics, backers

EAGAN, Minn. — Minnesota legislators are facing angry voters, but also finding some support as they spend time in their districts on a holiday weekend that coincides with the state’s government shutdown.

Three freshman Republicans marched in an Independence Day parade in Eagan. The suburb south of St. Paul has traditionally elected Republicans, but in recent years has grown more hospitable to Democrats.

State Sen. Ted Daley and Reps. Doug Wardlow and Diane Anderson unseated incumbent Democrats last year. They also backed a Republican budget that Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton calls unacceptable.

Mr. Dayton let Minnesota’s government shut down rather than accept the refusal of Republican lawmakers to raise income taxes on the wealthy.

Some parade-goers shouted “Get back to work” and “End the shutdown” to the Republicans. But others shouted words of support.

WHITE HOUSE

White House payroll will be $37 million in 2011 salaries

The White House said Friday it will pay $37,121,463 in salaries to 454 employees in 2011.

Three policy advisers have a salary of zero, while more than 20 make the highest pay grade, $172,200.

More than 30 percent earn between $100,000 and $200,000 a year, while 154 are paid less than $50,000, according to the 2011 annual report on White House staff.

The top-dollar group includes John Brennan, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism; press secretary James Carney; William Daley, chief of staff; and director of speechwriting Jonathan Favreau.

The average White House salary in 2011 is about $82,000.

ECONOMY

White House says stimulus responsible for 2.4 million jobs

White House economists say the $821 billion economic stimulus passed early in 2009 is responsible for at least 2.4 million jobs that otherwise would not have existed because of the recession.

A new report by the White House Council of Economic Advisers says the spending and tax breaks in the package are phasing out and their effect on economic growth and hiring is declining.

When passed, the Obama administration said the stimulus would halt rising unemployment at about 8 percent. Unemployment, however, peaked at 10.1 percent in October of 2009. The White House has said it underestimated the force of the recession.

The administration no longer uses the much-maligned phrase “saved or created” jobs. Instead, it says the stimulus “raised employment relative to what it otherwise would have been.”

SOCIAL MEDIA

Hackers falsely claim Obama dead on Fox News’ Twitter feed

Hackers took control of the Twitter account of FoxNews.com’s political news feed Monday and sent several false tweets saying that President Obama had been fatally shot.

“Those reports are incorrect, of course, and the president is spending the July 4 holiday with his family,” Foxnews.com said in a statement about the incident, the latest in a wave of high-profile cybersecurity breaches around the world.

There was no immediate reaction from the White House. The Secret Service declined to comment.

BANKING

Obama taps Curry, Miller for top financial posts

President Obama moved to fill two key posts in the ranks of financial regulators as officials work to complete new rules required by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street oversight law.

The White House announced that Mr. Obama will nominate Thomas Curry to head the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the agency that supervises nationally chartered banks.

Mr. Obama will also nominate Mary Miller to become Treasury undersecretary for domestic finance, the White House said in a statement.

Mr. Curry, a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. board and a registered independent, had been rumored to be a top contender for the OCC post.

The OCC regulates the nation’s largest banks, such as Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, and has been without a permanent head since August, when John Dugan left the post.

DIPLOMACY

Myanmar diplomat defects to U.S., according to reports

The deputy chief of mission at the Myanmar Embassy in Washington is seeking political asylum in the United States, Radio Free Asia reported Sunday.

Career diplomat Kyaw Win, 59, had been posted in Washington since 2008.

Mr. Win, who served in four other capitals during his 31 years as a diplomat, is the second Myanmar deputy chief of mission to seek asylum in Washington.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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