(CBS News) POLAND, OHIO -- In a cramped elementary school - on a stage framed by American flags but absent the hay bales and picnic tables that dotted President Obama's visits yesterday to these select Northern Ohio communities, Mr. Obama spent less than 2 minutes discussing today's jobs numbers, acknowledging that "it's still tough out there."
"We learned this morning that our businesses created 84,000 new jobs last month, and that overall means that businesses have created 4.4 million new jobs over the past 28 months, including 500,000 new manufacturing jobs. That's a step in the right direction."
The President emphasized that simply recovering lost jobs is clearly not enough. "We can't be satisfied because our goal was never to just keep on working to get back to where we were back in 2007, he said. "I want to get back to a time when middle class families and those working to get into the middle class have some basic security. That's our goal. So we've got to grow the economy even faster and we've got to put even more people back to work."
Obama campaign senior adviser David Plouffe seemed to shrug off the jobs numbers, telling CBS News, "it's what everybody expected." And Plouffe said the campaign will continue to make the case that the economy would not get better if Romney were elected president. Romney, he said, "would make it worse."
(CBS News) Speaking to military families who endured the anguish of losing a loved one, Vice President Joe Biden today recalled the car accident that took the lives of his wife and one-year-old daughter in 1972.
In a tone both measured and thoughtful, Biden described receiving the unthinkable news: "And just like you guys know by the tone of a phone call, you just knew didn't you?," he told the audience. "You knew when they walked up the path, you knew when the call came, you knew. You just felt it in your bones. Something bad happened. And I knew. I don't know how I knew. But the call said my wife is dead, my daughter was dead, and wasn't sure how my sons were going to make it."
Biden's first wife, Neilia, and his daughter Naomi were Christmas shopping with sons Beau and Hunter on December 18, when a tractor trailer fatally broadsided their station wagon. The critically injured boys went on to make full recoveries.
The vice president drew knowing laughter as he described the daily trials of grief. "I knew people meant well, they'd come up to me and say 'Joe, I know how you feel. I knew they meant well, I knew they were genuine, but you knew they didn't have any damn idea, right? Isn't that true?"Continue »
(CBS News) Newly-inaugurated French President Francois Hollande stood by his campaign promise to withdraw French troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2012 at the White House Friday, though he vowed to "continue to support Afghanistan in a different way."
Hollande, who was elected less than two weeks ago, made the comments during a brief appearance with President Obama in the Oval Office ahead of the Group of Eight (G-8) and NATO summits. Under his predecessor, Nikolas Sarkozy, France had initially planned to keep troops from Afghanistan through 2014.
Hollande vowed during his campaign to remove all 3,300 French troops from Afghanistan, but he later softened that to say that all "combat units" would be out by the end of the year. On Friday in the Oval Office, he vowed to find the "right means" by which to France can "continue and comply" with its in-country commitments.Continue »
President Obama on Wednesday kicks off a politically-charged two-day energy tour to three battleground states - Nevada, New Mexico and Ohio, with an additional stop in Cushing, Oklahoma, the site where a key portion of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline would begin.
The president will tout his administration's energy policies and highlight his efforts to reduce dependency on foreign oil. But the tour, and his message, comes amid deep political concern in the White House - that high gas prices may hurt the presidents re-election chances.
In advance of this trip, Republicans have already gone on offense, pinning gas prices to his policies.
"The president wants the American people to think his policies have nothing to do with rising gas prices, but his policies are making gas prices worse," said a statement released by House Speaker John Boehner's office.Continue »
Vineyard Haven, Mass. -- If the possibility of escaping from New York seems like something only for Hollywood to you, you probably do not work for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
In May 2009, the Obama administration conducted a simulation exercise around the possibility of a Category 3 hurricane hitting New York City, White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Friday.
The National Level Exercise, as it is known, was part of a coordinated effort by federal officials to prepare for a variety of disaster scenarios, including one very similar to what is likely to take place this weekend. President Obama himself participated in the exercise, one of the first of its kind by the new administration.
"The federal government's preparation for this storm didn't just begin as the clouds started to gather and form a tropical depression," Earnest told reporters traveling with President Obama to Martha's Vineyard.Continue »
The White House press corps was on standby for a variety of things, mostly pertaining to Libya and whether or not they would be able to see pictures of President Obama's golf outing today. But the print and television journalists assigned to cover the president's vacation on Martha's Vineyard were decidedly unprepared for anything approximating an earthquake - especially one powerful enough to shake us in our seats from more than 500 miles away.
The press is camped out at the Mansion House in in Vineyard Haven, where the chandeliers shook for what we've determined to be about 15 seconds of rolling vibrations on the ground, an unsettling feeling to say the least. Mansion House owner Susan Goldstein, who has lived on the island since 1971, told CBS News that she'd never experienced anything like this.Continue »
Updated at 3:00 p.m. ET
As Libyan rebels closed in on the regime of strongman Muammar Qaddafi today, President Obama warned that the situation in the North African nation remains "fluid" and "this is not over yet."
"But this much is clear, the Gadhafi regime is coming to an end and the future of Libya is in the hands of its people," Mr. Obama said.
As the regime collapses, there's still fighting on the ground, as well as reports of regime elments that threaten keep fighting, Mr. Obama said. Qaddafi, who has ruled for more than four decades, has the opportunity to reduce the bloodshed "by explicitly relinquishing power to the people of Libya," he said.
Mr. Obama said the international community has worked with the National Transitional Council to prepare for a post-Qaddafi Libya for months and will continue to work with the group.
"As the leadership of the TNC has made clear, the rights of all Libyans must be respected," Mr. Obama said, using the preferred U.S. acronym for the group. "True justice will not come from reprisals and violence. It will come from reconciliation and a Libya that allows its citizens to determine their own destiny. In that effort, the United States will be a friend and a partner."
Libyan rebels claimed to be in control of most of Tripoli on Monday, and three of Qaddafi's sons were reportedly in custody.
Qaddafi's whereabouts are still unknown, but White House and Pentagon officials said today they believe he's still in the country. Clashes continued at Qaddafi's longtime command center, known as Bab al-Aziziya, and Al Arabiya Television reports that, according to rebel sources, NATO warplanes would start bombing the compound today.Continue »
Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest, who holds an on-camera briefing before Vineyard-based reporters tomorrow, said in a statement that the president was briefed this morning by Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan and is in close communication with the Transitional National Council and other partners on the ground.
"We believe that Qadhafi's days are numbered," the statement read, adding that "the Libyan people deserve a just, democratic and peaceful future." The president was to receive updates from his national security team throughout the day.Continue »
Three more books were brought to the island from home.
The five books average 512 pages in length, and are predominantly fiction.
House Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday warned against "any precipitous withdrawal" of troops from Afghanistan ahead of President Obama's expected announcement that 30,000 "surge" troops would be coming home by the end of next year.
The nation's highest ranking Republican stressed that he would back the president's decision as long as Obama listens to military and diplomatic officials dedicated to the United States' efforts in Afghanistan.
"If the president listens to the commanders on the ground and our diplomats in the region," Bohener told reporters, "I'll be there to support him."Continue »