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Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

Category: First Lady Michelle Obama

President Obama plays tennis and basketball, reads to children during annual White House Easter Egg Roll

President Obama playing tennis

The Obama family hosted the Easter Egg Roll at the White House on Monday. Special moments at the 133rd annual event included Colbie Caillat of Malibu singing the national anthem, basketball trickery from the Harlem Globetrotters, and a reading from Olympic figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi. First Lady Michelle Obama made crepes with chef Jacques Pepin and morning TV personalities Al Roker and Kelly Ripa.

President Obama and the first lady also took time to read the children's book "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" to some of the youngsters in attendance.

The White House expected about 30,000 visitors to participate in the egg roll on the South Lawn. The theme this year was "Get Up And Go," dovetailing with the first lady's "Let's Move" initiative to curb childhood obesity and inspire healthy behaviors and exercise.

"The theme is 'Get up and Go,' because as you know, I'm a big proponent of getting up and going, making sure we're moving and eating healthy," she said. "And this Easter Egg Roll reflects all of that, so while you're here, in addition to listening to some great music and dancing a little bit, you can roll your eggs. You can do some yoga. You can play with some -- do some obstacle course, play basketball and tennis. We've got some wonderful storytellers over at Storytime Stage," she said.

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Plane carrying Michelle Obama gets too close to military cargo jet due to error with air traffic control [Updated]

Plane carrying Michelle Obama nearly collides with military cargo jet due to error with air traffic control

This post has been corrected. See note below for details.

A plane carrying First Lady Michelle Obama came dangerously close to a military cargo jet Monday due to a mistake by air traffic control personnel.

The Washington Post is reporting that the Boeing 737 with Michelle Obama onboard was preparing to land at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland when air traffic control instructed the White House plane to execute a series of S-turns so it would not collide with a 200-ton C-17.

When it became a greater possibility that the C-17 wouldn't be able to get off the runway quickly enough for the White House plane to land, the Andrews controllers instructed the 737 to abort its landing.

"In the grand scheme of things, events like this happen fairly frequently," a federal official who works with the air traffic control system told the Post anonymously. "Unfortunately, this one involves a presidential plane."

A second FAA manager told the Post that the error began with an air traffic controller at the Potomac Terminal Radar Approach Control facility in Warrenton, Va. "Not only did he get them too close, he told the [Andrews controller] that they were farther apart than they were," the manager said.

[For the record, 3:20 p.m.: An earlier version of this post said the plane was trying to land at Edwards Air Force Base.]

[For the record, 4:12 p.m.: This post originally said the first lady's plane "nearly collided with the military jet". In fact, the military jet did not clear off the runway soon enough as the White House plane was on approach. Obama's plane was 3 miles from the airport when the order came for it to do a 'go-around.']


Photos: Michelle Obama, fashion icon

Rush Limbaugh criticizes First Lady Michelle Obama's weight, nutritional campaign

President Obama and first lady paid $453,770 in taxes, donated 14% of income to charity

Note: Andrew Malcom is on vacation.

-- Tony Pierce

Photo: First Lady Michelle Obama speaks to members of the military and their families at Camp Lejeune, N.C., Wednesday.  Credit: Shawn Rocco / Raleigh News & Observer

President Obama and first lady paid $453,770 in 2010 federal taxes, donated 14% of income to charity

As Tax Day reaches the 11th hour and some Americans wince at how much they will be forking over to the government, most won't pay as much as the Obamas did. The President and the first lady released their joint tax returns Monday and showed that even though they earned about two-thirds less than  they did in 2009 when the president's book sales were skyrocketing, they still paid out close to a half million dollars in federal taxes.

first lady michelle obama and president barack obama made 2/3rds less money in 2010 than they made in 2009 but still had to pay almost a half million dollars in federal taxes President Obama and his wife, Michelle, earned about $1.73 million in 2010, their return stated. They also paid $52,000 in Illinois state taxes. The president receives a $400,000 salary, the majority of his income came from sales of the his books, "Dreams from My Father" and "The Audacity of Hope."

The couple donated $245,000 to 36 different charities last year, which totaled about 14% of their income. The entirety of the proceeds of his 2010 children's book, "Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters," was donated to a charity benefiting children of slain and disabled soldiers.

In 2009 the Obamas raked in $5.5 million, mostly due to the best-selling books which were at the peak of their popularity.

Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, earned $379,178 in 2010. They paid a total of $86,626 in federal taxes, $14,479 in Delaware state taxes, and $3,515 in Virginia income taxes.

Unlike the Obamas, the Bidens were not as financially generous with their charitable contributions, giving about 1.4% of their adjusted income to donations. But according to the veep's press secretary, the Biden's do-gooding didn't begin and end with the wallet.

Elizabeth Alexander, Vice President Biden's press secretary, issued a statement to CNN that emphasized that the Bidens also donate their time to charitable causes.

"The charitable donations claimed by the Bidens on their tax returns are not the sum of their annual contributions to charity,"  Alexander told CNN in a statement. "They contribute to many causes with their time, as well as their checkbooks," she said.

Obama blasts continued tax cuts for the rich
White House releases Obama, Biden tax returns
Obama's income drops, but still a millionaire, tax returns show

Note: Andrew Malcom is on vacation.

-- Tony Pierce

Photo: U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama listen to their national anthem during an arrival ceremony at the National Palace in San Salvador March 22, 2011. Credit: REUTERS/Jason Reed

Chicago ban on homemade school lunches packs much more than sandwiches

Maybe it's a Chicago thing, persons in positions of authority believing they know better what's best for others.

No, we're not talking about President Obama, who happens to be in Chicago today to bag up $17 million in takings from his three reelection campaign fundraisers last night.Button Obama eats a Hot Dog in front of Michelle

We're talking this time about a school principal on the West Side there who has banned homemade lunches at Little Village Academy.

No more brown bags or lunchpails filled with a handmade meal from home because Principal Elsa Carmona thinks the nutrition in her school's cafeteria is better than the parental stuff.

"It is better for the children to eat at the school," she announced to our Chicago Tribune colleagues.

Here's the deal: Many Americans feel they've endured the first 815 days of the Obama administration's drive to spend more, borrow more and regulate more.

They notice the oncoming federal requirement to purchase healthcare insurance. They see the president sign the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act last December, giving the feds increased power over the content of local school lunches and vending machines.

And they seem to be growing a tad touchy about being told what to do in....

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Late-night's best: Harry Houdini, Hillary Clinton and Kenya speaks out on Obama's birthplace

Harry Houdini in yet another perilopus spot Whyat will he do?

As The Ticket's 62,000-plus Twitter followers here and 6,600 Facebook fans here know, we regularly share our daily picks of the late-night jokes of interest, usually before broadcast each night. Feel free to pass them on to friends using the Share buttons above.

Here's the usual Monday morning collection:

Letterman: So now the CIA is arming the Libyan rebels. Great! You know what that means? In 10 years we'll be fighting THEM.

Fallon: Big show biz news: TLC will air new episodes of ‘Kate Plus 8’ starting this week. And they’re going to KEEP airing them until Kadafi steps down.

Fallon: President Obama says the U.S. has ‘clear and focused’ goals in Libya. Says he will share those goals with us as soon as Hillary shares them with him.

Conan: President Obama reportedly scheduled his speech on Libya so it would not interfere with “Dancing With the Stars.” So as of now the Obama poButton Obama will Check w-Hillary Clintonlicy is: “Willing to embroil us in a third war, but not willing to interrupt the Karate Kid’s Macarena.”

Fallon: Yes, Obama's Libya speech was timed to avoid DWTS. That's ridiculous. It's a major historical event that affects millions. I can't believe that show was nearly interrupted by Obama's speech.

Leno: So, finally President Obama addressed the nation on Libya. This changes his previous policy on Libya, which was "don't ask, don't tell.'

Leno: I love this part: Instead of calling our mission in Libya a war, the White House is calling it "a kinetic military action."  Which sounds better than "potential endless quagmire."

Letterman: Speaking of Libya, Obama says we're staying only....

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Late-night's best: Libya, Libya, Zuckerberg and Libya

an angry female commuter in Benghazi Libya

As The Ticket's 61,000-plus Twitter followers here and 6,600 Facebook fans here know, we regularly share our daily picks of the late-night jokes of interest, usually before broadcast each night. Feel free to pass them on to friends using the Share buttons above.

Here's the usual Monday morning collection:

Leno: Do you believe we're fighting three wars now? Can you imagine how many it would be if President Obama hadn't won the Nobel Peace Prize?

Letterman: Let’s see, we’ve got a war going in Iraq. And a war going in Afghanistan. Now a war in Libya. My God, you need brackets to track this stuff.

Letterman: Pentagon says we’ll be out of Libya in a couple of weeks. That’s good enough for me. Let me translate that for you: 10-year quagmire.

Leno: The Pentagon says we have a definite end date for the Libya war. Do you believe that? We still have troops in Germany and that’s, what, 65 years?

Leno: The Pentagon says that U.S. military involvement in Libya is limited with a defined end date. Yeah, it'll end when gas drops below $3 a gallon.

Conan: The first day of airstrikes against Libya cost more than $100 million. To put it....

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'Sire, the peasants are revolting!' Obama's amazing problem with political optics

Democrat president barack Obama enjoys an Oval Office phone call, file

"Sire," the nobleman urgently reports to the throne, "the peasants are revolting!"

"Phewee!" the king responds in the vaudeville sketch, "You're telling me."

For security reasons mainly, every modern U.S. president lives apart from average Americans.

Yes, George Washington refused to shake hands with fellow citizens. But Thomas Jefferson quickly took up that democratic habit. Two presidents have been assassinated shaking hands and Andrew Jakcson would have been had the pistols not misfired. Shaking hands has now become such an expected political staple that campaigning pols must often soak their hands of an evening to relieve the pain from so many citizen grips.

Most presidents do try to play down their apartness and not appear, well, royal. Remember all the mocking of Richard Nixon's proposed martinette White House guard uniforms? Royals are, after all, the folks we threw out in a revolution more than two centuries ago.

But, wow, what has gone wrong with the Optics Czar in the Obama White House?

The current president is a Real Good Talker. But the current White House crowd, which counts on its public connections to....

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Late-night's best: Arnold returns, Trump's trick, Obama's call and Michelle's diet

Arnold hunts pols

As The Ticket's 60,000-plus Twitter followers here and 6,600 Facebook fans here know, we regularly share our daily picks of the late-night jokes of interest, usually before broadcast each night. Feel free to pass them on to friends using the Share buttons above.

Here's the usual Monday morning collection:

Fallon: A Russian airline now has clowns and musicians performing in-flight. 'Cause with crowds and crying babies my first thought is, there should be clowns here.

O'Brien: Arnold Schwarzenegger is returning to the movies. In a 'Terminator' sequel he'll travel back in time to kill the person who suggested he run for governor.

O'Brien: According to Forbes magazine, the richest man in the world is now a man from Mexico. He’s Oprah’s gardener.

O'Brien: Donald Trump denies pretending to run for president just to gain publicity for his TV show. Trump said:....

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Breaking (so to speak): Obamas release White House Easter Egg Roll date, rules

2010 White House Easter Egg Roll

White House Announces 2011 White House Easter Egg Roll Date and Theme, as provided by the White House
The President and First Lady announced today that this year’s White House Easter Egg Roll will be held on Monday, April 25, 2011 with the theme of “Get Up and Go!” promoting health and wellness.

The event will feature live music, sports courts, cooking stations, storytelling and, of course, Easter egg rolling. All of the activities will encourage children to lead healthy and active lives and follow the First Lady’s ‘Let’s Move!’ initiative, a national campaign to combat childhood obesity. The White House will open its South Lawn for children aged 12 years and younger and their families.

White House Easter Egg Roll tickets will be distributed through an online lottery system, allowing guests from across the United States to participate in a tradition that dates back to 1878. The lottery will open for entries on March 10th at 12:01am and close on March 13th at 11:59pm. Tickets are free of charge and are non transferable. Full ticketing details can be found at . 

For the most up-to-date information on the Easter Egg Roll and other public events at the White House, please visit  or call the Visitors' Office 24-hour information line at (202) 456-7041.



Explaining Easter eggs to American newcomers

Photo: Getty Images

The Obamas stay fit with Cornell McClellan in that Chicago kind of way; maybe you should too

Cornell McClellan fitness coach to the ObamasA key element of Chicago politics is that those who move on up the ladder of success take good care of their loyal pals back down below.

That's why Valerie Jarrett, among numerous Chicagoans, has a White House job close to the ex-state senator whose future wife she hired when Jarrett worked for Mayor Richard M. Daley, who allowed Obama to survive within the ruthless urban Democratic machine.

Daley could then call upon Obama's wife to call upon her husband the president to fly Air Force One to Copenhagen to help with their hometown's Olympics bid -- in vain, as it turned out.

Since, to be politically real about it, what clout does a South Side Chicago Democrat have over the International Olympics Committee?

In the least surprising story of 2011 so far, Obama has helped ex-chief of staff Rahm Emanuel become the new mayor of Chicago. And the old Chicago mayor's brother William is Obama's new chief of staff. Moves that look like change but aren't. It's the Chicago Way.

So, perfect sense to learn now that every week President Obama and....

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
President Obama
Republican Politics
Democratic Politics



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