Obama begins second year in office - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Obama begins second year in office

WASHINGTON. - President Barack Obama begins his second year in office Wednesday with a different political landscape than he's had over the past year.
     
The loss of Ted Kennedy's former Senate seat to a Republican means the GOP now has enough votes to block Obama's health care legislation in Congress.
     
Before Tuesday's special election, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs insisted a Republican victory in Massachusetts would not change the president's priorities.
     
Gibbs said whether there are 59 seats in the Democratic caucus or 60, there's still much work to do on the economy and on health care.
     
He also says nothing special has been planned to mark Obama's first year as president.

First lady, first dog, surprise White House tourists

White House tourists got a surprise Wednesday.
     
None other than first lady Michelle Obama showed up as their greeter to mark the end of Barack Obama's first year as president.
     
Mrs. Obama brought the family dog, Bo, to the Blue Room. She chatted with guests and hugged many of them as they filed in.
     
The Obamas began the presidency with a promise to open the White House to more visitors.
     
The White House says more than 614,000 guests visited in the first year. That figure includes tourists, participants in the annual Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn, and the spring and fall garden tours.

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