Barack Obama

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Months-long wait times between appointments, rampant Legionnaire’s contamination, controversy over data manipulation and other problems plaguing Pittsburgh’s veteran’s affairs office were an unfortunate norm nationwide, the department head said Tuesday.

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

President Barack Obama on Tuesday called the Legionella-related deaths of six veterans at a Pittsburgh VA hospital a “tragedy.”

“Whenever there are any missteps, there is no excuse,” Obama told thousands of veterans at the annual Veterans of Foreign Wars convention at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh.

More than 100 Pittsburgh students toured the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory in South Park on Friday to talk to experts about science, technology, engineering and math careers.

The lab was one of four in the country selected to host the event as part of President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, which challenges cities to focus on programming for at-risk youth.

What’s the Right Rhetoric for the State of the Union?

Jan 20, 2015
Blatant World / Flickr

Tonight at 9 p.m., President Barack Obama will deliver the State of the Union address to Congress, the Senate and the rest of the country. But his office has already put forth many plans for the year.

Before the president gives his address, we'll get some perspective on what he'll propose, from University of Pittsburgh presidential rhetoric and political communication professor Jerry Shuster.

Trust in the state and federal governments have hit “historically low levels,” according to the Robert Morris University Polling Institute.

Of the 1,004 voters and nonvoters polled across the country following the November 2014 election, 21.7 percent said they trusted the federal government, while 20.3 percent said they had confidence in the state. Local governments were seen as the most trustworthy with about 40 percent approval.

Would You Like to Buy an Ambassadorship?

Jan 6, 2015
Ryan McFarland / Flickr

In 2014, a number of President Obama’s US ambassador appointees were confirmed by the Senate, despite their lack of diplomacy experience. Appointees such as Noah Bryson Mamet, the new ambassador of Argentina, have never visited the country where they will be stationed.

While a president naming political appointees as ambassadors is not new, international policy experts such as Penn State International Affairs professor and retired U.S. Ambassador Dennis Jett are concerned.

In his new book “American Ambassadors: The Past, Present, and Future of America’s Diplomats,” he looks at the various paths to becoming a diplomat.

Jett joins Dan Simpson, another former ambassador and a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist, to discuss the role of ambassadors in this ever more globalized world.

Call it a “prebuttal” — a chance for the state GOP to respond to President Barack Obama’s visit to Pennsylvania before it happens.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf is scheduled to appear with Obama in Philadelphia at a rally on Sunday, and Republicans are treating it as an opportunity to make some of the president’s low poll numbers stick to Wolf.

Most polls show Wolf has a wide lead over Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, but indicate the president is far less popular.  

Can The House Sue President Obama?

Aug 6, 2014

As Speaker of the House John Boehner moves forward with an unprecedented lawsuit against President Obama, we checked in with University of Pittsburgh Professor of Law David Harris to explain what’s going on.

“This is the first time ... that the House of the Senate has actively moved to sue the president," Harris said. "There’s been nothing like that before.”

He added that although anybody in the United States can sue anybody else, he does not believe this to be a legitimate legal action.

“The major impediment to this suit going forward is what we call ‘standing to sue,’" Harris said. "In federal court, which is where the suit will be, the Constitution requires what they call a ‘case or controversy.’ What that provision has been interpreted to mean over the many years and decades is that the person suing actually has to have a personal stake in the outcome, in the sense that they will be harmed, they will be personally affected."

American manufacturing was the focus of President Obama’s visit to Pittsburgh Tuesday.

The president stopped at TechShop in Bakery Square, a facility that allows start-up businesses, tinkerers and hobbyists to use high-end instruments they may not otherwise have access to. Obama said part of continuing the manufacturing boom in the country will be finding ways to make resources of the federal government more available to the general public.

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden visited the Community College of Allegheny County's West Hills Center campus in Oakdale Wednesday to announce system-wide reforms of federal job training programs.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

The Community College of Allegheny County’s mechatronics program trains students to work in high-tech manufacturing jobs, and President Barack Obama said Wednesday it’s the kind of program that should be available nationwide.

“What we want to do is we want to replicate your model across the country,” Obama said. “You’re doing something right that is making a difference in people’s lives, and we want to spread the word.”

Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were at CCAC’s West Hills Center campus in Oakdale to announce system-wide reforms of federal job training programs.

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were at the Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center campus in Oakdale Wednesday to unveil the administration’s new job training initiatives.

Obama called CCAC’s mechatronics program an outstanding model of job-driven training that he wants to see replicated across the country.

The program trains workers for high-tech manufacturing jobs in as little as six months.

The president and vice president will be in western Pennsylvania on Wednesday to talk about job training.

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are scheduled to speak at the Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center in Oakdale on "jobs-driven skills training in a 21st century economy."

The visit was originally scheduled to be held at Leetsdale about 15 miles away, but officials said the community college could better accommodate the event.

President Barack Obama has offered his sympathy and gratitude to the principal of a Pennsylvania school where a teenager stabbed 22 people.

The White House says Obama called Principal Ron Suvak of Franklin Regional High School on Thursday as the president flew home from a two-day trip to Texas.

White House spokesman Jay Carney says Obama offered his deepest sympathies to those affected. He says Obama talked about the heroism of students, teachers and staff whose actions saved lives.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Reiterating themes from Tuesday night’s State of the Union speech, President Barack Obama addressed a cold crowd of about 500 at U.S. Steel’s Irvin Plant in West Mifflin Wednesday.

Obama once again called on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage and said “too many Americans are working harder than ever just to get by, let alone get ahead.”

He then went on to talk about his four-point "Opportunity Agenda."

President Obama spoke Wednesday afternoon at US Steel’s Irvin Plant in West Mifflin, PA. The visit is part of a 4-stop tour in which he’s emphasizing efforts to help the long-term unemployed and close the gap in economic disparity. Those efforts were initially highlighted Tuesday night in the president’s state of the union address.

University of Pittsburgh Political Communications Professor Gerald Shuster talked with us about the effectiveness of the president’s messaging during the address. Especially when he put it to congress to raise the minimum wage by saying “So join the rest of the country, say yes, give America a raise.”

Reaction from southwestern Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address has unsurprisingly been mixed.

Congressman Tim Murphy (R-PA 18) was pleased to hear the president say that he wanted to work with Congress but was a bit concerned with his willingness to “go it alone.” The president spoke of using executive orders to make progress on pet projects as diverse as encouraging the increase of minimum wage to creating a new retirement savings option for working Americans.