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Monday, March 4, 2013

Leaders of a New Administration (Kinda)

Interesting 'pool' report today from Brian Hughes of the Washington Examiner as President Obama meets with members of his revamped, reorganized, and restructured Cabinet (we're waiting for the 2013 photograph). 

The president aluded to what remains his top priorities going into his second presidential term.

Hughes writes in:

President Obama on Monday convened the first Cabinet meeting of his second term, highlighting some “familiar faces,” “new faces” and “familiar faces in new positions.”

Pool was ushered in to the meeting at 1:08 p.m. and the president’s remarks at the top of the gathering lasted roughly four minutes.

Sitting to the president’s right were Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Education Secretary Arne Duncan. To the president’s left were new Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and (outgoing) Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. Obama singled out Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and Hagel, who were recently confirmed by the Senate.

The president said the department leaders would talk about the across-the-board budget cuts that went into effect Friday.

“It is an area of deep concern,” Obama said of sequestration. “I think everybody knows where I stand on this issue… it’s not the right way for us to go about deficit reduction.” “I will continue to seek out partners on the other side of the aisle so that we can create the kind of balanced approach of spending cuts, revenues, entitlement reform that everyone knows is the right way to do that,” he added.

Obama predicted slower economic growth and lower employment in coming months. Turning away from the so-called sequester, Obama highlighted his pushes for comprehensive immigration reform and universal preschool.

On immigration reform, he said, ”I want to again thank members of Congress who on a bipartisan basis are moving forward on that agenda.”

Obama also said the group would hear from Vice President Biden on the administration’s efforts to reduce gun violence. The president concluded by saying that despite budget cuts, “We’re not going to stop working on behalf of the American people… to grow the economy and improve people’s lives.”

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