Paul Vale   |   June 5, 2015    1:30 AM ET

The 44th President of the United States posts some impressive tweets. Whereas most politicians use the social network to talk about transport projects, academic awards or the size of their penis, Barack Obama is playing a much stronger game.

Thursday evening's offering showed the Commander-in-Chief on all fours in the Oval Office peering at a baby, the post entitled “Rugrats.” It wasn't quite the hug with the wife after the 2012 election, the third most retweeted tweet of all time, but it still garnered plenty of reaction on the social network.

With less than two years left in office (allied to Hillary Clinton drawing all the flak from the conservative right), Obama has entered what he recently described as the “bucket” phase of his presidency. Or the “buck it” phase. Meaning the “f*ck it” phase.

Wait till he’s only got two months left. The White House Twitter account will be trolling Sepp Blatter, doxing Piers Morgan and posting how Katie Hopkins' latest Sun column confirms that she’s a “stoat-faced ****”

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...and for no reason, here are some pictures of Obama's dog:

Owen Bennett   |   June 3, 2015    1:10 PM ET

Barack Obama wants to “do nothing” on the world stage and the United Nations is a “laughing stock”, according to new Labour MP Stephen Kinnock.

The husband of the Danish Prime Minister launched a full-blooded attack on the American president last night as he also bemoaned the failures of international institutions such as the World Bank.

The Aberavon MP, son of former Labour leader Neil Kinnock, claimed the Western leaders have “profound misunderstandings” about the sheer level of Russia’s “resentment” towards the West.

His attack on President Obama is likely to raise eyebrows in Washington thanks to his marriage to Helle Thorning-Schmidt, who is seeking re-election as Denmark’s leader.

Ms Thorning-Schmidt was snapped laughing with President Obama as they posed for a selfie at the memorial for Nelson Mandela in 2013.

Speaking in the residence of the Danish ambassador to the UK, Claus Grube, Mr Kinnock said: “We have never seen a time where we have such a risk adverse and timid global leadership - President Obama with his dogma of strategic patience, which to me just seems like an excuse to do nothing.

“We have European Union member states squabbling amongst themselves constantly looking to make headlines in their own national capitals rather than actually recognising the only way to create a resilient global and regional system is by compromising, cooperating, collaborating.”

obama mandela
President Obama, Ms Thorning-Schmidt and David Cameron at Nelson Mandela's memorial

Mr Kinnock also turned his guns on some of the key international organisations, and said: “The global institutions are totally inadequate.

“The United Nations, I’m very disappointed and sad to say this, I think it’s become something of a laughing stock.

“I think that there’s big questions about the legitimacy of the IMF, the World Bank, which are still dominated by the industrialised Western powers in the world where money and powers are shifted so much from west to east and from north to south.”

Speaking about the “truly worrying” threat to the West from Moscow, Mr Kinnock – who lived in Russia for four years – said: “There are profound misunderstandings of the Russian psyche.

“Having lived and worked there I understand…I think the only way to really understand Russia is to have been there and to see how much resentment there is about the way Russia feels its been treated down the years by the West, how much of a feeling of conspiracy feelings are all around and so we have to take that into account.”

President Obama has faced criticism from Republicans over his perceived lack of strategy for dealing with ISIS.

Leon Panetta, one of President Obama’s former Defence Secretary’s, also attacked the US leader for rowing back from his “red line” over Syria’s use of chemical weapons in that country’s civil war.

In his memoirs, published last October, Mr Panetta said: “The power of the United States rests on its word, and clear signals are important both to deter adventurism and to reassure allies that we can be counted on.”

Last week, the current Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter claimed it was the UK which risked “disengagement” from the world if David Cameron did not commit two per cent of national wealth on military spending.


Chris York   |   May 22, 2015   10:22 AM ET

Maybe it's the new trade bill. Maybe it's her opposition to the continuation of Guantanamo Bay. Maybe it's the failure to stop Islamic State marching on Palmyra.

Whatever it is, Claudia is not happy with Barack Obama.

In al fairness she probably just needs a nap but the look on Obama's face is priceless: "See what I have to work with here?"

Probably a similar look to the one he gives when he comes out of a meeting with a Republican.

And all this is strangely familiar.

Remember last year when this happened?

As Barack Obama chatted with the boy's parents, a departing Secret Service agent and his wife, the little boy reacted to his plight in glorious fashion - by face-planting onto a couch in the Oval Office.

The majestic dive, captured by Lawrence Jackson, was released as the White House revealed some candid behind-the-scenes photographs from June on its official Flickr account.

How Obama Slap-Downs Persuaded George Clooney To Be In A Disney Film

Caroline Frost   |   May 21, 2015   12:10 PM ET

'Tomorrowland: A World Beyond' producers kept describing the proposed lead character in their brand new Disney film as ‘Clooney-esque’, without dreaming for a minute they’d actually get the A-list star to be in it. Fortunately for them, it was all about timing.

Writer Damon Lindelof says of his recruitment campaign with director Brad Bird, “He just doesn’t do movies like this. The idea of asking George Clooney to be in a big summer blockbuster, let alone a big Disney film, just on principle he’s going to say no... but fortunately he was a huge fan of Brad’s work, that got us in the door.

george clooney

George Clooney stars as Frank Walker in Disney epic 'Tomorrowland'

"Ultimately we ended up hanging out at his house for about three hours, this was at the time that President Obama was up for re-election, and everyone was basically talking about how President Obama had been elected on this idea of hope, and everybody was grumbling about how disappointed they were with him.

"We were big fans of President Obama and thought that wasn’t entirely fair, as one man could only accomplish so much, and he used so much political capital to bring in healthcare."

george clooney

Talk about President Obama, seen here with George back when he was a Senator, got the actor all fired up

Fortunately for the filmmakers, this whole conversation about Obama and the evaporation of hope was just the topic to warm up their leading man.

Damon explains they realised that, because of the all the politics in the room, "George is completely and totally activated right now".

"And we thought we could explain the movie to him in those terms, that it’s about believing in something and, if it doesn’t come to pass, you turn on it, become cynical and jaded, then how do you reactivate hope once you’ve been disappointed?

"Once you’ve failed on a risk, doesn’t mean you should never take it again."

And, folks, that's how you get George Clooney to star in your film.

'Tomorrowland: A World Beyond' tells the story of a pair of youngsters, united by their curiosity to discover a secret time and place located somewhere in their memory, and what light it might shed on the future of our planet.

The film is in UK cinemas from Friday 22 May. Watch the trailer below…

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Paul Vale   |   May 20, 2015    8:00 PM ET

NEW YORK -- Barack Obama reframed the fight against global warming on Wednesday, calling it a national security threat to the United States. Speaking to graduates of the US Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut, the President lambasted those who deny the "indisputable" science, while indicting those that refuse to act with a "dereliction of duty."

"I'm here today to say that climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security," he said, adding: “It will impact how our military defends our country. And so we need to act — and we need to act now. Denying it or refusing to deal with it endangers our national security. It undermines the readiness of our forces."

Positioning the fight as a security matter, and consequently a concern for the US military, marks a departure for the President who in recent months has framed the need for action in terms of a national health crisis. However, the Republican-led Congress, many members of which are funded by corporations whose profits would suffer from action on climate change, remains indifferent.

inhofe snowball

James Inhofe and his snowball expose the "myth" of global warming

Many of the Republican presidential candidates for 2016 have spoken out on climate change, arguing that any unilateral action would damage the US economy. In March Republican James Inhofe, chair of the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee, brought a snowball into the Senate chamber in an attempt to disprove global warming -- an act for which he was roundly mocked.

Obama said the cadets will be among the first generation of officers to begin their service in a world where it is increasingly clear that "climate change will shape how every one of our services plan, operate, train, equip and protect their infrastructure."

"This is not just a problem for countries on the coasts, or for certain regions of the world. Climate change will impact every country on the planet," he said.

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Nitya Rajan   |   May 20, 2015    5:46 PM ET

If there is ever anybody who can beat Iron Man using something as mundane as Twitter, it would be Barack Obama.

The US President now holds the Guinness World Record for the time taken to reach one million followers on Twitter.

On Monday, Obama aka @POTUS greeted Twitter with a very simple hello that gained him one million followers in less than five hours.

The record was previously held by Hollywood's own king of cool Robert Downey Jr., who took 23 hours and 22 minutes to achieve the same in April last year.

@POTUS' follower to following ratio also appears to be incredibly presidential with only 65 people including John Kerry, who have got the ole follow from Obama so far. Cue the FOMO.

Obama doesn't appear to be a prolific tweeter but he does seem to be taking questions from Bill Clinton, who asked:


A fair question, since @POTUS won't be relevant to Obama once the US elections kick off in 2016.

Twitter released an animated map revealing how quickly conversations around @POTUS took off on the social media platform.

Some of the Twaffic sadly involved heavy handed racism, while a lot of it probably entailed the world asking the Presidential Tweebie for a follow.

  |   May 19, 2015   10:04 AM ET

Firstly, let us say that the photo above is something of a cheat. For Barack Obama didn't send his first tweet from @POTUS via a laptop on a lectern. He did it in the time-honoured fashion - perching casually on his desk in the Oval Office:

Yes, President Obama has a brand new Twitter account.

And after we'd all had a good giggle at his exchange with Bill Clinton...

...it was time to have a giggle at other Twitter users' reactions to this momentous event. Which was, indeed, momentous:

Tweeters' responses included advice for the President:


Advice for fellow tweeters:

Observations:

Amazing facts:

Confusion:

And some contemplation on how Joe Biden might be feeling:

Poor Joe Biden...

And that wasn't all. The official White House photo of the official moment of the official first tweet also prompted some marvellous picture captions from our Twitter followers:

obama

Including the favourite Twitter running joke that is Cheggers:

And, not forgetting:

Marvellous. Welcome to the wonderful world of Twitter, @POTUS!

Chris York   |   May 19, 2015    9:25 AM ET

So this happened on Monday...

Despite already having a personal Twitter account, President Barack Obama has been given an official government handle.

After making his introductions, he then set about what doing exactly what you hoped he would do - indulge in a bit of gentle ribbing with Bill Clinton.

The not-so-subtle questioning on the behalf of Hilary was met with a pretty sharp response from Obama.

Superb.

And Clinton wasn't the only person happy to see him around.

An unfortunate side effect of the President's new account appears to be much confusion around his handle.


Obama will step down from office next year with the race for his successor already heating up.

Clinton is the favourite to run for the Democrats with no other candidates close to her in the running at the moment.

On the Republican side, Scott Walker, Mark Rubio, Jeb Bush and Chris Christie are all currently in contention.

Lucy Sherriff   |   May 14, 2015    2:59 PM ET

A Chinese professor asked his students to walk over him so they would learn to challenge authority - and have the courage to "throw eggs" at Barack Obama.

Despite originally being reluctant, more than 100 students trampled over the Professor Zhang Nengli after their class in Wuhan University of Technology finished.

icic

The professor's unusual technique..

Zhang told the Wuhan Evening News: "The aim was to instil in the students a yearning for seeking the truth, and a spirit that has the courage to use the truth to challenge authority.

'In Chinese culture there is a form of timidity that restricts our freedom of thought, so that even if we see something that is blatantly wrong we are reluctant to challenge it.

When we are listening to leaders talk, we pay great attention. But in Europe or the US the people are more emotional.

'If they detect they are not being told the truth they will resort to throwing eggs and shoes at their leaders."

Zhang hopes his students will now have the courage to throw eggs at Obama, "because throwing eggs at someone is not to humiliate them, but to defend the truth".

Sarah Ann Harris   |   May 8, 2015    4:53 PM ET

Barack Obama has congratulated David Cameron on his re-election as Prime Minister.

In a statement the US President said: "I congratulate Prime Minister Cameron on his impressive electoral victory.

barack obama david cameron high five

Barack Obama congratulated David Cameron on the Tory General Election win

"The special and essential relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom is rooted in deep and abiding shared interests and values.

"I have enjoyed working closely with Prime Minister Cameron on a range of shared interests these last several years, and I look forward to continuing to strengthen the bonds between our countries, as we work together on behalf of global peace, security and prosperity."

Americans will elect Obama's successor on 8 November next year.

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Jon-Christopher Bua   |   April 29, 2015   12:00 AM ET

Once again I attended the White House Correspondents Dinner and according to White House estimates there were 2,700 attendees most vying for their moment in the limelight.

At this less star-studded and a bit more serious Spring Gala two sobering thoughts dominated the evening's "off the record" conversations as well as the official "entertainment".

As we applauded the real star of the evening, Barack Obama, we collectively came to the realisation that for this greying world leader it would be the last time he would be holding court as the nation's top Democrat at the White House Correspondents Dinner.

Although Obama will preside over one more WHCD, by this time next year the Democratic Party's presumptive nominee will be the shining star of the Democratic Party - whoever that may be.

The other topic of the evening's speculation was who would win the White House in just 18 months.

'Never be too sure' - my motto!

At a similar moment in the run-up to the 2008 election, I wrote my thoughts in a Sky News Blog entitled 'Hillary v Rudy: The Main Event'.... Enter Barack Obama and all bets were off!

While there seems to be a growing number of possible candidates interested in vying for the top spot, my revised list keeps growing.

For the Democrats, those who may even consider challenging the most dominant, and some say pre-ordained, Hillary Clinton include Joe Biden (VP and Fmr Senator DE), Martin O'Malley (Fmr Gov MD), Jim Webb (Fmr Senator VA), Bernie Sanders (Sen VT), Brian Schweitzer, (Fmr Gov Montana) and there is still talk of Elizabeth Warren (Sen MA), Lincoln Chafee (Fmr Gov RI), Andrew Cuomo (Gov NY), Mark Warner (Sen VA) - and the list continues to grow!

For the Republicans at the moment the possible contenders are Jeb Bush (Fmr Gov FL), Chris Christie (Gov NJ), Rand Paul (Sen KY), Marco Rubio (Sen FL), Ted Cruz (Sen TX), Paul Ryan (Rep WI), Ben Carson (surgeon), Rick Perry (Fmr Gov TX), Bobby Jindal (Gov LA), Scott Walker (Gov WI), Mike Huckabee (Fmr Gov AR), John Kasich ( Gov OH), Lindsey Graham (Sen SC), Carly Fiorina (Fmr head of HP), Rick Santorum (Fmr Sen PA), Michael Bloomberg (Fmr Mayor NYC), Donald Trump (businessman) and yes possibly Mitt Romney (Fmr Gov MA and 2012 GOP Presidential Candidate). This list also keeps on growing!

Had enough? Hard to keep track?

Perhaps we should take the advice of former House Speaker and winner of the South Carolina Republican Primary in 2012 with 40% of the votes, Newt Gingrich when faced with the daunting task of seizing up the overwhelming number of potential Republican Nominees for 2016 - don't worry about the numbers, the voters will have no trouble narrowing down the field.

The Democrats will hold their national convention the week of 25 July in Philadelphia, the 'City of Brotherly Love' while the GOP will put their best faces forward the week before in Cleveland.

The long primary process has always been a challenge for both Democrats and Republicans since it gives the extreme elements of both parties far too much influence on the selection of their party's nominee.

As a consequence, Mitt Romney, to appease the real conservative wing of his party, had to go so far to the right he seemed uncomfortable in his own suit during the debates and his opponent Barack Obama skilfully let him know it.

Hillary Clinton, who seems so far out in front will have a similar challenge in the months to come.

Her task will be to ward off left-wing progressives the likes of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders in an effort to prove once again that she is the "champion" for all people, including the down-trodden.

In the final analysis, the most critical questions for all the candidates both Democratic and Republican alike aside from - Am I raising enough obscene amounts of cash from individuals and entities I would otherwise not be caught dead even talking with? - are the following:

1. Am I passionate enough and do I have enough fire in the belly to capture the hearts, minds and imagination of the American people?

2. Are the American people and the potential voter even paying any attention?

3. Am I the person the American people are interested in seeing and hearing from for the next four years?

4. Am I the person the American people are interested in seeing on the world stage representing them and protecting them for the next four years?

5. Do I have any new ideas?

6. Can I not totally screw up and get caught doing so on someone's iPhone?

7. Is what I stand for and what I have to offer relevant to the new crop of voters emerging since Obama's first overwhelming "Yes I Can" victory in 2008?

If you, Dear Presidential Candidate, can answer a rousing YES! to all of the above questions, you might have a crack at becoming the next President of the United States.

That is if you really and truly understand question number seven.

The real story of this next election cycle will be that of a "generational war" and the passing of the torch to the next generation.

Up till now the largest group of America's potential voters has been the infamous and most despised "baby boomers" - I've always hated that term - those born between 1946 and 1964. This has been the largest and richest segment of the voting age population and the audience that most politicians courted - along with the senior citizens of course.

As members of the World War II "greatest generation" are dwindling - like it or not 'Dead Heads' - baby boomers are taking their place as the "new senior set" and their priorities are shifting.

Those of this maturing generation who actually read cumbersome old news papers and get their daily dose of the news on actual "TV sets" have been the target of savvy advertisers who for decades understand this changing phenomenon only too well.

Just think of how cleverly the pharmaceutical industry has targeted the national evening news hour audience and convinced those who still watch TV news just how many diseases they may have or might be getting before the end of the broadcast.

Just this year the "millennial generation" has surpassed the "baby boomers" in pure size.

Although they have not been as reliable a voting block as the seniors or boomers, their involvement in the electoral process was part of the reason that Barack Obama won in 2008.

This generation grew up in tough economic times where a good education was not a guarantee of a good job or a successful future.

They think and live differently from previous generations.

Many do not own or even think about owning cars or TVs.

They are wizards of social media, the good, the bad and the ugly - "It is all relevant when speaking truth to power."

Because of the anaemic and slowly recovering US economy, they are often forced to stay home or return home to live with their parents until they can find a job that would allow them to go it alone.

Millennials are not dumb or slackers. They are extremely bright, entrepreneurial and socially aware.

Like the boomers they feel they have inherited a mess and would like to make some real changes.

This potentially very powerful group of young Americans can in fact have a major impact on this upcoming presidential election cycle.

If they feel that real change is hopeless, they will stay home and the older generations with all their problems will rule the day... That day being 8 November, 2016.

If they feel they have an opportunity to affect real change and put their mark on history, with the right push from the candidates, they can make a difference in their own lives and the country's future.

President Kennedy was fond of saying:

"For in a democracy, every citizen, regardless of his interest in politics, 'hold office'; everyone of us is in a position of responsibility; and, in the final analysis, the kind of government we get depends upon how we fulfil those responsibilities. We, the people, are the boss, and we will get the kind of political leadership, be it good or bad, that we demand and deserve."

A noble thought, indeed. And don't forget to vote, seniors, boomers, Gen Xers and millennials!

Our future depends on it.

Sarah Ann Harris   |   April 28, 2015    9:26 AM ET

As rioting continues in Baltimore, Donald Trump has taken it upon himself to wade into the debate - and the reaction has NOT been good.

The entrepreneur seems to have decided that the violence sweeping through the Maryland city is all down to Barack Obama.

Earlier today he tweeted: “Our great African American President hasn't exactly had a positive impact on the thugs who are so happily and openly destroying Baltimore!”

donald trump

People were quick to tear into the businessman.

Jessica Brennan tweeted: “Donald Trump has lost his mind. How is Obama's race in any way relevant to the #BaltimoreRiots ?! Idiot.”

Paul Boardman said: “Donald Trump with the same dangerous rhetoric and 'reasoning' that characterised America's racist past and divided a nation. Awful comments.”

Nikki Leigh posted: “Donald Trump really doesnt get it. #wedontcare.”

Julie Anne said: “Can someone just sew Donald Trump's mouth shut and revoke all social media so we never have to hear from him again.”

Ian Fortey added: “This is how disgusting, hateful and racist Donald Trump truly is.”

Violence broke out in Baltimore near the funeral of a black man who died in police custody earlier this month.

Freddie Gray suffered a fatal spinal injury while in custody on 19 April.

Rioting quickly spread through the city with hundreds of people looting shops, burning buildings and police cars, as well as throwing bricks and other missiles at officers.

Rioters also smashed windows and cut hoses as fire crews battled blazes.

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A state of emergency has been declared in the city.

Gray’s family has spoken out against the violence, saying it is no way to honour him, according to Sky News.

His twin sister Fredericka said: "I think the violence is wrong.

"I don't like it at all."

Paul Vale   |   April 26, 2015    7:46 PM ET

NEW YORK -- Barack Obama delivered a gag-filled speech at the White House Correspondents' Dinner on Saturday, hitting the audience with a string of zingers at the expense of his political opponents, some of his friends and, of course, the media.

Among the quips at the D.C. showpiece were lines on Obamacare, climate change, Hillary Clinton and the raft of Republican candidates running for the 2016 GOP nomination.

"Just this week Michele Bachmann actually predicted that I would bring about the biblical end of days. Now, that's a legacy," he said. "That's big. I mean, Lincoln, Washington, they didn't do that."

Watch the full speech above...

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Caroline Frost   |   April 23, 2015    2:47 PM ET

Russell Brand had Barack Obama and his Administration in his sights during a Q&A session, following the debut screening of his new film 'The Emperor's New Clothes'.

Watch what Russell has to say about the US president above.

Russell was debuting his new documentary, which he filmed with acclaimed director Michael Winterbottom, and which explores how the brunt of the economic crisis in this country is being borne by the poorer members of society, while bankers continue to collect their bonuses.

russell brand

Russell has a mission, and it's to upset the apple cart

In the film, Russell also doorsteps the Daily Mail's owner Lord Rothermere, visiting his house and asking him to explain his non-domiciled tax status. Watch him in action here...

At the screening, Russell promised the crowd he's not done now he's finished his book and the film, there's more where that came from...





This week, Michael Winterbottom spoke to HuffPostUK about making the film with Russell, and the surprise he got when they went to the City of London to film the bankers that were the subjects of their wrath.

“When we were filming in the banks, even the city workers would come up and ask for a hug,” said Michael. “These were the people we were railing against in the film, but they didn’t seem to mind. Russell has a strange attraction that crosses over these boundaries.”

Click here for the rest of the interview, including why the director thinks Russell is the perfect person to talk about inequality...

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