Barack Obama | KUOW News and Information

Barack Obama

More than a week after record-breaking rain inundated 20 parishes in southeastern Louisiana, President Obama arrived Tuesday to survey the damage.

The president toured a neighborhood in East Baton Rouge Parish ravaged in the widespread flooding that has claimed more than a dozen lives and damaged some 60,000 homes. Afterward, he thanked first responders, the National Guard and "all the good neighbors" who rescued people as the water rose.

President Obama dismissed GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump's comment this week that the election may be "rigged" this year.

President Obama has commuted the sentences of 214 federal inmates — "almost all" of whom were serving sentences for nonviolent crimes. According to the White House, it's the "most grants in a single day since at least 1900."

President Obama reiterated that he believes Donald Trump is "unfit" to be president, issuing a sharp rebuke of the Republican nominee from the White House East Room on Tuesday.

"Yes, I think the Republican nominee is unfit to serve as president," Obama said in response to a question from a reporter during a news conference with Lee Hsien Loong, the prime minister of Singapore. "I said so last week, and he keeps on proving it."

In an open letter to the nation's law enforcement officers, President Obama mourns the recent killings of officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, La., thanks officers for their service in the face of danger and calls for national unity.

The letter, dated Monday, is addressed to "the brave members of our Nation's law enforcement community." In it, Obama says he met with the families of the officers killed in Dallas, and called and spoke with the families of those killed in Baton Rouge.

"Each fallen officer is one too many," the president writes.

Flanked by his secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, President Obama announced that he was once again slowing the withdrawal of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

By the time President Obama leaves office, 8,400 American troops will remain in the country. Obama said this was "the right thing to do."

"It is in our national security interest ... that we give our Afghan partners the very best opportunity to succeed," Obama said.

No president has campaigned strongly for his chosen successor in at least 100 years.

Tuesday's event, with President Obama campaigning for Hillary Clinton, his former secretary of state and onetime rival, in North Carolina is remarkable for that reason. It kicks off what is likely to be a season of vigorous campaigning by the president.

President Obama spoke with NPR's Steve Inskeep.

Steve Inskeep: You've been told, I think, that we are doing a documentary. We went across a good part of the country to places where you have given speeches over the years to just talk with people about how their lives have changed.

Donald Trump may have clinched the GOP nomination and commands attention with his unorthodox presidential campaign, but President Obama says Trump's record low favorability ratings show he hasn't won over the hearts and minds of the country just yet.

"If there was ever a moment for all of us to reflect and reaffirm our most basic beliefs that everybody counts and everybody has dignity, now's the time," President Obama said in remarks during a visit to Orlando, Fla., to express his support for the victims of Sunday's deadly attack and their families.

As NPR's Scott Horsley tells our Newscast unit, "The president hopes his presence in Orlando will provide some support to the families of the 49 people who died in Sunday's massacre, as well as the dozens of people who are still recovering from the wounds they suffered."

President Obama came into office with a dream of a world without nuclear weapons, and he's sure to touch on this theme Friday when he becomes the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima, site of the world's first atomic bombing.

Yet Obama also has put the U.S. on course to spend around $1 trillion on upgrading its nuclear arsenal over the next three decades, critics say.

Everything about nuclear weapons is extreme: the implications of their use, the costs involved, and the strategic and political paradoxes they create.

President Obama will visit Hiroshima later this month, while he's in Japan for the G-7 summit, the White House has confirmed.

The trip will mark the first visit by a U.S. president to the site since American forces dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II.

"I will not rest, and I'm going to make sure that the leaders at every level of government don't rest until every drop of water that flows to your homes is safe to drink, and safe to cook with, and safe to bathe in," President Obama told an energetic audience in Flint, Mich. "Because that's part of the basic responsibilities of a government in the United States of America."

Any doubt that Senate Republicans would hold the line behind their leader's decision to block President Obama's Supreme Court nominee has been erased.

"I can now confidently say the view shared by virtually everybody in my conference, is that the nomination should be made by the president the people elect in the election that's underway right now," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters.

President Obama said Tuesday that despite Republican vows to block him, he will nominate a successor to Justice Antonin Scalia, who died suddenly on Saturday.

Obama spoke during a news conference after a summit with leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Rancho Mirage, Calif., but the first questions from reporters were about filling the empty Supreme Court seat.

The U.S. economy added just 151,000 jobs in January while unemployment dropped slightly, to 4.9 percent, according to the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Economists had expected to see about 190,000 new jobs.

The unemployment rate, which has held steady at 5 percent the past few months, dropped slightly to 4.9 percent. It's the first time unemployment has fallen below 5 percent since the recession.

President Obama delivered remarks at a mosque in Baltimore on Wednesday afternoon, in the first visit to an American mosque he's made during his presidency.

His visit, which also included a roundtable with Muslim community members, ws intended to "reaffirm the importance of religious freedom" to life in America, the White House says.

He opened by thanking Muslim-Americans for their service to their communities, before declaring the importance of religious tolerance in America.

Following the militant occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, the Obama administration is weighing whether to move forward with a huge land conservation proposal in an Oregon county that has drawn strong local opposition.

A decision by President Barack Obama to protect up to 2.5 million acres surrounding the remote Owyhee Canyonlands could help cement his legacy for protecting the country’s wild lands.

When President Obama first took the oath of office seven years ago this month, the U.S. economy was so battered that many economists were pondering the possibility of another Great Depression.

The fears were real: Employers were cutting 796,000 jobs; the auto industry was facing bankruptcy; private foreclosures and public debts were soaring.

President Barack Obama announced Tuesday that he's taking executive action in an attempt to reduce gun violence. But his actions will mean few immediate changes for many gun buyers in the Northwest.

In this Dec. 9, 2015, photo, a sales associate walks past semiautomatic rifles at Bullseye Sport gun shop in Riverside, Calif.
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Bill Radke talks to Senator Patty Murray about President Obama's proposed executive actions on gun control, including tighter rules on background checks.

In this Jan. 26, 2015, file photo, Scott Smith, a supporter of open carry gun laws, wears a pistol as he prepares for a rally in support of open carry gun laws at the Capitol, in Austin, Texas.
AP Photo/Eric Gay, File

Bill Radke speaks with Joanna Paul, of the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, and Dave Workman with the Second Amendment Foundation, about their reaction to President Obama's executive action on gun control. 

Saying that America faces a "gun violence epidemic," President Obama is taking "a series of common-sense executive actions" to reduce gun violence Tuesday, the White House says. First among the measures: tighter rules on background checks for gun buyers.

President Obama is announcing a series of executive actions intended to combat gun violence, including a regulatory change designed to make it harder for gun buyers to avoid background checks. Obama plans to detail the moves on Tuesday with a statement in the White House East Room.

They chat, they joke, they drive a classic 1963 Corvette. When President Obama appears on Jerry Seinfeld's online show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, their conversation topics range from nothing to the sanity of world leaders and the merits of profanity.

Much of the talk also centers on what it's like for a guy to live in the Oval Office, the White House and a position of extreme power. A recurring theme: how a regular person adjusts to both the privilege and the stress that come with the presidency.

Submitting to interviews is usually a big part of the presidential job description. Conducting interviews, on the other hand, falls pretty far down on the list.

In a wide-ranging interview with NPR's Steve Inskeep, President Obama had some advice for college protesters across the country.

President Obama wrapped up 2015 by taking another round of questions from the press.

At the traditional end-of-year news conference Friday afternoon, Obama began with a list of achievements, including the legalization of same-sex marriage across America and progress made toward addressing global climate change.

The Obama administration has announced some changes to the visa waiver program, which allows travelers from some 38 countries including France, Belgium and other European countries, to come to the U.S. without a visa.

The White House announced several steps, including attempting better tracking of past travel, fines for airlines that don't verify passport data, assisting other countries on the screening of refugees and with border security.

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