Jewel Samad /AFP/Getty Images
President Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel during the official arrival ceremony for the German leader at the White House this morning (June 7, 2011).
President Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel during the official arrival ceremony for the German leader at the White House this morning (June 7, 2011). Jewel Samad /AFP/Getty Images
President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are holding a joint news conference this hour at the White House.
Merkel will be awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom today and is to be honored with a State Dinner at the White House this evening. Earlier today, she and the president "hailed the relationship between their nations as the cornerstone of efforts to promote peace and prosperity around the world," The Associated Press writes.
We'll be updating this post as they speak and take questions. Click your "refresh" button to be sure you're seeing our latest additions.
Update at 12:20 p.m. ET. At The End, A Question About Visiting Berlin:
The last question came from a German reporter who basically wanted to know when the president would visit Berlin again.
"The last time I was there we had a lot of fun," Obama said with a smile, as he referred to the much-publicized speech he gave there during the 2008 presidential campaign. "I'm sure I'll have a wonderful time" during a future visit.
Update at 12:06 p.m. ET. Obama Says Germany Is Aiding Effort In Libya By Increasing Its Effort In Afghanistan:
Should Germany be assisting in the military campaign in Libya, President Obama is asked? His response: by recently agreeing to increase its presence in Afghanistan, Germany has "freed up resources for us to be able to conduct our operations in Libya."
Update at 12:02 p.m. ET. On Honoring Merkel:
Asked by a German reporter about the medal he will be giving to Merkel and whether it's for her past work or in the hopes of future cooperation between the U.S. and Germany, Obama says it is "a recognition of the chancellors remarkable career."
And, he notes, "she represents the unification of Europe through her own life story" as someone who grew up in the former East Germany.
Update at 11:54 a.m. ET. Obama Says He's Not Worried About A "Double-Dip" Recession:
Asked about whether he thinks the economy is slipping into recession again, the president says "I'm not concerned about a double-dip recession." He is, though, concerned about "a recovery [that] is not producing jobs as quickly as I want it to happen."
He's going to be working with Congress on policies to get job growth moving again, the president says — while still "getting a hold on our deficit."
Update at 11:50 a.m. ET. Merkel Thanks America:
Merkel (according to the White House interpreter), opens by running through the many ties between the U.S. and Germany.
And, she notes, "without the United States of America I would probably not be able to stand here today." It was U.S. support after the war and U.S. efforts throughout the Cold War that helped her country remain free and eventually reunite with its eastern half, Merkel says. She grew up in the former East Germany.
Update at 11:45 a.m. ET. Libya:
Turning to the military campaign in Libya, the president says "the chancellor and I have been clear: [Moammar] Gadhafi must step down and power to the Libyan people."
Update at 11:40 a.m. ET: President Obama begins his remarks by talking about U.S.-German relations. He cites Germany's contribution to the military and development efforts in Afghanistan, and thanks the chancellor for her nation's "strong commitment to that vital mission."