JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — President Obama on Friday reiterated his commitment to reviewing the American operation that killed two civilian hostages to prevent the future loss of innocent lives.

“We are going to review what happened. We are going to identity the lessons that can be learned and any improvements and changes that can be made,” the president told employees at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. “I know those of you who are here share our determination to continue doing everything we can to prevent the loss of innocent lives.”

Pausing for reflection, the president spoke briefly about the difficulty of these moments.

“I was asked by somebody how do you absorb news like that that we received the other day and I told the truth, ‘it’s hard,’” he said. “But the one thing I wanted everybody to know, because I know you, because I work with you, because I know the quality of this team, is that we all bleed when we lose an American life. We all grieve when any innocent life is taken.”

“We understand the solemn responsibilities that are given to us and our first job is to make sure that we protect the American people,” he continued. “But there is not a person that I talk to that’s involved in the intelligence community that also doesn’t understand that we have to do so while upholding our values and our ideals and our laws and our constitutions and our commitment to democracy.”

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Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) — President Obama went straight into the progressive lions’ den Thursday to sell the Pacific trade deal he’s trying to pass: his old campaign organization-turned-advocacy-group, Organizing for Action.

His goal was clear: convince the audience at the spring meeting that this is the best possible trade negotiation, with stringent labor and environment requirements built in.

Boiled down: it isn’t the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“I’ve been listening to this debate, I’ve got some good friends who are opposed to this trade agreement but when I ask specifically what you oppose, they start talking about NAFTA,” he said. “And I’m thinking, well I had just come out of law school when NAFTA was passed! That’s not the trade agreement I’m passing!”

Labor unions and other progressives remain opposed to the Bill Clinton-brokered North American Free Trade Agreement because they say it stole U.S. jobs, furthered income inequality and widened the trade deficit with Mexico and Canada.

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Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson(WASHINGTON) — No president wants to be known as a big joke — except on the night of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

Each spring, the commander-in-chief sets aside his usual gravitas to tickle the funny bones of the White House press corps and their celebrity guests.

Obama is no stranger to the lighter side of the job. He’s busted out his comedy chops time and again, including on BuzzFeed and Zach Galifianakis’ “Between Two Ferns.”

Saturday will mark his sixth correspondents’ dinner, or “nerd prom” as it’s affectionately called in Washington.

From cracks about his birth certificate to jabs at his veep, check out the video below for a roundup of some of the president’s best White House Correspondents’ Dinner jokes to date:

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Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson(WASHINGTON) — No president wants to be known as a big joke — except on the night of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

Each spring, the commander-in-chief sets aside his usual gravitas to tickle the funny bones of the White House press corps and their celebrity guests.

Obama is no stranger to the lighter side of the job. He’s busted out his comedy chops time and again, including on BuzzFeed and Zach Galifianakis’ “Between Two Ferns.”

Saturday will mark his sixth correspondents’ dinner, or “nerd prom” as it’s affectionately called in Washington.

From cracks about his birth certificate to jabs at his veep, check out the video below for a roundup of some of the president’s best White House Correspondents’ Dinner jokes to date:

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ABC/IDA MAE ASTUTE(SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.) — Likely presidential candidate Rick Santorum and some of his top — and most deep-pocketed — supporters gathered in Scottsdale, Arizona Thursday for a luncheon and golf outing.

An aide to Santorum tells ABC News, “Over 25 major Republican and conservative donors from nearly a dozen states were in attendance, where they heard from Santorum, senior political advisors to the Senator, and Friess regarding the status of a potential 2016 run.”

The source added that political updates, strategy and finance were among the topics discussed at Thursday’s luncheon.

Following the luncheon, participants took part in a golf outing with Santorum and Friess.

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David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Skip Allen was new to being a White House usher for President Ronald Reagan when it fell to him to deliver a top-secret document to the commander in chief in the private residence.

While the document was designated “for the President’s eyes only,” Allen would end up seeing more than he bargained for that day in 1981: a naked president.

“I took it up, and I’m looking for him, and the steward comes out and says, ‘He’s in there.’ So I went over and knocked on the door and he said, ‘Come in,’” Allen recalled Reagan saying in an interview with ABC News’ Jonathan Karl. “And there he was getting out of the shower. And he was just having a sheet of water on. That’s all they had.”

Allen shifted his gaze from the nude Reagan as he extended the document toward the president.

“He dried his hands off and he said, ‘Oh, yeah, I’m working through that,’” Allen remembers, Reagan seemingly unfazed by the encounter.

That wouldn’t be the last time Allen would see the president without his clothes on. Later that same day, Allen had another top secret delivery to bring the president. It was nighttime and the president was in his bedroom. First lady Nancy Reagan, who was already in bed, gave Allen permission to enter the room after knocking.

“So, I walked into the bedroom, and the president’s just coming out of his dressing room in his underwear,” Allen said. “And Mrs. Reagan said, ‘Oh, Ronnie, you could put on a robe anyway.’ And he looked at her and said, ‘Oh, it’s alright. He’s already seen me naked once today. We’re old friends.'”

Allen remembers a much less friendly rapport with the Clintons, calling their transition to the White House the most difficult of his time as usher from 1979 to 2004.

“They were a little on the indecisive side as to what they wanted and how they wanted it, and they had to switch around a couple of times before they got things the way they liked it,” Allen said.

He recalled one particular story, when then-first lady Hillary Clinton called to ask that the kitchen stop preparing a particular chicken dish that they were being served. After having the chicken removed from the menu, Allen got another call a couple weeks later. This one was from the president himself.

“‘What ever happened to the chicken dish that was on the menu? We want it back again,'” Allen recalls President Bill Clinton telling him. “So I had to call the chef and tell him that the chicken was back being served on the second floor.”

Allen declined to provide any details on any tensions in the Clintons’ private quarters during the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

“They have their public face and their private face, and when we were around, it was the public face. And what they did when we were gone, I don’t know,” he said.

Allen’s stories, and those of many other White House residence staff, are revealed in detail in a new book, The Residence, by author Kate Andersen Brower.

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(NEW YORK) — Florida Senator Marco Rubio has moved to the front of the very crowded field of candidates and potential contenders for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.

That’s according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll, which showed that Rubio has 15 percent support of likely Republican voters.

While that’s hardly a ringing endorsement, it does show that the Florida lawmaker, whose parents were born in Cuba, is regarded as a viable candidate for the White House.

One of Rubio’s political mentors, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, received 13 percent of support followed by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who had 12 percent.

Those declared and undeclared candidates in single digits include Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is the runaway favorite, who also easily bested all potential GOP opponents in head-to-head match-ups. However, Clinton was only ahead of Rubio by 45 percent to 43 percent, another sign that he’s force to be reckoned with in 2016.

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Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — President Obama welcomed the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots to the White House on Thursday, but didn’t miss the chance for a bit of a punchline.

“I usually tell a bunch of jokes at these events,” Obama said Thursday, “but with the Patriots in town I was worried that 11 out of 12 of them would fall flat.” The joke was a reference to the controversial “Deflate-gate” scandal in which the Patriots were accused of deflating footballs during the playoffs.

Obama, a Chicago sports fan, congratulated the Patriots for “their leadership on and off the field.”

“I just wish the city of Boston would share some of those titles you keep winning with Chicago,” he remarked. Boston sports teams have won nine championships since 2002.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady did not attend Thursday’s event.

In February, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest joked that while it had long been clear that he was no threat to Brady’s job, the star quarterback’s handling of the scandal proved “there’s no risk of [Brady] taking my job either.”

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AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The man who tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan in 1981 appeared Thursday in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., for the second day of oral arguments on allowing him more freedom.

John Hinckley Jr. has been at least temporarily committed to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington for insanity after he attempted to assassinate Reagan outside the Washington Hilton Hotel in 1981. And now those clinicians in charge of his care there are recommending he be allowed to live outside a mental hospital full-time.

For the past two years, Hinckley has spent 17 days of each month at his mother’s home in Williamsburg, Virginia, and his remaining time at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, the result of a gradual increase in time granted outside of the hospital.

It’s the hospital’s recommendation that Hinckley make the full out-patient transition. The government isn’t contesting that, but wants added proposed conditions to the hospital’s requested changes regarding Hinckley’s freedom, which the hospital says are unnecessarily restrictive.

Specific points of contention include rules about Hinckley’s Internet use and accessibility. As it stands now, he may only access some websites. St. Elizabeth forensic clinician administrator Vern Hyde, who was speaking on behalf of the hospital and has treated Hinckley for about nine years, said the website restrictions had impeded Hinckley’s freedom.

For example, it has frustrated his job search because many opportunities in Williamsburg require applicants to apply online, Hyde said, adding that the hospital would have the ability to monitor his online activity and would utilize its power to do so.

Another key point at issue with the government recommendations is that Hinckley’s sole residence be with his mother. Hyde said it would stop Hinckley from forging an independent life. To the notion that should he be caught in a situation where he is marooned in Washington after seeking treatment and unable to make it back to Williamsburg, he should stay at St. Elizabeth’s, Hyde said, “[The hospital] is not a hotel. We don’t have the bed space.”

Hinckley has two volunteer jobs in Williamsburg. He has taken up photography and has joined a social support group for members of the mentally ill community in hopes of making friends. Hyde said Hinckley has successfully made two friends in Williamsburg through the therapeutic group. But certain provisions to his part-time release, like the approval process for outings he is required to get, have hindered his ability to cultivate these relationships, Hyde argued.

But the government said it was concerned by two examples of Hinckley’s existing pre-approved plan changing without notifying his medical supervision team, and provided the basis for their argument to keep the approval network in place.

In one instance, Hinckley had plans with a friend to visit another friend who then became ill, so the two went to a different friend’s house. Hinckley didn’t inform Hyde of the change until the next day – which, contrary to the government’s assessment, Hyde told the court was not a deceitful action, nor was it one to cause any real concern.

The second was a visit to a Barnes & Noble bookstore where Hinckley allegedly stood before a section with, among other books, some on presidential assassination and Ronald Reagan.

At a different point during the proceeding, Hyde noted that Hinckley expressed remorse at the passing of Reagan and his former White House Press Secretary James Brady, whom sustained multiple gunshot wounds at Hinckley’s hand.

Hyde made special mention of the glowing feedback all those involved in Hinckley’s care have said of him, particularly in his personal growth as a caring individual.

The court will resume Friday, hearing arguments from the clinicians who will be in charge of Hinckley’s day-to-day mental care should the court decide to allow him to live outside a mental hospital full-time.

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Mark Cornelison/Lexington Herald-Leader/MCT via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The Secret Service, which has been the target of many pointed questions in recent years, took more than a year to replace an alarm system at the home of former president George H.W. Bush, a report from the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General, released Thursday, said.

The alarms in question were inoperable for at least 13 months, the OIG said in the report. During that period, Secret Service protective detail created a roving post to secure Bush’s home, and no security breaches occurred. Still, the OIG says that it uncovered “problems with identifying, reporting, and tracking alarm system malfunctions, and with repairing and replacing alarm systems.”

Inspector General John Roth said in a press release that the Secret Service “will take action to address both recommendations in our report, aimed at correcting the overall process for tracking maintenance problems and also improving any specific security equipment that is currently in disrepair or in need of improvement.”

The recommendations made in the report included the evaluation of security equipment at all protectees’ personal residence and improve, repair or replace the equipment, and additionally evaluate the process by which tracking maintenance requests is handled.

Bush tweeted about the report on Thursday, saying that he has and always has had confidence in the Secret Service.

Barbara and I have great respect for, and confidence in, the men and women of @SecretService. That respect and confidence has never waned.

— George Bush (@GeorgeHWBush) April 23, 2015

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