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Returning from Hawaii. (Photo/WWR)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

President's Schedule: Monday, April 12

Washington, a city that has seen its fair share of spectacles, is witnessing another one over the next two days. It is the Nuclear Security Summit, a gathering of leaders from 47 countries. It's the biggest event hosted by a U.S. President since Harry Truman welcomed leaders to the founding of the United Nations in 1945. It's so big, the White House moved the whole thing to the cavernous Washington Convention Center, and a big chunk of downtown DC is essentially one giant security zone.

President Obama - the Nobel Peace Prize winner - wants to rid the world of nuclear weapons, although he admits this probably won't happen in in his lifetime. But another goal is, he thinks, within reach: keeping nuclear materials from falling into the hands of terrorists.

Speaking with reporters Sunday, Obama said the nightmare scenario of a "loose nuke" falling into the hands of, say, al-Qaeda, is the #1 national security threat to the United States.

"We know that organizations like al Qaeda are in the process of trying to secure a nuclear weapon -- a weapon of mass destruction that they have no compunction at using. There (is) a lot of loose nuclear material around the world," he said, adding if a nuclear weapon ever went off in New York, London or elsewhere, "The ramifications economically, politically, and from a security perspective would be devastating."

But what about actual countries like North Korea, which has successfully tested a nuclear weapon, and Iran, which is believed to be working on one? They're not invited. But their behavior and nuclear programs are likely to be discussed in depth.

“We fear North Korea and Iran because their behavior as -- in the first case, North Korea being -- already having nuclear weapons, and Iran seeking them -- is that they are unpredictable,” said Clinton on ABC's “This Week”.

The summit officially begins today. But Sunday Obama walked across the street from the White House to Blair House, for a series of meetings with leaders from India, Pakistan (both have nuclear weapons of their own), South Africa, Kazakhstan (which have given up nuclear programs) and Nigeria.

Among the leaders Obama will meet one-on-one with today: King Abdullah II of Jordan, Prime Minister Mohammed Najib Abdul Razak of Malaysia, President Viktor Yanukovich of Ukraine, President Serzh Sargsian of Armenia, and President Hu Jintao of China.

In the evening, the President will also welcome each head of delegation to the National Security Summit. Later, he'll host a working dinner for Heads of Delegation in the Washington Convention Center Dining Room.

The Schedule


10:15AM THE PRESIDENT arrives at the Convention Center to attend the Nuclear Security Summit

10:45AM THE PRESIDENT holds a bilateral meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan
Washington Convention Center

11:45AM THE PRESIDENT holds a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Mohammed Najib Abdul Razak of Malaysia
Washington Convention Center

12:55PM THE PRESIDENT holds a bilateral meeting with President Viktor Yanukovich of Ukraine
Washington Convention Center

1:30PM THE PRESIDENT holds a bilateral meeting with President Serzh Sargsian of Armenia
Washington Convention Center

2:30PM THE PRESIDENT holds a bilateral meeting with President Hu Jintao of China
Washington Convention Center

5:00PM THE PRESIDENT welcomes Heads of Delegation to the National Security Summit
Washington Convention Center

6:30PM THE PRESIDENT holds a working dinner with Heads of Delegation
Washington Convention Center Dining Room

Briefing Schedule

1:30 PM Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and Assistant to the President for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security John Brennan Briefing

Washington Convention Center Press File


On This Day
In 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt died. Elected four times, he led America through the Depression and World War II. After his death, the Constitution was changed so future Presidents could serve just two consecutive terms.

Presidential Quote:
"I am neither bitter nor cynical but I do wish there was less immaturity in political thinking." - FDR


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