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President Obama on "The Late Late Show with James Corden" on May 17. Photo: Terence Patrick/CBS via Getty Images

Former President Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama name two new top staffers for their personal office:

Driving the news: Hannah Hankins, President Obama's new communications director, served for 5+ years in the Obama White House Communications Department, including as communications director and senior policy adviser for the Domestic Policy Council.

  • After the administration, she helped with Michelle Obama’s "Becoming" book tour, was deputy chief of staff for Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and was communications director for Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff during the campaign and transition. 

Crystal Carson, Mrs. Obama's communications director, was a managing director at Michelle Obama’s When We All Vote Initiative, and worked as a media consultant for President Obama’s personal office.

  • She has also worked for the Obama Foundation, on rapid response for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, and as chief of staff for the communications director in the Obama White House.  

Eric Schultz continues his consultant role (via The Schultz Group) as outside senior advisor.

What's next: President Obama plans to remain in the public eye ahead of the Obama Presidential Center groundbreaking later this year on the South Side of Chicago.

  • Tonight at 8 p.m. ET, President Obama joins a one-our CNN primetime special on fatherhood with Anderson Cooper.
  • Look for new releases soon from the Obamas' Higher Ground Productions.
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Go deeper

Trump hints at 2024 White House run during 9/11 visit

Former President Donald Trump. Photo: Andy Jacobsohn /AFP via Getty Images

Former President Donald Trump said Saturday that it's an "easy question" whether he'll run for office in 2024 while talking to firefighters and police officers in New York City on the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

The big picture: Trump skipped the day's official events in lieu of his campaign-style appearance with first responders. He is also scheduled to provide commentary for a pay-per-view boxing match Saturday night in Florida.

Updated Sep 11, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden attends wreath-laying ceremony at Pentagon

President Biden, first lady Jill Biden, Vice President Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff attend a wreath-laying ceremony at the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial on Sept. 11 in Arlington, Virginia. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

President Biden participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Pentagon on Saturday to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

The latest: Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrived at the Pentagon after visiting the Flight 93 memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and Ground Zero in New York City.

Sep 12, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden's empty embassies

Expand chart
Center for Presidential Transition via Congress.gov, historical data provided by the Partnership for Public Service; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

The Senate has confirmed just two of President Biden's ambassadorial nominations, far behind the 56 confirmed envoys President Obama had at this stage, according to data compiled by the Partnership for Public Service.

The big picture: Just one in four other national security positions at the Pentagon and Departments of Justice and State are filled.

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