In today’s news we provide links to the White House social secretary’s departure, health care and the stock market.
White House social secretary Rogers leaving: aide
Rogers is personally close to first lady Michelle Obama and is part of a group of Chicagoans who came to Washington with President Barack Obama.
The official had no further details on Rogers’ departure.
Race to Pin Blame For Health Costs
A battle over who to blame for rising health-care costs is escalating, as groups seek to pin the problem on each other and say none of the health-care legislation under consideration does enough to solve it.
U.S. spending on health care reached $2.5 trillion in 2009, according to federal estimates. It is expected to jump to $4.5 trillion in 10 years.
Obama Shows Testy Side at Health Care Summit
Of all the hats President Obama tried on at Thursday’s seven-and-a-half-hour health care summit, it appeared the one he was most comfortable wearing was that of the prickly professor.
In between playing the roles of moderator and deal-maker, the president took several opportunities to dress down his classroom of Republican critics. Through a series of awkward clashes between him and the Republicans, the summit may have served more to portray Republicans as intransigents intent on stonewalling a bill no matter what, than it served to pave the way for a compromise.
US STOCK MARKET
US HOT STOCKS: CKE Restaurants, AIG, Gap, Athenahealth, DTS
U.S. stocks rose Friday, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 10 points to 10331, the Standard & Poor’s 500 rose 1.5 points to 1104 and the Nasdaq Composite Index increased 3.3 points to 2237. Among the companies whose shares are actively trading are CKE Restaurants Inc. (CKR), American International Group Inc. (AIG) and Gap Inc. (GPS).
Private-equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners has agreed to take private CKE Restaurants (CKR, $11.13, +$2.22, +24.92%) for about $619 million, but the company will have six weeks to find a higher offer. The deal comes as the parent of the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s fast-food chains has struggled, especially with Carl’s Jr. In the four weeks ended Jan. 25, same-store sales at Carl’s Jr. slid 9%. CKE has been averse to the deep discounting that some rivals have been doing to prevent sales declines. Rival restaurant owners Jack in the Box Inc. (JACK, $21.13, +$0.80, +3.94%) and Sonic Corp. (SONC, $8.49, +$0.15, +1.80%) also rose.