Talking up the economy, visiting the Secret Service

Good morning from The Oval. On this day in 1789, George Washington took the oath of office as the nation's first president.Today, the 44th president talks about the economy and pays tribute to the Secret Service.

In the morning, President Obama makes a statement at the White House about first-quarter economic growth numbers. In the afternoon, Obama travels to the Maryland suburbs to visit the Secret Service training facility.

The president seeks "the opportunity to thank some of the men and women who have worked so hard and made so many sacrifices to protect him and his family," says the White House schedule.

Obama also has a busy in-box. Among the items:

The Gulf of Mexico oil slick is spreading to the coasts of five states, report Rick Jervis and Brian Winter of USA TODAY.

Obama -- seeking to avoid the kinds of attacks that dogged George W. Bush after Hurricane Katrina -- is stepping up the administration's response to the environmental disaster.

The Justice Department has reportedly opened a criminal investigation into Goldman Sachs transactions.

The first lawsuits have been filed against the Arizona immigration law; USA TODAY's Kevin Johnson and Joan Biskupic look at the legal aspects of the debate. Obama eulogized civil rights leader Dorothy Height yesterday, writes USA TODAY's Mimi Hall.

The White House is enjoying the Republican turmoil in Florida, as Gov. Charlie Crist leaves the party to run for the Senate as an independent, reports John Fritze of USA TODAY. A new poll shows that most Americans want a judge for the Supreme Court, not a politician.

And it's a celebrity kind of weekend in Washington, as the town prepares for the White House Correspondents' Dinner on Saturday. Talk-show host Jay Leno and President Obama will both try their hand at political humor.

There's no fooling around here at The Oval, just straight reporting on presidential activities. Have a good day, a good weekend, and be careful out there.

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