WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama nominated New Hampshire Republican Sen. Judd Gregg to head the Commerce Department Tuesday.
If confirmed, Gregg will be the third Republican to join Obama's cabinet, following Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
Obama first nominated New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson to be commerce secretary. But Richardson withdrew in early January, citing the distraction of a federal investigation into ties to a company that has done business with his state.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Arriving at the Justice Department to a thunderous round of applause, former federal prosecutor and Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder was sworn in Tuesday as America's top law enforcement officer.
Holder, 58, officially seized the reins of a department battered and demoralized by a series of controversies during the Bush administration, from questions about how it laid the legal groundwork for harsh interrogations of suspected terrorists to the sackings of top federal prosecutors in several cities.
He is the nation's first African-American attorney general confirmed to the post.
Watch: Holder sworn in as AG
"It's a new day," Holder said to hundreds of enthusiastic political and career employees lining the hallways and staircases to greet their once and future boss. "It's great to be back."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Nancy Killefer withdrew her nomination Tuesday to become chief performance officer, a new post in President Barack Obama's administration, a White House spokesman told CNN.
Officials said privately the reason for the withdrawal was unspecified tax issues.
The withdrawal is an embarrassment to the White House, as the much-touted post was aimed at scrubbing the federal budget.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Obama plans to nominate Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth to a communications post at the Department of Veterans Affairs, the White House announced Tuesday.
“Effective communications with Veterans and VA’s stakeholders is key to improving our services and ensuring Veterans receive the benefits they deserve,” said VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said in a statement released by the White House “Tammy Duckworth brings significant talent, leadership and personal experience to this important work,” added Shinseki.
Duckworth will be named the Assistant Secretary of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs for the VA. She will be responsible for public affairs, internal communications and intergovernmental relations, and will oversee programs for homeless veterans, consumer affairs and special rehabilitative events.
Duckworth lost both legs and partial use of one arm when a helicopter she was piloting was attacked by a rocket propelled grenade in Iraq. At the time, Duckworth was a major in the Illinois National Guard in Iraq.
She is currently the director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs. In 2006, Duckworth mounted an unsuccessful bid to represent the state’s 6th District in the House of Representatives.
LONDON, England (CNN) - A student protester, who hurled a shoe at Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao as he was giving a speech at Cambridge University, has been charged with a "public order offense" and has a court date, police said Tuesday.
According to a university spokesman and a student newspaper reporter who witnessed the incident, the student tossed the shoe in the general direction of
Wen and shouted, "Why are you prostituting yourself? How can you listen to the
lies he is telling?"
The shoe was thrown toward the end of the speech and missed hitting the Chinese premier, according to eyewitness accounts.
Cameras filming the speech remained fixed on Wen during the incident, but video images later showed an unidentified student being escorted out of the building by a university proctor.
The student was then handed over to police, a university spokesman, who would not disclose his name due to "university regulations," told CNN.
"Fortunately, the incident did not spoil the event. The auditorium was full, with nearly 500 people present, of whom just one misbehaved," the spokesman said. "At no stage was there any serious threat to the premier or anyone else."
(CNN) – Did Barack Obama take a dig at pop star Jessica Simpson?
A transcription error set the Internet abuzz Monday as viewers debated an off-hand presidential comment about the pop star.
The remark came at the end of the President Obama's interview with NBC Sunday, when interviewer Matt Lauer held up a copy of the latest US Magazine, which features first lady Michelle Obama along with daughters Sasha and Malia. On the left side of the cover was a picture of Simpson, whom the magazine said is in a "weight battle."
Lauer noted the magazine had replaced the president's spot in the family photo with the Simpson headline.
“You got replaced by Jessica Simpson,” Lauer said.
(CNN) - Embattled former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was released from jail early Tuesday.
Kilpatrick, his beard overgrown and bushy, was escorted out of Michigan's Wayne County jail, dodged a crowd of reporters before getting into a car and being driven away, according to television footage from CNN affiliate WXYZ.
Kilpatrick spent 100 days in jail as part of a plea agreement connected to a sex scandal that rocked Detroit and caused the city council and governor of Michigan to push to impeach him.
Kilpatrick also agreed not to run for public office during his five years of probation.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Bucking tradition, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will bypass Europe and travel to Asia on her maiden voyage overseas, diplomats familiar with the planning said Tuesday.
Clinton is expected to visit China, Japan and South Korea on her first trip overseas. The diplomats said she may also add other stops, including one in Southeast Asia.
The diplomats spoke on condition of anonymity because Clinton's schedule was still being finalized. The State Department has not commented on her travel plans.
Making Asia Clinton's first overseas destination illustrates the Obama administration's desire for a broader partnership with China and its commitment to resolving the North Korean nuclear issue, as well as strengthening ties with Tokyo and Seoul, the diplomats said.
The White House said President Barack Obama told Chinese President Hu Jintao in a Friday phone call that he looked forward to "to early contacts and exchanges between senior officials of our two countries."
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - The stimulus plan before the Senate would increase the deficit over 10 years by $885 billion, according to a new analysis released on Monday by the Congressional Budget Office.
WASHINGTON (CNN)– A group of Republican senators drafted an alternative stimulus measure that narrows government spending to infrastructure programs and helping unemployed Americans, addresses the housing crisis and relies mostly on tax cuts.
Gates to brief Obama on shifting troops to Afghanistan
(CNN)– Defense Secretary Robert Gates will brief President Obama on Monday afternoon about specific plans for adding 15,000 troops to Afghanistan.
(CNN)–Two senior administration officials say Judd Gregg has accepted an offer to be Commerce Secretary. An announcement will be made Tuesday morning at the White House.