President Obama's opening remarks at this evening's prime-time press conference, as released by the White House:
Good evening. Before I take your questions tonight, I’d like to speak briefly about the state of our economy and why I believe we need to put this recovery plan in motion as soon as possible.
I took a trip to Elkhart, Indiana today. Elkhart is a place that has lost jobs faster than anywhere else in America. In one year, the unemployment rate went from 4.7% to 15.3%. Companies that have sustained this community for years are shedding jobs at an alarming speed, and the people who’ve lost them have no idea what to do or who to turn to.
They can’t pay their bills and they’ve stopped spending money. And because they’ve stopped spending money, more businesses have been forced to lay off more workers. Local TV stations have started running public service announcements that tell people where to find food banks, even as the food banks don’t have enough to meet the demand.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama used his first prime-time news conference to push Congress to approve his administration's economic stimulus plan, saying only the federal government can break the "vicious cycle" now gripping the U.S. economy.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - When Robert Gibbs was getting ready to face the White House press corps for his first official briefing, his colleagues spent a couple of weeks during the presidential transition putting him through a boot camp of sorts.
Gibbs recalled that there were "at least eight" mock briefings where fellow Obama aides - as well as former Clinton White House press secretaries like Joe Lockhart - pretended to be reporters firing questions at him so he would be ready.
A sign of a White House that leaves little to chance, but Gibbs said Monday that President Obama actually did very little preparation to get ready for his first prime-time news conference in the East Room.
(CNN) - As his stimulus package faced a major Senate test, President Obama traveled to the heartland to sell the plan to ordinary Americans. In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily, White House Correspondent Dan Lothian has the story from Elkhart, Indiana.
Who stands to benefit most from the stimulus if it passes? Wolf Blitzer talks with Lawrence Summers, Director of the White House Economic Council, about the potential impact of the president’s plan.
Plus: President Bush may be gone, but a key congressional Democrat hasn’t forgotten: the committee chairman is calling for an investigation of the Bush Justice Department. CNN’s Elaine Quijano has the latest.
Also: Israelis are looking for their own Obama. Just a day before Israel heads to the polls to pick their next prime minister, CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider gauges the nation’s pre-election mood.
Finally: A big Capitol Hill win for President Obama just before his first White House press conference. CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash reports.
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(CNN) - MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman, is leaving open the possibility of running for outgoing Florida Sen. Mel Martinez's seat in 2010.
The host of "Morning Joe" told the Sarasota Herald Tribune he's been fielding calls from several Florida Republicans urging him to run. "I haven't closed it off," he told the paper in an article published Monday. "I've been getting some calls from some fundraisers in Florida."
But Scarborough added he may have more influence now as a cable talk-show host than as Florida's junior senator.
Still, the race may be among the most high-profile and hard-fought Senate battles in 2010. Since former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush announced earlier this month he was not interested in running for the seat, state Republicans have been looking to field another high-profile candidate. Democrats are also scrambling to find a well-known candidate after Alex Sink, the state’s chief financial officer, said she would not run.
But Scarborough, who served as a congressman for six years in one of Florida's most conservative districts, angered many in his party during the 2008 election for not appearing to support the GOP more enthusiastically.
"I have been bashing my party more than the Democratic Party because I want to make sure that I am fair and down the middle," Scarborough said last year.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama has ordered an interagency review of the government's cyber-security efforts, the White House announced Monday.
The 60-day effort, which will focus on boosting coordination with Congress and the private sector, will be headed by Melissa Hathaway, who has been Cyber-coordination Executive to the Director of National Intelligence.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - The amended economic recovery bill that the Senate is expected to pass on Tuesday would increase the deficit by $838 billion over 10 years, the Congressional Budget Office estimated on Monday.
That is less than the $885 billion the CBO estimated the original Senate bill would cost last week. But it's still larger than the roughly $820 billion stimulus bill passed by the House two weeks ago.
Republicans and some Democrats criticized the size of the original Senate package.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., led a small, bipartisan group of senators last week to reduce the price tag by roughly $100 billion.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Obama administration's $827 billion economic stimulus plan has survived a key vote in the Senate, putting a compromise version of the bill on track for passage Tuesday.
(CNN) - Meg Whitman, the former CEO of eBay, announced Monday she's interested in running for governor of California, setting up what's likely to be among the most hotly contested gubernatorial races in 2010.
Whitman, a Republican, announced on her Web site she is establishing an exploratory committee to seek the state's top post - the traditional first step before a full campaign is launched.
In the statement announcing the committee, Whitman made clear she will stress her economic credentials and business acumen to help the state weather through its waning economy.
"California faces challenges unlike any other time in its history – a weak and faltering economy, massive job losses, and an exploding state budget deficit," she said in the statement. "California is better than this, and I refuse to stand by and watch it fail."
Though she's never held elective office, Whitman is no stranger to politics. She served as a high-profile surrogate for John McCain's presidential bid, and was considered to a potential choice for the Arizona senator's running mate.
Forbes Magazine valued Whitman's worth at $1.4 billion in 2007.
Two other Republicans have already formally expressed interest in running for the seat - Former Rep. Tom Campbell and current California insurance commissioner Steve Poizner, another former Silicon Valley CEO.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Attorney General Eric Holder Monday ordered a complete review of all cases in which the Justice Department under his Republican predecessors had invoked claims of a "state secrets" privilege to protect classified government programs from lawsuits.
Holder has instructed the department's top lawyers to begin the review promptly "to ensure that it is being invoked only in legally appropriate situations," department spokesman Matt Miller said..
Holder's instructions stressed, "It is vital that we protect information that if released could jeopardize national security, but the Justice Department will ensure that it is not invoked to hide from the American people information about their government's actions that they have a right to know," Miller said.