WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice signed a deal to write two memoirs over the next few years, one on her time in the White House and another about her family, Crown Publishers announced Monday.
Rice’s first book, tentatively scheduled for release in the fall of 2011, will be about her eight years in former President Bush’s White House, including four as Secretary of State. Crown Publishers V.P. and Executive Editor Rick Horgan called Rice “one of history’s trailblazers.”
“Her vantage point was unique, and there is tremendous curiosity regarding her private assessment of what occurred, as well as her informed view of where global relations are headed,” Horgan said in a statement.
In her second memoir, set to come out a year later, Rice will talk about growing up in segregated Birmingham, Alabama. Random House will simultaneously publish a young-adult version of the book.
“We feel doubly fortunate to also be publishing Secretary Rice’s account of her upbringing, which promises to be wonderfully evocative and inspiring,” Horgan said.
Crown Publishers would not say how much Rice was offered for the book deal, although reports have placed it in the seven-figure range.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is calling on China to keep buying U.S. debt.
During her first overseas trip as the country’s top diplomat, Clinton asked Beijing to keep purchasing U.S.Treasury bonds despite our deteriorating economic condition. She also talked about the importance of the administration’s economic stimulus package. Clinton says because our economies are so intertwined, it could hurt China if the U.S. couldn’t finance the nearly $790 billion stimulus plan.
“We are in the same boat. Thankfully, we are rowing in the same direction, toward landfall,” said Clinton. She added that China and the United States “are truly going to rise or fall together.”
But this call from the Obama administration shows just how the balance of power is shifting between the U.S. and China.
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WASHINGTON (CNN) – A week after a woman was brutally attacked by a friend’s chimpanzee, a House committee moved to prohibit humans from keeping primates as pets.
Rep. Nick Rahall, chairman of the Committee on Natural Resources, requested action Monday on legislation to prohibit people from buying or transporting primates across state lines as pets. The West Virginia Democrat warned that primates are too dangerous to be kept as pets.
“Images of Curious George and Koko may lead us to believe that these creatures are cuddly and harmless, but last week’s tragedy and other similar attacks stand as evidence that this is not the case, that they are in fact wild animals, and they simply must not be kept as pets,” Rahall said in a statement.
The Captive Primate Safety act would modify the Lacy Act amendments, which were passed in 1981 and only included a ban on buying or transporting fish and wildlife across state lines to keep as pets, by adding primates to that list. The legislation is expected to go to the House floor for debate this afternoon.
Roughly a dozen Americans were attacked by primates in 2008, according to the Humane Society.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Michelle Obama invited six Maryland culinary school students into the executive kitchen Sunday before the president and first lady hosted their first state dinner.
Obama allowed the top-ranked L'Academie de Cuisine students to attend the menu briefing, explaining the dinner's various courses and introducing them to the White House Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford. While meeting with the culinary apprentices, the first lady weighed in on locally grown foods and opened up about a struggle that most moms face - how to coax children into eating their vegetables.
"When you grow something yourself and it's close and it's local, oftentimes it tastes really good," Mrs. Obama said. "And when you're dealing with kids, for example, you want to get them to try that carrot. Well, if it tastes like a real carrot and it's really sweet, they're going to think that it's a piece of candy. So my kids are more inclined to try different vegetables if they're fresh and local and delicious."
The first lady said the goal of the event was to "showcase some of this talent," so the students met head pastry chef Bill Yosses, the culinary artist responsible for preparing a first family favorite - the White House huckleberry cobbler.
“Maybe one day you guys might wind up being a White House chef,” White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers told the group.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Obama had harsh words Monday for conservative critics of the $787 billion stimulus plan who have argued that the it contains needless pork barrel spending.
"When I hear people who say, well, there's a lot of waste in this program, from my perspective at least, keeping teachers in the classroom is not wasteful," he argued.
"From my perspective, tax cuts to 95 percent of working families is not wasteful. From my perspective, providing all of you additional resources to rebuild roads and bridges and levees and dams ... that will enhance the quality of life of your state, but also make it more economically competitive. That's not wasteful."
President Obama made the comments during a meeting at the White House Monday morning the with the nation's governors, who are in the nation's capitol for an annual conference.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama is reaching across party lines Monday to host a bipartisan "fiscal responsibility summit" as the government tackles the seemingly contradictory tasks of controlling a soaring federal deficit while spending the country's way out of a deep recession.
The summit is intended to serve as the starting point for a "frank discussion" on the long-term fiscal problems facing the country, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Friday.
"The summit is the first step in the process of beginning to lay out how we can bring down the deficit and put our economy back on sound financial footing. It opens a week that will be focused on the attention of many fiscal issues," Gibbs added.
Obama's address to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night is expected to be dominated by economic and budgetary issues. The president is slated to officially unveil his fiscal year 2010 budget Thursday.
Roughly 130 people have been invited to the unusual White House conference, including the Democratic and Republican leadership in Congress, heads of key congressional committees, and a range of business, academic, financial and labor leaders.
Related video: Suzanne Malveaux reports on the summit
The summit participants are expected to separate into small groups for the purpose of discussing more specific fiscal challenges facing the country, including taxes, health care, Social Security, and the budget process.
As the battle over the spending bill heats up in Washington, CNN's Bob Costantini talks with Republican strategist Leslie Sanchez about President Barack Obama's first month in office - from his stimulus plan and housing proposal to this week’s fiscal responsibility summit.
The President met with the nation's governors at the White House Monday. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama announced Monday that cash-strapped state governments will see the first influx of federal stimulus related assistance later this week.
The money, Obama noted at a White House meeting with governors, will be distributed starting Wednesday in the form of more than $15 billion in new Medicaid assistance.
"That means that by the time most of you get home, money will be waiting to help 20 million vulnerable Americans in your states keep their health care coverage," Obama told the governors.
But the money, Obama warned, is "not a blank check" to state governments. The money is "intended to go directly toward helping struggling Americans keep their health care coverage. ... We're going to work with you closely to make sure that this money is spent the way it's supposed to."
The president said he would not hesitate "to call out" state governments that spend the money in a wasteful or inappropriate manner.
In that vein, Obama announced the appointment of former Interior Department Inspector General Earl Devaney to head a new Recovery Act Transparency and Accountability Board, to ensure the $787 billion stimulus package is spent in an open, efficient manner.
"Earl has doggedly pursued waste, fraud and mismanagement [and] has the reputation of being one of the best inspector generals that we have in this town," Obama said. "I can't think of any more tenacious and efficient guardian of the hard-earned tax dollars the American people have entrusted us to wisely invest."
Vice President Biden, he added, will oversee the administration's stimulus spending implementation efforts "to make sure our efforts are not just swift, but also efficient and effective."
Updated 1 p.m.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Attorney General Eric Holder and top aides are touring the U.S. military prison facilities at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to help advance the administration's plans to empty the facility of detainees within one year.
Holder and a team of five others involved in the process of deciding what to do with the detainees arrived mid-morning and were immediately briefed by military officials, according to Holder's chief spokesman Matt Miller.
"He's being briefed on case histories and discussing the charges that were pending for detainees before the suspensions," Miller said. "He's touring all the buildings and the expeditionary legal complex which houses the military courtrooms," Miller said.
Holder is accompanied by Matthew Olsen, who is acting assistant attorney general for the National Security Division. Holder named Olsen Friday as the executive director of the Guantanamo Review Task Force which will recommend whether the 245 remaining detainees should be removed to other countries, be released, be tried on criminal charges in civilian courts in the United States or should be tried in before military courts.
Also traveling with the attorney general are his chief of staff Kevin Ohlsen and counselor Amy Jeffres, Associate Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, and Alan Liotta from the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Embattled Sen. Roland Burris lost the counsel of another adviser Monday, as Illinois lawmakers continued to call on him to resign his seat.
Bud Jackson, who helped Burris in his bid to replace President Obama in the Senate, sent a mass email distancing himself from Burris and describing the senator's "public relations efforts" as "less than stellar."
"Turns out that, because my business is political communication, I need to let folks know that I have not been involved in the decisions that have led to the public relations fiasco over the past week," Jackson wrote. "In fact, I actively counseled his team to take very different actions, to no avail."
But Jackson did note that he continues to back Burris even as others are calling on him to step down.
"I know that he has done nothing inappropriate despite the impression that has been left," Jackson wrote.
Burris is under fire for failing to detail his contacts with associates of now-impeached Gov. Rod Blagojevich. The senator's chief of staff and a spokesman have quit.ris