(CNN) - A Harvard economist doubts President Barack Obama will be able to meet his goal of cutting the nation's deficit in half by the end of his first term.
Jeffrey Miron said it's a good idea for Obama to focus on the long-term deficit, but he suspects the proposal to halve the $1.3 trillion deficit is "wildly optimistic."
Watch OMB Director Peter Orszag on CNN's American Morning
Most of the savings would come from spending less on the war in Iraq, streamlining government and raising taxes on those who make more than $250,000, an administration official told CNN.
But Miron, speaking Monday on CNN's "American Morning," said, "First, tax increases will probably not produce as much revenue as being forecast, and second, he hasn't really touched the two really important programs that account for a huge fraction of our future liabilities ... Social Security and Medicare.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was back on the Supreme Court bench Monday, in her first public appearance since undergoing surgery for pancreatic cancer February 5.
The 75-year-old Ginsburg entered the courtroom with her eight male colleagues as they prepared to hear oral arguments after the high court's monthlong recess. She walked in unassisted and was smiling broadly.
It was business as usual, with the justices making no statements or gestures, and the court offering no acknowledgment of her return. The session was gaveled to order at exactly 10 a.m.
Doctors have offered a somewhat optimistic prognosis for Ginsburg's recovery. Pancreatic cancer typically is one of the most lethal of cancers, primarily because it is usually not diagnosed until it has reached an advanced stage. But hers was discovered extremely early, in the earliest stage of the disease, and doctors said it had not spread.
Jindal will deliver the GOP response to Pesident Obama Tuesday night. (Getty Images)
(CNN) - Thrust into the spotlight as a Republican rising star, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has been depicted as an up-and-comer capable of helping reshape the party and jockeying for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.
And now, Jindal's party is putting him on a national platform, awarding the once little-known congressman the political plum of delivering the Republican's televised response to President Barack Obama's address to Congress on February 24.
"The speech is very important. This is his coming-out party," said G. Pearson Cross, head of the University of Louisiana's political science department, who has observed Jindal's political rise. "His speech will put a face on the name."
And put a fresh face on the Republican Party.
The GOP, still reeling from election beatings in 2006 and 2008, is looking to revamp itself by rebuilding from the states up and reaching out to young voters. At 37, the popular Louisiana governor embodies that mission, experts say.
"The job is very important in framing the Republican message really for the rest of the year," said Nick Ayers, executive director of the Republican Governors Association, referring to the response speech Tuesday. "Gov. Jindal provides the outside-the-beltway, not D.C., perspective. And he's one of the smartest policy minds in the country. He's not perceived as a overtly political person."
Being tapped for this prime-time speech, a job normally for congressional leaders, has helped to elevate Jindal's standing in the party dominated by old pros, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader John Boehner, as well as personalities, such as Alaska's Sarah Palin and California's Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Gov. Schweitzer discussed his views of the stimulus and Sarah Palin's absence from the NGA this weekend.
(CNN) – Many of the nation’s governors descended on Washington for the National Governors’ Association meeting this weekend, but a famous face was absent: Alaska governor Sarah Palin.
Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who co-chairs the NGA's Natural Resources Committee with Palin, told CNN he wishes she was there.
"Fewer TV cameras will be there and I have to stay all the way to the end to report, so I wish she was here," Schweitzer joked on CNN's State of the Union.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - During the most contentious stretch of the Democratic presidential primary campaign last winter, then-candidate Hillary Clinton mocked Barack Obama for his pledge to transcend Washington's entrenched partisanship.
"The sky will open. The lights will come down. Celestial choirs will be singing and everyone will know we should do the right thing and the world will be perfect!" Clinton bellowed.
Obama dismissed Clinton's sarcasm as overly cynical and further evidence she was a creature of Washington. But as President Obama prepares to make his first major address to the nation, Clinton's comments are borne out.
For a candidate who won the White House on a mantle of bringing the country's two political parties together, Washington could not be more divided on Obama's initial weeks in the Oval Office and the policies he has put in place.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new national poll indicates that nearly three out of four Americans are scared about the way things are going in the country today.
Seventy-three percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday say they're very or somewhat scared about the way things are going in the United States. That's six points higher than in an October poll.
Nearly eight in 10 say things are going badly in the country, with just 21 percent suggesting that things are going well. The survey also says that three out of four Americans are angry about the way things are going in the country. But three out of four questioned say that things are going well for them personally.
The poll was released a day before President Barack Obama gives a prime-time address before a joint session of Congress.
"Americans always believe things are better in their own lives than in the rest of the country," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "But they are realists as well - they recognize that bad times somewhere else in the U.S. may eventually come to affect them. That's why so many say they are angry and scared, even though they're content with their own personal circumstances."
"There is a tiny sliver of good news - the number of Americans who think things are going very badly has dropped from 40 percent in December to 32 percent now," Holland added. "But since most of those people switched from the very bad category to the pretty bad category, it's wrong to say that the public
is more optimistic - call them a little less pessimistic at best."
The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted Wednesday and Thursday, with 1,046 adults questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A dozen House Republicans are targeted in a new House Democratic political campaign that criticizes the GOP lawmakers for opposing the $787 billion stimulus package.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will contact voters this week by telephone with a recorded message saying that their Republican congressman voted “against the largest tax cut in history,” and against a stimulus bill that the business friendly U.S. Chamber of Commerce supported.
The campaign also includes “emails and text messages directly to targeted Republicans’ constituents,” a DCCC official tells CNN. House Democrats have also created a Web site to explain how they believe the stimulus bill will affect individual congressional districts.
Only three congressional Republicans, all senators, voted for the final passage of the stimulus bill.
Full list of Republicans targeted after the jump
For the latest political news: www.CNNPolitics.com.
CNN: GOP governors: Stimulus money may hurt in long run
Though they support some federal action to help their states recover from the recession, several Republican governors said Sunday they plan to turn down a portion of what's offered in the stimulus bill that President Obama signed last week.
CNN: Obama in perpetual campaign, Barbour says
It's no coincidence President Obama has traveled to key swing states to push his massive stimulus measure, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said Sunday.