(CNN) – New information emerges regarding President Obama’s war strategy in Afghanistan. In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily, CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr has the details on the battle plan.
Plus: House Republicans want to make new demands of Michelle Obama. Some GOP members are pushing for greater transparency on policy work from the current first lady and future first ladies. Democratic Strategist Donna Brazile and GOPAC Chairman Frank Donatelli talk about the move to amend the existing law in Thursday’s Strategy Session.
Also: Are GOP members standing against the Democratic president’s proposals out of spite - or do they really have better plans? CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash takes a look.
Finally: The world’s richest man praises the White House on how it’s handling the nation’s economic crisis. CNN White House Correspondent Dan Lothian reports.
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WASHINGTON (CNN) – One day after the Justice Department filed suit against the state of New York over the counting of military absentee ballots in next week's special election, it announced an agreement with state officials that would extend the deadline for those voters to mid-April.
The department's lawsuit against the state and Gov. David Paterson, filed in federal district court yesterday, charged that nine of the 10 counties in New York's 20th congressional district had not given military voters enough time to fill out their ballots and return them before the deadline. The original deadline - seven days after the election - will be extended by another six days if the agreement is approved in federal court.
The new deadline of April 13 would bring the state into compliance with federal law that requires each military voter be given at least 30 days to fill out their ballot.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Rep. Michele Bachmann has introduced a bill that would prohibit the president from signing on to a global currency, despite congressional testimony from Obama administration officials that they would reject any proposal to replace the dollar.
In hearings earlier this week, the Republican congresswoman called on Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to denounce the idea that the United States might adopt any other currency. Both men did.
Bachmann's bill, introduced Wednesday, proposes a constitutional amendment "to prohibit the President from entering into a treaty or other international agreement that would provide for the United States to adopt as legal tender in the United States a currency issued by an entity other than the United States."
During Tuesday's hearing, Bachmann pointed to recent remarks from Russia and China as part of the basis for her concern - comments suggesting that countries which have used the dollar as their reserve currency might begin to consider other sources. But those decisions, which would be made by foreign governments, would be unaffected by any congressional legislation, and would have no impact on U.S. currency decisions.
Bachmann's bill has been referred to the Judiciary Committee.
(CNN) - The Democratic National Committee is taking aim at former Bush adviser Karl Rove.
The DNC released a scathing Web ad Thursday blasting Rove for a his recent comments calling President Obama an "arrogant guy."
In a 40 second spot titled "Pot. Kettle. Black.," the DNC slammed the former presidential adviser and the policies of the Bush administration, highlighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the current national economic crisis as products of his time in office.
"Karl Rove calls Obama arrogant – really," the text on screen shows.
"Karl, Did You Forget ..."
Statements such as: "mission accomplished, we'll be greeted as liberators, Bin Laden: dead or alive," and "two unfinished wars," and "worst economic crisis in decades" were sandwiched between sound bites of Rove saying "I've always said I think he's kind of an arrogant guy."
"Pot. Kettle. Black.," the text reads as the ad closes.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Although the bipartisan congressional leadership was invited to the White House for an Afghanistan briefing today, the Senate's top two Republicans did not attend.
Aides to both Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl said they had scheduling conflicts.
"He had a long schedule meeting with multiple senators here [on Capitol Hill] and we didn't get the invite to the White House until late yesterday afternoon," said McConnell spokesman Don Stewart, who also said the senator attended a separate briefing later in the afternoon at the Capitol.
"Sen. McConnell, in cooperation with Sen. Reid, asked the White House to schedule the meeting next week," said Stewart. "But late yesterday afternoon, we got a call saying it would be this afternoon. Since he was unable to make the time at the White House, he went to the briefing here at the Capitol."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - House Republican leaders rolled out their alternative budget on Thursday to respond to President Obama's charge they were slamming his proposal without offering one of their own.
At a Capitol Hill news conference, House GOP Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, held up an 18 page document entitled, "The Republican Road to Recovery" and said, "well, it's just not true, because here it is Mr. President."
Watch GOP leaders unveil their budget blueprint
But, when pressed for the details on how the GOP plan differed from the President's, Boehner acknowledged he didn’t have many. “This is a blueprint for where we’re going," Bohener said.
The blueprint includes familiar Republican proposals to limit wasteful government spending, cut the size of government, and provide incentives to private entities to expand access to healthcare. It also includes a major overhaul of the tax code, proposing a marginal tax rate of 10 percent for income up to $100,000 and 25 percent for any income above that level.
Obama held a town hall meeting in the White House Thursday. (Getty Images)
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The President is not just the commander-in-chief - he's also the politician-in-chief. And lately, we're seeing President Obama more and more in that role.
Two town halls in California last week. This week, a virtual town hall. Appearances on The Tonight Show . . . 60 Minutes . . . ESPN. Two prime-time news conferences.
Then there's door-to-door canvassing by his grass-roots supporters, and a TV ad from his supporters in the Democratic Party that urges Americans to call their members of Congress and tell them to vote for the Obama budget.
Is the President risking overexposure? You hear that criticism in the press. New York Times columnist Gail Collins wrote, "Barack Obama is going to be on television every day forever. No venue is too strange."
(CNN) - White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs dismissed House Republican's newly unveiled budget proposal Thursday, saying the 19-page document lacks any specifics.
"It took me several minutes to read it," a sarcastic Gibbs said at the White House Daily Briefing. "I will note that there is one more picture of a windmill than there is of a chart of numbers. Just for your knowledge there is exactly one picture of a windmill."
"It's interesting to have a budget that doesn't contain any numbers," Gibbs added. "The party of no has become the party of no new ideas."
The comments came hours after House Republican leaders unveiled the document and pledged to introduce more specifics next week.
"We're going to show a leaner budget, a budget with lower taxes, lower spending and lower borrowing," said Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
House Majority Leader John Boehner called Obama's record $3.6 trillion budget "completely irresponsible" and pledged the GOP plan "curbs spending, creates jobs and cuts taxes, while reducing the deficit."
Boehner would not say where the spending cuts might come from. "We'll wait and see next week," he said.
(CNN) - In a statement that's sure to disappoint many of those who submitted questions to President Obama's virtual town hall meeting, the president made clear Thursday he does not support legalizing marijuana as a means to spur economic growth.
"I have to say that there was one question that was voted on that ranked fairly high, and that was whether legalizing marijuana would improve the economy and job creation," Obama said off-handedly at the town hall. "I don't know what that says about the online audience."
"The answer is no, I do not think that is a good strategy to grow our economy," Obama said to laughter from the town hall participants.
Some of the most popular questions submitted to WhiteHouse.gov in several policy areas were pot-related. Among the top questions was one sent in by a user named "Green Machine":
"Will you consider decriminalizing the recreational/medical use of marijuana(hemp) so that the government can regulate it, tax it, put age limits on it, and create millions of new jobs and a multi-billion dollar industry right here in the U.S.?"
As drugs and related violence from Mexico continue to infect 230 cities in the United States, some politicians, economists, and even drug law enforcement leaders say legalizing drugs may be the answer.
One Texas city councilman tells CNN “it’s the least worst option to ending cartel violence.” He says decriminalizing drugs would take away a lot of the financial incentive for the cartels to kill. Arizona’s Attorney General says 60 percent of the battle is marijuana — and he’s called for “at least a rational discussion” on ways to take the profit out of weed.
Some insist legalizing drugs like pot would help our economy. One California congresswoman says it would pump $1 billion into her state’s budget alone every year. A senior economics lecturer at Harvard says federal, state and local governments spend $44 billion a year to enforce drug prohibition. If drugs were legal, they could be making about $33 billion per year in tax revenue.
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