On CNN's "State of the Union," host and chief national correspondent John King goes outside the Beltway to report on the issues affecting communities across the country. This week, King traveled to Tennessee to see how the problems at General Motors are affecting plant workers there.
NASHVILLE, Tennessee (CNN) - Ask newly retired autoworker Brenda Carter about President Obama and she cracks a broad, magnetic smile. "I love him," she says emphatically.
But she wishes he would worry about running the country and not take such a heavy hand in running her former employer, General Motors.
"I don't believe the government should actually run the businesses," Carter told us in an interview at her Nashville home. "We need help from them, yes. We need guidance from them. But to just come and say that a person needs to go - I don't agree with it."
The person at issue is former GM CEO Rick Wagoner, who resigned after being told by the White House that future assistance to the company depended on his stepping aside.
STRASBOURG, France (CNN) – Protesters in Strasbourg, France, forced a last-minute detour for First Lady Michelle Obama Saturday.
She and spouses of other leaders attending the NATO summit there had planned to tour a hospital. But protests blocked the way to the event, the first lady’s office said, prompting the visit to be scrapped.
Instead, France’s first lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, met Mrs. Obama and the other spouses for a tour of the Palais Rohan. They then resumed their planned schedule with a visit to Strasbourg’s Cathedral of Notre-Dame.
ISTANBUL, Turkey (CNN) - Regular programming has just been interrupted by a news conference. A slender black man in a suit steps up to a podium, flanked by American flags and a White House logo.
"I wish I could announce such an economic package," he says, "but there is a bank in Turkey that did it. It is Garanti. I wish we had Garanti in America."
Don't be fooled. This is a commercial on Turkish TV. The actor is a 44-year-old Barack Obama look-alike from Whitehall, Pennsylvania, named Michael Lamar. And he is shilling for a Turkish bank.
In the month before the real Barack Obama is to visit Turkey, this ad campaign went out all across the country on television and on billboards, using the iconic, Warholian image of the American president to sell low-interest loans.
The "Mad Men" behind the concept say their Obama look-alike was the perfect guy to sell what they described as Garanti Bank's own economic stimulus package.
STRASBOURG, France (CNN) - President Obama on Saturday said he is "pleased that our NATO allies pledged their strong and unanimous support" for the new U.S. strategy toward fighting militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Obama spoke at the end of a two-day NATO summit in Strasbourg, France. One of the main topics of discussion was the war against the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
America's NATO allies in Afghanistan are committing 3,000 combat troops and 400 more paramilitary trainers to the fight against the Taliban, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs announced earlier Saturday.
The combat forces from allied and partner nations will provide security leading up to Afghan elections later this year. Of the 3,000, the major contributors will be Britain, with 900, and Germany and Spain, 600 each.
NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said Saturday that "when it comes to Afghanistan, this summit and this alliance has delivered."
CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr and photojournalist Peter Morris are traveling to southern Afghanistan with Gen. James Conway, Commandant of the Marines.
ADDIS ABABA (CNN) - When you are a CNN reporter out on the road, nothing is more important than the first task at hand every day - securing the morning's first cup of coffee. After that, you can handle just about anything, from the war zone to the flood zone.
No, I am not being silly. Any soldier will tell you the same thing. Morning coffee first. And nowhere is coffee a more serious business than in Ethiopia. (Did I mention? I am in Ethiopia on assignment.)
And after flying all night, I am up way too early because of jet lag. But yes, I have found a big, steaming, fantastic cup of Ethiopian coffee, so the day can begin now.
OK, now for the serious part. CNN cameraman Peter Morris and I left Andrews Air Force Base on the night of March 31 with Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James Conway and a small group of Marines.
(CNN) – President Obama, in his weekly address to the nation, praised the agreement of the G-20 nations to act together as a turning point in this global economic slump.
"In the end, we recognize that no corner of the globe can wall itself off from the threats of the twenty-first century, or from the needs and concerns of fellow nations. The only way forward is through shared and persistent efforts to combat fear and want wherever they exist. That is the challenge of our time. And if we move forward with courage and resolve, I am confident that we will meet this challenge."
(CNN) - Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin gave the republican response Saturday to the president's budget, saying that while there is "no doubt" that President Obama inherited a fiscal crisis, the question remains: "Is he fixing it or is he making it worse?"
"The President’s budget, which passed the House and Senate this week, will make the crisis much, much worse," Ryan said. "Put simply: the Democrats’ budget spends too much, taxes too much, and borrows too much from our kids and their kids. ... Their budget puts all the sacrifice on future generations. It makes no tough choices. It’s only tough on our children and grandchildren."
The Senate passed a $3.53 trillion version of the federal budget for fiscal year 2010 late Thursday night in a party-line vote, ending several weeks of acrimonious partisan debate. The package was approved on a 55-43 vote. GOP Sens. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, and Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine - who voted in favor of the president's stimulus bill last month - voted against what is essentially the blueprint of Obama's economic policies going forward.
Earlier Thursday, the House of Representatives passed its own version of the spending plan –$3.55 trillion budget, capping off a long day of debate and voting marked by the defeat of several alternative spending plans.