April 11th, 2009
06:45 PM ET
6 years ago

Arizona State apologizes for degree flap, honors Obama

ASU is expanding what it calls its most important scholarship program and naming it after President Obama.
ASU is expanding what it calls its most important scholarship program and naming it after President Obama.

(CNN) – Arizona State University appeared to backtrack Saturday in the controversy over not giving President Barack Obama an honorary degree, and said it would pay tribute to the president by expanding its most important scholarship program and naming it after him.

"I apologize for the confusion surrounding our invitation to President Obama to address ASU students at commencement," said ASU President Michael Crow said in a news release from the university.

"The entire ASU community has been electrified with excitement since we learned of his participation in our commencement ceremony. We hope that the recent discussion of honorary degrees will not detract from the honor and thrill that ASU – and indeed all of Arizona – is experiencing in anticipation of his visit. I am honored, as are our faculty, staff and students, that President Obama will give his first commencement speech as president of the United States at ASU."

The president is scheduled to deliver the commencement address at ASU on May 13.

RELATED: Arizona State students scalping Obama commencement tickets

The school faced criticism after it said it would not give Obama an honorary degree, something the university describes as a way to acknowledge people who have made contributions to society.

The university said earlier that the president's achievements have yet to rate the honor, and directed reporters to use a statement given to the Associated Press. "His body of work is yet to come. That's why we're not recognizing him with a degree at the beginning of his presidency," Media Relations Director Sharon Keller told the AP Thursday.

FULL POST


Filed under: President Obama
April 11th, 2009
02:28 PM ET
6 years ago

Muslim issues dominate agenda

President Obama visits the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul during his bridge-building and sight-seeing trip to Turkey.
President Obama visits the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul during his bridge-building and sight-seeing trip to Turkey.

(CNN) - The collapse of the U.S. economy has dominated the first months of Barack Obama's presidency.

But after last week's G-20 summit in London, Obama was in Turkey and Iraq this week, underscoring a different point.

Once he's taken care of problems at home, most of his biggest business is in the Muslim world.

Iraq: Obama owes his election in part to his opposition to the war in Iraq. Now, he plans to withdraw U.S. combat troops. But Iraq is still so dangerous that Obama had to keep his visit a surprise and be content with a quick look from behind U.S. barbed wire. Will U.S. forces really be able to back out?

Afghanistan: Obama has made this war his own, vowing to win, promising to keep terrorists from again taking refuge on Afghan soil. Even after more than seven years of fighting, the challenge is daunting and some Americans are already musing about whether it will be 'Obama's Vietnam'.

Pakistan:
The Obama administration sees Pakistan as both a base for insurgents in Afghanistan and a battleground in its own right. Militants threaten the stability of the country and also potentially the security of its nuclear weapons. What's the best way for Obama to respond?

Full story


Filed under: President Obama
April 11th, 2009
02:25 PM ET
5 years ago

EXCLUSIVE: Top U.S. commander in Iraq on troop withdrawal

General Ray Odierno will be on 'State of the Union' Sunday.
General Ray Odierno will be on 'State of the Union' Sunday.

(CNN) - General Ray Odierno, commander of the Multi-National Force in Iraq, will speak with CNN’s John King in an exclusive live interview on Sunday morning’s “State of the Union."

In his first trip to Iraq as Commander-in-Chief, President Obama said this week that it’s time for the Iraqis to take over.

But General Odierno, viewed by many as the driving force behind the escalation of U.S troops that altered the course of the war, has said that troops may not be able to leave two major Iraqi cities by the June 30 deadline for withdrawal as originally planned.

Tune in at 9 a.m. ET as the top U.S. commander in Iraq discusses Obama’s trip, the latest on U.S. troop withdrawals, and the future of the war in Iraq.

Have a question for the general? E-mail StateoftheUnion@CNN.com.


Filed under: Iraq • State of the Union
April 11th, 2009
02:00 PM ET
6 years ago

King: Job counselor both teacher and painful example

Don Witte's classroom is a diverse one: A former senior executive, an auto mechanic, nurse and laborer are among his students.
Don Witte's classroom is a diverse one: A former senior executive, an auto mechanic, nurse and laborer are among his students.

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina - Don Witte is in command of the classroom, offering advice on how to write an attention-grabbing resume and extolling the virtue of truth-in-advertising while networking.

"Be yourself, always be yourself," he tells the crowded classroom at Forsyth Technical Community College. "Don't try to be someone you are not."

The diversity in the classroom is telling: A former senior executive sits a few feet from an auto mechanic. A middle manager chats with a nurse. A teacher and a laborer listen as Witte doles out tips.

"It's affecting everybody," Witte tells us. "Each one of them has a little different story and the common thread is they haven't looked for a job in 10 years or so."

In these tough economic times, Don Witte is both a teacher and a painful example.

Full Story


Filed under: Economy
April 11th, 2009
01:36 PM ET
5 years ago

Kurtz: Should media steer clear of Palin-Johnston saga?

Levi Johnston and Bristol Palin appeared together at the Republican National Convention in September.
Levi Johnston and Bristol Palin appeared together at the Republican National Convention in September.

(CNN) – On last Sunday's "Reliable Sources," I made a last-minute decision to add an item about Bristol Palin's ex-boyfriend - not because I'm particularly fascinated by the ex-boyfriend, mind you, but because Sarah Palin had just ripped Levi Johnston apart.

"We're disappointed that Levi and his family, in a quest for fame, attention, and fortune, are engaging in flat-out lies, gross exaggeration, and even distortion of their relationship," the Alaska governor declared.

Not since the last time she opened fire on a caribou has Palin used that kind of ammunition - which had the effect of boosting interest in the young man's appearance with Tyra Banks. And the Tyra sitdown got Levi an even bigger audience, with Maggie Rodriguez on CBS's "Early Show."

What a mess. But is it a highly personal mess involving two 18-year-olds that we in the media should avoid?

I put that question to Deborah Norville of "Inside Edition" and Washington Post gossip columnist Amy Argetsinger for a segment that will air Sunday morning at 10 ET on "Reliable."

Why would Levi Johnston, having just split up with the woman whose baby he fathered, seek out the TV spotlight?

Full story


Filed under: Levi Johnston • Sarah Palin • State of the Union
April 11th, 2009
11:45 AM ET
6 years ago

Obama: 'Glimmers of hope' in economy

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The struggling U.S. economy may be starting to turn the corner, President Obama said Friday, citing several key indicators during a meeting with top economic advisers.

The administration is detecting "glimmers of hope across the economy," Obama said at the White House.

CNN's Candy Crowley reports on Obama's new tone.


Filed under: President Obama
April 11th, 2009
11:06 AM ET
6 years ago

GOP: Budget creates 'mountains' of debt

(CNN) – Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty charged that President Obama’s budget “creates mountains of new debt that will ultimately require higher taxes on all of us and our children.”

“I think that's wrong. Families are hurting now and small businesses can't create new jobs soon enough. Isn't it time we stopped working for the government and that government started working for us?” Pawlenty said in the weekly Republican address.

Noting that this isn’t a “Republican versus Democrat debate,” Pawlenty said he thought Obama’s proposals to eliminate capital gains for small businesses and lower taxes for the middle class were good ideas.

“But the budget that Congress is considering doesn't provide that tax relief,” the Republican governor said.

Pawlenty offered what he called a “novel ideal of the federal government.”

“Instead of collecting more taxes and then redistributing them through more federal programs, why don't you just let us keep more of our money in the first place?” he said.

“I urge President Obama and the Democrat-led Congress to let hardworking American families keep more of what they earn by cutting taxes and reining in spending. It's just common sense,” he added.

Full remarks after the jump

FULL POST


Filed under: Tim Pawlenty
April 11th, 2009
10:56 AM ET
6 years ago

Obama calls on nations to unite to confront world’s challenges

(CNN) - President Barack Obama on Saturday urged the world’s nations to come together to confront global challenges like the economic crisis and international terrorism.

In his first weekly address since returning from his overseas trip, Obama said the United States must lead in these efforts. “But our best chance to solve these unprecedented problems comes from acting in concert with other nations,” he said.

“With all that is at stake today, we cannot afford to talk past one another. We can’t afford to allow old differences to prevent us from making progress in areas of common concern. We can’t afford to let walls of mistrust stand,” the president said. “Instead, we have to find – and build on – our mutual interests. For it is only when people come together, and seek common ground, that some of that mistrust can begin to fade. And that is where progress begins.”

Obama was in Europe last week for a series of summits, initially meeting with world leaders at the G-20 summit in London, to discuss the global financial crisis.

The president highlighted the progress made during his eight-day trip. Leaders at the G-20 – a meeting of the world’s largest economies – have come together to help stimulate the economy, he said.

At the NATO summit on the French-German border, the president was hoping to get a boost in resources for the war in Afghanistan. He did get allies to pledge about 5,000 troops, but in the form of police and security trainers, not combat troops.

The president on Saturday commended commitments from NATO allies to support the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Obama also extended his best wishes to those celebrating Passover and Easter this weekend, saying, “let’s find strength in our shared resolve and purpose in our common aspirations. And if we can do that, then not only will we fulfill the sacred meaning of these holy days, but we will fulfill the promise of our country as a leader around the world.”

Full remarks after the jump

FULL POST


Filed under: President Obama
April 11th, 2009
09:11 AM ET
6 years ago

US says Cuba tried to hurt American morale, poison family pets

A State Department report says the Cuban government has purposely made life difficult for US diplomats in Havana.
A State Department report says the Cuban government has purposely made life difficult for US diplomats in Havana.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Cuba purposely has made life difficult for U.S. diplomats serving in the U.S. Interest Section in Havana and has even poisoned family pets to hurt American morale, according to a State Department report released Friday.

The report dates back to 2007, but its release comes just days before the Obama administration is expected to ease some restrictions on Cuban-Americans sending money to Cuba and visiting family there.

And it is made public just days after a Congressional Black Caucus delegation returned from Cuba and provided glowing reports of how they were received by Cuban leaders Fidel and Raul Castro.

The report was prepared by the State Department inspector general. It repeatedly mentions poor morale among U.S. diplomats serving in Cuba, saying the Cuban government "lets you know it's hostile."

Without full diplomatic relations with Cuba, and with a trade and travel embargo still in place, there is no U.S. Embassy. The Interests Section issues visas and performs other diplomatic services.

FULL POST


Filed under: Cuba