WASHINGTON (CNN) – Arizona State University's refusal last week to present an honorary degree to President Barack Obama cast an unnecessary dark cloud over the school and forced officials to do something they apparently were trying to avoid: recognize the president for his accomplishments.
Instead of giving him a piece of paper, the school now has named its "most important scholarship program" after him - and the controversy still hasn't gone away.
Initially a university spokesperson told 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."
That is true - we do not yet know what Obama will accomplish as the 44th president of the United States. But ASU's own guidelines state that a degree is given to those who have made "significant contributions to education and society over the course of a person's career."
Now, you might not have voted for Obama, and perhaps you don't agree with his policies, but he was a U.S. senator, a community organizer, and a lecturer on constitutional law.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – A new poll indicates Americans don't agree with former Vice President Dick Cheney's recent assertion that President Barack Obama's actions have increased the chances of a terrorist attack against the United States.
The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey also suggests that most people support the president's plans in Afghanistan - up to a point.
Seventy-two percent of those questioned in the poll released Monday disagree with Cheney's view that some of Obama's actions have put the country at greater risk, with 26 percent agreeing with the former vice president.
In a March 15 interview on CNN's "State of the Union with John King," Cheney said the Bush administration's anti-terror strategies "were absolutely essential to the success we enjoyed of being able to collect the intelligence that led us to defeat all further attempts to launch attacks against the United States since 9/11."
Last week in the Cafferty File we told you about a new Afghan law that legalizes rape. This week’s outrage story comes courtesy of another one of our allies in the Mideast, Saudi Arabia — where a judge has refused for a second time to annul a marriage between an eight-year-old girl and a 47-year-old man.
The same judge rejected a petition back in December from the girl’s mother, who was trying to get a divorce for her daughter. A relative of the girl tells CNN that the Saudi judge says he’s sticking by his earlier verdict, and that the girl can petition the court for a divorce once she reaches puberty.
The mother’s lawyer says that it was the eight-year-old girl’s father who arranged the marriage in order to settle his debts with the man. The judge required the girl’s husband to sign a pledge that he wouldn’t have sex with her until she reaches puberty. Right.
To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion click here
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama plans to give what the White House is describing as a "major speech on the economy" tomorrow morning at Georgetown University.
"The President will discuss how each step his administration has taken to confront this economic crisis fits within his broader vision of how we move this economy from recession to recovery and ultimately to prosperity. He’ll also talk about the significant work that remains to be done to get the economy moving forward once again," according to the White House.
Earlier: 'Glimmers of hope' in the economy, says Obama
The United States will have to confront pirates and hold them "accountable for their crimes," he said at the start of a Transportation Department event.
Obama spoke one day after the U.S. military killed three pirates who had been holding the captain of the U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama hostage on a lifeboat.
Snipers shot the pirates and rescued Capt. Richard Phillips.
Phillips' "safety has been our principal concern," Obama said. The president added that he is proud of the military's actions leading to Phillips' rescue.
Listen: Was this weekend's victory on the high seas also a political win for the president? CNN Radio reports.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Obama administration has decided to loosen restrictions on travel and remittances to Cuba for Cuban-Americans, senior administration officials confirmed Monday.
The White House plans to announce the change later in the day.
The decision represents a significant shift in U.S. policy toward Cuba. It comes days before Obama leaves for the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago.
Related: 7 in 10 Americans back diplomatic relations with Cuba, according to a CNN/ORC poll
Before he was elected president, Obama promised to lower some of the barriers in Cuban-American relations. Provisions attached to a $410 billion supplemental budget Obama signed in March also made it easier for Cuban-Americans to travel to Cuba and to send money to family members on the island. In addition, they facilitated the sale of agricultural and pharmaceutical products to Cuba.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former Rep. Pat Toomey announced Monday he is taking steps to challenge incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter in 2010, setting up a primary rematch between the two Republicans with ideological differences.
“Very soon, I intend to announce my candidacy for the United States Senate in a Republican primary challenge against Arlen Specter,” Toomey said in an e-mail Monday to members of the Club for Growth, telling them of his decision to resign as president of the organization.
Toomey, who unsuccessfully ran against Specter in 2004, criticized his fellow Republican for supporting the “liberal agenda” because he did not help the GOP minority uphold the filibuster on every issue. “I personally believe that it is time for him to go,” Toomey wrote in the e-mail.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Obamas celebrated their first spring at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on Monday by hosting one of the oldest presidential traditions - the annual White House Easter egg roll.
More than 4,000 area schoolchildren were estimated to take part in the festivities on the White House South Lawn, which kicked off with a joint appearance by the first family and the Easter bunny on the residence's famous Truman Balcony.
"This is one of our greatest White House traditions, because it reminds us that this is the people's house," President Barack Obama told the crowd.
Watch: President Obama hosts the White House Easter egg roll
(CNN) - A plane carrying U.S. Rep. Donald Payne was fired on at the airport in Mogadishu, Somalia, but the plane and its passengers appear to have departed safely, a spokeswoman for the congressman said Monday.
"We understand that his plane was fired on and, as he left, we understand that a mortar landed on his plane, but that they have left safely and that no one was hurt," said Kerry McKenney, the spokeswoman in his Washington office, citing police officers at the airport as her source. "We are hoping that he's safe and on his way back home."
The New Jersey Democrat and chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health was visiting Somalia because "he felt it was important to travel there to see first-hand what was happening," McKenney said.
UNITED NATIONS (CNN) – A week after North Korea ignored international warnings and launched a long-range rocket, the U.N. Security Council is considering a draft statement - signaling members may be close to taking a formal public stance against the incident.
"This draft is an excellent basis for a consensual and clear message by the Security Council," said Claude Heller, the current Security Council president and Mexico's U.N. ambassador, referring to a draft of a presidential statement.
The U.S.-drafted statement "sends a clear message to [North Korea] that their violation of international law will not be treated with impunity and indeed will have consequences," said Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
The draft also calls on the U.N. sanctions committee to enforce existing sanctions against North Korea.