April 13th, 2009
09:30 AM ET
5 years ago

Obama sources: stimulus projects 'under budget,' 'ahead of schedule'


WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama is hoping for a public relations victory Monday with what the White House sees as a triple-hit of good news from the stimulus bill.

Sources tell CNN Radio that billions in road and bridge money is going "farther" and being used "faster" than expected.

Two administration officials say Obama will announce that the Department of Transportation has funded 2,000 projects so far with stimulus dollars and that those projects have come in "under budget" and "ahead of schedule."

The sources did not provide any details, and it is not yet clear how the White House is judging the expected pace or costs of stimulus projects.

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Filed under: Stimulus
April 13th, 2009
08:58 AM ET
5 years ago

Journos: Statement by Palin rep fueled Johnston-Palin coverage


WASHINGTON (CNN) – A recent statement by a spokesperson for Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin only served to fuel the media’s coverage of the ongoing feud between Palin’s family and that of Levi Johnston, the father of Palin’s infant grandson and the ex-fiance of Palin’s teenage daughter, two journalists said Sunday.

The feud reached a new level when Levi Johnston, joined by his mother and his sister, sat down for interviews early last week in a media tour designed to dispel several rumors about the family that the Johnstons said were false.

After an appearance Monday on the Tyra Banks show where the young father said he had lived at Gov. Palin’s home while Palin’s daughter, Bristol, was pregnant with the teenage couple’s child and soon after the baby’s birth, a spokesman for the governor said Levi Johnston had lied in the interview.

In a later interview on CBS’ morning show, the young father struck back, sharply refuting the Palins' claim he was lying about being permitted to live with his onetime fiancé and suggesting the Palin family is now essentially treating him as an outcast.

Rather than quell the media frenzy surrounding the break-up of the two teenagers and subsequent feuding between their respective clans, the statement on Palin’s behalf only served to add fuel to the media fire, two journalists said Sunday on CNN’s “Reliable Sources.”

“Did the governor, you know, boost the ratings of these programs by blowing it up into this big public family feud?,” CNN’s Howard Kurtz asked journalists Deborah Norville and Amy Argetsinger.

“I think there is no question,” Norville, the host of “Inside Edition,” said. “Because when an elected official who was campaigning for the second highest office in the land issues a statement, we’re obligated in the news media to pay attention.”

Argetsinger, who writes for the Washington Post, agreed. “I don’t think anyone was particularly interested in talking to Levi Johnston after the Tyra show,” observed Argetsinger. “But she (Palin) called him a liar, which opened up the door to going back and getting his response. She created the day two, day three story, really.”

Soon after being named as Republican Sen. John McCain’s running mate last fall, Palin revealed that her unmarried teenage daughter, Bristol, was pregnant with Johnston’s child. Johnston joined the Palin family at the Republican National Convention.

The two teenagers had plans to marry but, instead, their relationship ended after the birth of their son, Tripp.

Johnston and his family said in interviews last week that Johnston is permitted to visit with his son at the Palin home but is not permitted to take the child away from the home.

April 13th, 2009
05:38 AM ET
5 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Monday, April 13, 2009

ALT TEXT

The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.

WASHINGTON/POLITICAL
For the latest political news: www.CNNPolitics.com.

CNN: General: U.S. should be out of Iraq by late 2011
Gen. Ray Odierno, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq, said Sunday he believes U.S. troops will be out of the country by the end of 2011.

CNN: Official: Obama granted use of appropriate force to rescue captain
President Obama granted two separate requests from the Defense Department to go forward with a military operation to rescue Captain Richard Phillips, an administration official tells CNN.

CNN: Obama daughters to get Portuguese water dog named 'Bo'
The frenzy over the First Dog is finally over. The Obamas are welcoming a Portuguese water dog to the White House that Sasha and Malia have named "Bo," according to two Democratic sources familiar with the secretive process.

CNN: Arizona State apologizes for degree flap, honors Obama
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.

Washington Post: An Early Military Victory for Obama
It was one of the earliest tests of the new American president - a small military operation off the coast of a Third World nation. But as President Bill Clinton found out in October 1993, even minor failures can have long-lasting consequences.

NYT: Plan to Change Student Lending Sets Up a Fight
The private student lending industry and its allies in Congress are maneuvering to thwart a plan by President Obama to end a subsidized loan program and redirect billions of dollars in bank profits to scholarships for needy students.

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