A week from today will mark President Barack Obama's 100th day in office. And whether you agree with him or not — it's fair to say that the president has been one busy guy.
According to one report — a top White House aide says of the 100-day marker: "This isn't Biblical. You don't do 100 days and rest," but acknowledges that President Obama's first 100 days have been the most productive since FDR's.
Here's only some of what’s been on the president's plate:
- When it comes to the economy: the passage of the $787 billion economic stimulus bill, the bank bailout plan and housing recovery measures.
- Setting a fixed timetable for withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq and ordering an additional 21,000 troops to Afghanistan.
- Ordering the closing of Guantanamo Bay prison and ending the use of so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques."
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(CNN) - President Barack Obama's expansion of the federal government into the financial sector is likely to have "devastating" effects in the long term, former Vice President Dick Cheney said in his latest salvo directed at the new White House administration.
In an interview on Fox News - portions of which aired Tuesday night - the former vice president said he is "very concerned" about where the Obama administration is taking the country economically.
"I worry very much that we're in a situation now where there doesn't appear to be any limitation whatsoever in terms of the spending commitments that this administration wants to make," he said. "Vast expansion in terms of the deficit, but it also says a lot about what they intend for the role of government in this society."
White House officials have predicted the country's deficit will soar to $1.75 trillion this year, after the administration's efforts to bail out troubled financial companies and stabilize the nation's flailing economy. Obama has also pledged to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term, a promise critics doubt is possible to keep. (Related: Obama defends budget as essential to recovery)
But beyond rising deficits, Cheney said he is concerned the administration is fundamentally "redefining that relationship between government, on the one hand, and the private sector on the other."
"I'm one of those people who believes that part of the greatness of the United States is our private sector. "It's what we do as private citizens for ourselves and our companies," he said, later adding, "I think we have to be very, very cautious. I think we've gone beyond what reasonably we could expect by way of intrusion into the private sector."
Cheney's comments are only the latest in a string criticisms he has publicly aired in recent weeks about the administration that succeeded his, though they appear to be his harshest words to date about the new president's economic policies.
Cheney's comments have led to criticisms from Obama aides that he is confounding his role as an elder statesman, but, in the interview with Fox News, Cheney said people should not be surprised he is speaking out.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Calling her a politician with "serious lapses of conscience and integrity," a group of conservative leaders sent a letter Wednesday to senators urging members to oppose the nomination of Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius for secretary of health and human services.
Leaders of the Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America and Focus on the Family called on senators who "claim to uphold the sanctity of life and the responsibility of the office of HHS" to vote against her. This comes one day after a committee voted 15-8 in favor of sending her nomination to the full Senate.
"Gov. Kathleen Sebelius's lack of integrity during the nomination process, together with her extreme pro-abortion record clearly demonstrate that she is unfit to serve as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services," the letter states. "Americans want and deserve better than a health care system run by a politician with serious lapses of conscience and integrity."
The Democratic governor has faced heat from some conservatives for her support of abortion rights. In the letter, the group called her an "abortion radical" and one of the "most fervent advocates for taxpayer-funded and late-term abortions in American politics."
"Given her propensity for abortion radicalism, her failure to pay her own taxes and her demonstrated lack of integrity, she will be a divisive force in this important office," the group said in the letter.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday that $300 million in stimulus money will be given to state and local governments to help expand the number of clean and sustainable vehicles in cities around the nation.
Biden said "every day is Earth Day" in announcing the Clean Cities Alternative Fuel and Advanced Technology Vehicles Pilot Program, which would help local governments and transportation authorities invest in clean vehicles and fund the fueling infrastructure to support them.
"From advanced battery cars to hybrid-electric city buses, we're going put Recovery Act dollars to work deploying cleaner, greener vehicles in cities and towns across the nation that will cut costs, reduce pollution and create the jobs that will drive our economic recovery," Biden said in a statement.
This funding is adding to $11 billion already allocated to the Department of Energy to boost local energy efficiency programs and weatherize low-income homes. To participate, local governments have to apply to the Clean Cities Program for funding, and they can receive money for a variety of hybrid vehicles and alternative fuels.
Biden made the announcement at the WMATA Carmen Turner Maintenance and Training Facility in Landover, Maryland.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former President Bill Clinton is wading into Virginia’s Democratic primary for governor on behalf of his friend and long time political ally Terry McAuliffe.
McAuliffe's campaign announced Wednesday that Clinton will campaign alongside the Democratic contender on Monday in Richmond and Roanoke. It will mark the first time that the 42nd president has actively stumped for McAuliffe, a former Democratic National Committee chairman- turned gubernatorial candidate.
McAuliffe is locked in a contentious three-way primary battle with state Sen. Creigh Deeds and former House member Brian Moran.
The winner of that contest will face Republican Bob McDonnell in the general election.
McAuliffe makes no apologies for the kind of political firepower he’s bringing to the 2009 governor’s race, arguably the most-watched contest in this off-year election cycle. Of the $4.2 million he raised during the first three months of 2009, more than 80 percent of it came from out-of-state donors, many of whom McAuliffe knows from his years of involvement in national Democratic politics.
Clinton himself gave McAuliffe’s campaign a check for $10,000 in January.
(CNN) - A new poll spells more trouble for New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine's bid this year for re-election.
Fifty-four percent of New Jersey voters questioned in a Quinnipiac University survey released Wednesday disapprove of how Corzine's handling his duties as governor. That's the highest disapproval ever registered of a Garden State governor in Quinnipiac polling.
Corzine's disapproval rating jumped four points from March. Thirty-seven percent of those questioned think Corzine's doing a good job, down three points from last month.
While a majority of Democrats approve of Corzine's job as governor, he gets negative scores from a majority of independents and a vast majority of Republicans.
(CNN) – It's not every day a President of the United States lands shirtless on a magazine cover.
But the May issue of Washingtonian Magazine, to hit newsstands Wednesday, is causing a bit of a sizzle inside the beltway. President Obama graces the cover, shirtless, in an issue that focuses on "26 Reasons to Love Living Here."
The number two reason: "Our new neighbor is hot."
The particular photo choice, taken while Obama was vacationing in Hawaii over Christmas last year, is certainly an unconventional pick to showcase the commander-in-chief.
But Garrett Graff, editor-at-large for the magazine, told CNN the picture is appropriate because, "our feeling was that this wasn't an ordinary presidency."
"The Obamas, through their involvement in Washington, are helping to showcase just how exciting it is to be in Washington right now" he said. "We use the word 'hot' tongue in cheek with the photo."
"He is a buff president that the paparazzi enjoy taking photos of," said Graff.
Contacted by CNN, the White House declined to comment on the magazine's cover.
WASHINGTON (CNN) –- At the expense of Republicans, the Democratic National Committee is having a little fun with President Obama’s trademark “change” theme.
In a new Web video released Wednesday, the DNC introduces viewers to “the new faces of the GOP.” The video features an ornate set of red curtains that open, with a drum roll, to reveal former House Speaker Newt Gingrich; followed by Karl Rove, long time aide to former President George W. Bush; and then former Vice President Dick Cheney. The video also plays carnival-like music in the background.
“Meet The New GOP, Same As The Old GOP,” the screen reads as the video ends after the curtains open for a fourth time.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – In a previously undisclosed private memo, President Obama's intelligence director told colleagues that enhanced interrogation techniques used by the Bush administration yielded important information that helped America deal with the threat of terrorism.
"High value information came from interrogations in which those methods were used and provided a deeper understanding of the al Qa'ida organization that was attacking this country," the Director of National Intelligence, retired Admiral Dennis Blair, told colleagues in the two-page memo April 16.
That sentence was not included in a shorter one-page statement Blair's office gave to the media last Thursday, the same day Obama released previously top secret Bush administration memos laying out Republican lawyers' rationale for why they believed the interrogations were legal. Obama officially banned the techniques during his first week in office, with his aides charging it amounted to illegal torture.
Republican officials who provided the Blair memo to CNN are alleging the failure to include that sentence suggests the Obama administration deliberately did not tell the public the whole story about the potential benefits of the interrogations last week, a charge hotly disputed by Blair spokeswoman Wendy Morigi.
Morigi told CNN the memo and the media statement were two entirely different documents and there was nothing nefarious about the sentence being left out. She also released a written statement by Blair suggesting that while the interrogations did yield some valuable information, it was outweighed by the negative aspects of the tactics.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Barack Obama heads to Iowa Wednesday, his first visit as president to the state that gave him his first victory in a long battle for the White House.
Obama travels to Newton, Iowa, where he'll meet with workers at Trinity Structural Towers, a former Maytag plant that now houses a green manufacturing facility producing towers for wind energy production.
The president will "discuss components of his comprehensive energy plan, which include promoting clean energy innovation to help end our dependence on foreign oil" on the 39th anniversary of Earth Day, a White House press release says.
The White House says Obama's proposals will create new jobs and help combat global warming.
The president will use the visit to tout how a community can rebuild a local economy with investments in clean energy and to highlight Iowa's role as a leader in wind energy, the White House says.