WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama said Monday that he has secured the commitment of several key industry groups to do their part to rein in the growth of health care costs.
This pledge from the private sector could reduce the growth in health care spending by 1.5 percentage points a year, for a savings of $2 trillion over 10 years, according to senior administration officials. Overall, it could amount to a 20 percent reduction in the growth of health care spending.
Obama said the pledge is meant to complement his administration's health care reform initiative.
"When it comes to health care spending, we are on an unsustainable course," Obama said at the White House.
"What is a growing crisis for the American people is also becoming an untenable burden for American business. ... The explosion in health care costs has put our federal budget on a disastrous path."
Obama's announcement is aimed in part to reflect lessons learned from the failed health care reform efforts of the 1990s and to get ahead of potential detractors.
President Obama may not have much time to help broker a peace deal in the Middle East. King Abdullah of Jordan tells the London Times that Mr. Obama's meeting next week with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has become the acid test for the administration’s commitment to peace.
King Abdullah says all eyes will be on Washington; and if there are no signs of progress, the Arab world will feel like yet another American government has let them down. He suggests that overnight, President Obama could lose the "tremendous credibility" he's built up in the Arab world.
And that would be a shame because Mr. Obama has a pretty impressive level of support over there. A new Ipsos survey polled 7,000 adults in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan.
The poll shows President Obama gets a 48 percent favorable rating, running as high as 58 percent in Jordan. Only one in 10 residents across the region think the U.S. president will have a negative effect on their country.
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(CNN) – Elizabeth Edwards is responding to a wave of criticism in recent days over the fact she did not forcefully urge her husband to exit the presidential race upon learning of his affair with a campaign staffer, saying Monday she was not aware of the extent of the indiscretion.
"When I found out and for a large part of writing the book, I only knew about a single night," she said in an appearance on NBC's Today Show. "A single moment of weakness. Though it was difficult to accept, most of us who seek to lead and most everybody who seeks to be led have moments of weakness in their lives and I did not think that was a fatal flaw and I was wrong."
The comments come days after Mrs. Edwards revealed in a new book out last week she first learned her husband, former presidential candidate John Edwards, had an affair with a former campaign staffer in 2006. The former presidential candidate told his wife about the affair only days after he formally launched his presidential bid in late December of 2006.
Despite his infedelity, the Edwardses decided to press on with the presidential campaign and Mrs. Edwards often served as a vigorous advocate for her husband's character in the months that followed - a fact many in the media have since criticized.
"She ended up going along, helping sell the voters on her husband's character as a truth teller and charm as a loving husband and father," New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd recently wrote. "She had put so many quarters in the shiny slot machine of their mutual ambition."
But in the interview Monday, Mrs. Edwards suggested she would likely not have supported her husband's second attempt at the White House had she known more details of the affair that have since come to light.
"I probably would have been more adamant about him not running than I was," she said. "The whole time he was running I only knew about this one thing."
Programming Note: Watch Elizabeth Edwards' exclusive interview on CNN's Larry King Live at 9 p.m. Eastern time Tuesday night.
Virginia bubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell will face the winner of the June 9 Democratic primary.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Republican Bob McDonnell is up with his first television ad in the Virginia governor's race, a heavily biographical 30-second spot that largely avoids the commonwealth's troubled economy and focuses instead on family values and the former state Attorney General's record combating online sex predators.
"Bob McDonnell," the ad's narrator says, over images of the Republican with his wife and family. "Character. Experience. A husband. A father. Principles molded growing up in a middle class suburban neighborhood."
The campaign purchased over $200,000 worth of airtime for the ad, which is running in nearly every major media market in Virginia except in the sprawling and expensive northern Virginia market, which encompasses the greater Washington area. However, the campaign noted that they launched a "positive new online media campaign" on Monday "with a heavy focus on northern Virginia."
Two of McDonnell's Democratic rivals - Terry McAuliffe and Creigh Deeds - have already been running television ads as they ramp up for the Democratic primary, which is less than a month away. The third Democrat in the race, Brian Moran, has not aired a TV spot.
UPDATE: The Democratic Party of Virginia responded to the ad, accusing McDonnell of failing to offer a plan to create jobs.
"When it comes to Virginia's economy, Bob McDonnell's ad is all hat and no cattle," said Democratic party spokesman Jared Leopold. "McDonnell's newest ad - like his campaign - lacks the substance that Virginians want in a governor."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Florida Gov. Charlie Crist will announce Tuesday he will forgo another bid for governor and instead run for the Senate, two well placed Republican sources tell CNN.
Crist is a very popular governor in the Sunshine State and his entrance into the Senate race would take huge financial pressure off of national Republicans to help fund a campaign to save this Republican seat currently held by retiring Sen. Mel Martinez.
An April Quinnipiac Poll showed that registered Republicans would vote for Crist over former House speaker Marco Rubio, 54 percent to 8 percent, in a GOP primary. But the poll also found that more people overall and Republicans specifically would rather see Crist run for re-election as governor than seek the Senate seat.
Rubio announced his candidacy last week and is seeking to align himself with the conservative wing of the state party. Crist, who supported President Obama’s stimulus package, is considered to be more closely aligned with centrist Republicans.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday he no longer views Colin Powell as a Republican.
Appearing on CBS' "Face the Nation," Cheney was asked about a dispute between Powell - who was secretary of state in the Bush-Cheney administration - and radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh over the role each plays in the GOP.
"My take on it was Colin had already left the party," Cheney said. "I didn't know he was still a Republican."
The former vice president noted that Powell endorsed then-Sen. Barack Obama in last year's presidential race. "I assume that that's some indication of his loyalty and his interests," Cheney said.
Powell, in a speech last week, said "the Republican Party is in deep trouble" and said the GOP would be better off without Limbaugh, according to a report by the National Journal.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Nicolle Wallace, a top adviser to George W. Bush and John McCain’s presidential campaign, is adding a few names to the list of Republicans who might lead the GOP out of the wilderness.
Top among them? Actor Gary Sinise.
Wallace, writing on The Daily Beast, said she first heard the idea from a fellow Republican.
“The natural strengths that an actor brings to politics would come in handy to anyone going up against Obama in 2012,” she wrote. “We will need an effective communicator who can stand toe to toe with Obama’s eloquence.”
Sinise, also a musician, performs for U.S. troops and often champions veterans' causes.
She also named Generals David Petraeus and Ray Odierno as possible Republican saviors.
“Both have denied any interest in a run for office,” she wrote, “but if their masterful management of Iraq is undermined in any way over the next four years, one could hope that they’d reconsider.”
She said that according to most Republicans she has spoken with, a Republican resurgence would demand a new leader, “as opposed to any one of the politicians on the national stage today rising to the occasion.”
Wallace floated the names because she said there’s only so much soul-searching the Republican party can do without the next great leader, someone like President Obama “who matches the moment and transcends the narrow debates about ideology” while moving the political discourse “away from the past.”
She said the ongoing argument about whether the GOP needs to become more moderate or re-assert its conservative principles is a “media-generated debate” and “a false choice that offers nothing but continued division for Republicans.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Democratic National Committee criticized the Republican Party in a new Web video released Sunday evening for having former Vice President Dick Cheney, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Sen. John McCain serve as the GOP’s national spokesmen.
The 38-second clip, posted on YouTube, opens with the statement: “Meet the New GOP Sunday Show Guests” stripped across the screen before it shows the three Republicans being introduced on the Sunday morning talk shows. The videos closing line: “The New GOP. Same As The Old GOP.”
The DNC’s criticism is not new as Democrats are trying to exploit the fact that Republicans are engaged in some real soul searching as they consider how to rebuild the party in time for the 2010 midterm elections and beyond.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – She’s lost her first born child, continues to battle cancer, suffered through coping with her husband’s extramarital affair, and been an integral part of two unsuccessful presidential campaigns.
But notwithstanding all of the sympathy from voters built up in favor of Elizabeth Edwards, two reporters suggested Sunday that the famous political spouse’s current media blitz could bankrupt her goodwill with the American public.
“She was painted as this martyr figure,” CNN American Morning Entertainment Reporter Lola Ogunnaike said on CNN’s Reliable Sources.“
“They had what seemed to be this ideal marriage. And it turns out that she was complicit in basically this cover- up. She knew all along that he'd had an affair, that he cheated on her, and decided that they would go along with this massive cover-up, and she ultimately decided that his political career was worth more than being honest.” Ogunnaike added.
Washington Post reporter Lois Romano said Mrs. Edwards recent efforts to rehash her husband’s extramarital affair in multiple interviews and her forthcoming book is filling some sort of need but is risky.
“There's clearly something in her personality that is pushing her to get the last word,” said Romano. “I think she is at risk of diminishing her own stature. I mean, people held her up as the soul of this relationship, and now she's turned it into a spectacle again,” Romano also said.
Romano also suggested that Mrs. Edwards’ book tour might backfire. “Well, I think what we're going to see here is we're going to see the curve of the public follow us [the media]. Right now . . . the public is still generally in support of her,” Romano said. “Let's see what happens after two weeks of this.”
The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.
For the latest political news: www.CNNPolitics.com.
CNN: DNC keeps up attacks on Cheney, Gingrich, McCain
The Democratic National Committee criticized the Republican Party in a new Web video released Sunday evening for having former Vice President Dick Cheney, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Sen. John McCain serve as the GOP’s national spokesmen.
CNN: Gingrich: Pelosi not truthful about waterboarding issue
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has denied she was ever told explicitly that waterboarding had been used on terrorist suspects, "has a lot of explaining to do," former Speaker Newt Gingrich said Sunday.
CNN: Obama pokes fun at Republicans, Clinton, self at annual dinner
President Obama drew big laughs at the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner Saturday, taking jabs at his administration, his Republican rivals and even himself.
CNN: What's new on Capitol Hill? Motherhood
At 8:30 a.m., Kirsten Gillibrand looks like any other working mom in a minivan dropping off her baby boy at day care and her other son at school.
CNN: I don't think Palin is the future of the GOP, Republican says
Prominent Republican Bill Bennett took issue Sunday with what he called the “media’s focus” on Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
CNN: King: Bad economy puts more families on the streets
The tears begin and her voice trembles as Ruth Martinez remembers the first few days of her new world.
Washington Post: Health Groups Vow Cost Control
Volunteering to "do our part" to tackle runaway health costs, leading groups in the health-care industry have offered to squeeze $2 trillion in savings from projected increases over the next decade, White House officials said yesterday.
USA Today Op-Ed: Orszag: Administration targets ineffective programs and health care costs
To build a new foundation for economic growth and change for the future, we can't afford to waste taxpayer dollars. That's why the president is taking on the No. 1 driver of our deficit, spiraling health care costs, this year. Make no mistake: Getting health care costs under control is the key to our fiscal future.