WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama will meet with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak next week, Obama's spokesman announced Monday.
Robert Gibbs told the daily White House briefing that the June 16 meeting would focus on how the United States and South Korea can strengthen cooperation on international and regional issues. He said Obama invited Lee to visit at the G-20 summit in April.
The meeting comes amid rising tension with North Korea, which recently has conducted a nuclear test, fired test rockets and threatened U.S. and South Korean ships near its territorial waters. On Monday, two American journalists arrested in North Korea were convicted of illegal entry to the country and sentenced to 12 years in prison.
Updated: 4:13 p.m.
(CNN) – Republican senators urged President Obama to say no to a government-run health care plan, cautioning in a letter Monday that the public expects Congress to tackle an overhaul of the system in "an open, honest and bipartisan manner."
Obama told Congress this weekend that it's time to deliver on health care reform, and he wants a bill on his desk by October at the latest. But as the debate heats up on Capitol Hill, it's clear lawmakers don't see eye to eye on the issue.
Republicans are pushing for a private system while some Democratic proposals include back a public, or government-sponsored, option. Some proposals also include a mandate that would require Americans to get insurance.
"This is going to be a long, hot summer when it comes to the debate on health care, because, as you know, there are so many proposals floating on Capitol Hill, some that include the mandate, some that [have] a public option, of course, and many Democrats would like to have the single-payer option," Democratic strategist Donna Brazile said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Overall, Americans approve of how President Obama is handling his job, but less than half the country agrees with his approach to battling the deficit and controlling federal spending, according to a new poll.
Obama enjoys a 61 percent job approval rating, and 67 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of the president, according to the Gallup poll released Monday.
On the deficit, the public seems split, but the trend shows a general souring towards Obama's economic agenda: 48 percent now disapprove of the president's approach to dealing with the deficit, while 46 percent approve - a statistical split. Fifty-one percent disapprove of his approach to reining in federal spending, while 45 percent approve.
The Gallup survey of 1,105 adults was conducted May 29-31 and carries a possible sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
WASHINGTON – A former Army captain who was dismissed under a federal law dealing with gays and lesbians in the military, lost his appeal at the Supreme Court Monday.
James Pietrangelo and 11 other veterans had sued the government over the "don't ask/ don't tell" law passed in 1993.
He was the only one who appealed to the high court, but the justices without comment refused to intervene.
The provision forbids those in the military from openly acknowledging or revealing their homosexuality, and prevents the government from asking individual soldiers and sailors about their sexual orientation.
The Obama administration had asked the high court not to take the case, and White House officials had said they would not object to homosexuals being kicked out of the armed services.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama launched the next phase of his $787 billion economic stimulus program Monday with a package of projects that he said would create or save 600,000 jobs.
The 10 projects include expanding health facilities, improving airports and highways, building new military facilities, funding education jobs, hiring or keeping law enforcement officers, starting new rural waste and water systems, improving medical centers for military veterans, enhancing the cleanup of 20 federal Superfund sites, working on national parks, and creating summer youth jobs.
The "Road map to Recovery" package is part of the blueprint for the second 100 days of the economic stimulus program signed into law on February 17. In the first 100 days, the program created or saved 150,000 jobs and designated $135 billion in funding, according to a White House news release. It was not immediately clear if the funding figure included the projects announced Monday.
"We have a long way to go on our road to recovery but we are going the right way," Obama said in the news release. He called for more progress that "American people see in their own lives," adding: "Surely and steadily, we will turn this economy around."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that President Obama's stimulus package would have little, if any, impact on the economy - and re-stated his opposition to including any public option in the upcoming health care overhaul.
“I’m very skeptical that the spending binge that we’re on is going to produce much good and, even if it does, anytime soon, " said McConnell. "And I think the economy is just as likely to begin to recover on its own, wholly aside from this, before much of this has an impact. So I’m very skeptical that this massive sort of spending binge that we’ve engaged in is going to have much of an impact.”
Listen: McConnell's warning note to the administration on government-run insurance options
WASHINGTON (CNN) – On Sunday, as President Obama was wrapping up a visit to France, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee - who will play a key role in the consideration of the health care legislation the administration has called a top priority - posted a few pointed comments on Twitter, aimed directly at the president.
"Pres Obama you got nerve while u sightseeing in Paris to tell us 'time to deliver' on health care. We still on skedul/even workinWKEND," wrote Chuck Grassley of Iowa.
Related: 'Time to deliver' on health care, says Obama
Later, he added: "Pres Obama while u sightseeing in Paris u said 'time to delivr on healthcare' When you are a 'hammer' u think evrything is NAIL I'm no NAIL."
The White House later said the president looked forward to working with Congress when he returned from D-Day commemoration celebrations in France.
Editor's note: John King, CNN's chief national correspondent and "State of the Union" host, examines the news made in Sunday talk and offers up this Monday morning crib sheet on what to watch this week in politics. Please note that all quotes are from rush transcripts and are subject to change. If you'd like to receive a sneak peek of next week's news in your inbox every Sunday, you can sign up for the "Political Ticker - State of the Union Sunday Edition" at http://www.cnn.com/profile/
(CNN) - President Obama was aboard Air Force One over the Atlantic as this past Sunday's spinning, sparring and explaining played out. He has an increasingly ambitious overseas agenda at a telling time for his already crowded domestic portfolio.
At first glance, it's hard to be very optimistic about the prospects of getting Israel and the Palestinians back to the table, let alone back to the difficult choices of peacemaking. Yet the president, fresh from his outreach to the Muslim world, sounds remarkably upbeat. He is sending his special envoy, former Sen. George Mitchell, to the Middle East this week to put his new push to its first test.
Key subplots in the Middle East:
• Whether Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is willing to come Obama's way.
• Whether Hamas and Hezbollah choose, as they often have in the past, to make themselves heard just when things get to a key juncture.
And waiting for Obama on the domestic front upon his return:
• A critical period for his push to get health-care reform this year.
• A rising unemployment rate that sobers the growing chorus of voices suggesting the worst of the recession is over.
• And the still evolving confirmation process for Supreme Court pick Judge Sonia Sotomayor.
And with that backdrop, these were the Sounds of Sunday: