COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - The black Chevy Suburban believed to have been used by South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford to leave town has been found in the parking lot of Columbia Metropolitan Airport.
CNN was alerted to its location by a law enforcement official.
Sanford is expected to return to Columbia tomorrow after a mysterious six-day absence. His office has said the governor, a possible 2012 presidential candidate, has been hiking the Appalachian Trail to clear his head after a tough legislative session.
The SUV is outfitted with blue police lights and two-way radio. Inside the vehicle: A baseball cap, running shoes, sunscreen, a pair of shorts, a canvas bag and a sleeping bag.
A parking permit for the school attended by Sanford’s children is visible on the windshield.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Less than a week after admitting to an affair with a staff member, Sen. John Ensign, R-Nevada, apologized to his Republican colleagues for his actions, which have already caused him to step down from his party leadership post and could threaten his Senate career.
"He apologized to us and his family. He said he was going to try to work to regain the confidence of his family and his colleagues," Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said after the weekly Republican policy lunch in the Capitol, during which Ensign stood to speak.
On Monday night, Ensign was greeted warmly when he returned to the Senate after several days' absence dealing with the fallout from the scandal. More than a dozen senators - Republicans and Democrats - hugged him, shook his hand, or patted him on the shoulder.
"We all recognize what a painful experience this has been for him and his family and others involved. I think we just appreciated him saying how sorry he was," Cornyn said.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Barack Obama has decided to send a U.S. ambassador back to Syria, a dramatic sign of reconciliation between the two countries, senior administration officials tell CNN. The announcement is expected to be made this week.
"It's in our interests to have an ambassador in Syria, a senior administration official told CNN Tuesday night. "We have been having more and more discussions and we need to have someone there to engage."
The official said that the decision was not in any way related to the election crisis in Iran, although the Obama administration has maintained engaging the Syrian regime could weaken Syria's strategic alliance with Iran.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama said Tuesday that he is "95 percent cured" of his smoking habit, "but there are times I mess up."
Obama said "that as a former smoker, I constantly struggle with it. ... Have I fallen off the wagon? Yes."
Obama noted he is not a daily smoker and "doesn't do it in front of" his children.
The president argued that a new law providing for FDA regulation of tobacco "is not about me. It's about the next generation of kids coming up."
The president made his remarks during a news conference at the White House.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Top Obama administration officials met privately in the Capitol with Democratic senators involved in health care reform Tuesday to assess where the complicated legislation stands and what the next steps need to be to pass it.
"We had to have it," said Finance Committe Chairman Max Baucus, D-Montana, about the meeting, which lasted an hour and a half. "To compare notes with the White House so the president's chief of staff hears our concerns and hears them directly."
Baucus declined to specify the "concerns" presented at the meeting, although the legislation has been slowed by Democratic differences over policy and financing.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates Tuesday signed a memorandum establishing for the first time a military command aimed at conducting cyber warfare, and defending the military's computer network.
The so-called Cyber Command - -also known as USCYBERCOM - is expected to be headquartered at Fort Meade, Maryland, and headed by the director of the National Security Agency, according to Pentagon officials. The new command will report to the U.S. Strategic Command, which has overall military responsibility for protecting military networks.
"We're increasingly dependent on cyberspace, and there's a growing array of cyber threats," said said Lt. Col. Eric Butterbaugh, a Department of Defense spokesman. To counter the risk, the department "requires a command possessing the required technical capability and which remains focused on streamlining cyberspace operations," he added.
(CNN) - His first love is basketball, but that won't stop President Barack Obama from throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at this year's Major League Baseball all-star game on July 14 in St. Louis.
A league statement posted Tuesday on the MLB.com Web site said Obama will be the fourth U.S. president to throw out the first pitch at the game known as the Midsummer Classic.
The others were President John F. Kennedy in 1962, President Richard Nixon in 1970, and President Gerald Ford in 1976, the statement said.
This year's all-star game, the league's 80th, has been dedicated to raising funds and awareness for charitable initiatives and celebrating community service, the league said.
Obama has made community service a major theme of his administration since taking office in January.
"We are thrilled that we can come together with President Obama, who has encouraged a renewed spirit of national service, and illustrate a call to action in our communities," Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said in the statement. "President Obama will continue a great tradition that joins our nation's leader and the national pastime."
WHITE HOUSE (CNN) - President Obama's international popularity isn't just evident when he travels internationally. On Tuesday, the Chilean press forgot protocol - and journalistic objectivity - while in the Oval Office Tuesday, asking asked Obama to pose for a photo with the group.
An unidentified female Chilean press member asked Obama, "Can you take a photo with Chilean press, please?" Many of her colleagues enthusiastically seconded her request.
President Obama, who was meeting with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, agreed to the photo, and suggested the group go outside to the Rose Garden for the picture. The U.S. press pool recorded the event and later watched in amazement as the foreign press pushed their way outside to the Rose Garden. A comical scrum ensued as the eager foreign pool struggled to get closer to Obama for the impromptu photo op.
President Obama had President Bachelet stand next to him while the rest of the Chilean reporters surrounded the pair and posed.
Sanford has tangled with Democrats and fellow Republicans in his state over spending, and whether to accept stimulus funds from the federal government.
"I am not here to judge our governor. I think more than anything I think a lot of people are concerned about his safety," said Bauer, who is also a Republican and is likely to run for governor himself in 2010.
"Someone as high-profile as the governor is, someone that has been as outspoken as he is about policy and reducing the size of government, there's a lot of people who know who he is. There are a lot of people who would not favor his politics. And we know there are many individuals out there who are unstable that would like to make a name for themselves by approaching someone in a high-profile position, and that's why people that are governors of states have security, and so for him to not even be known what state he is in, concerns us.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senate negotiators have cut about $400 billion from a $1.6 trillion health reform proposal, but that still leaves them short of their targeted price goal of about $1 trillion, Sen. Kent Conrad, D-North Dakota, told reporters Tuesday.
"The price has come down quite markedly but we still have a lot of work to do. This is a challenging legislative set of considerations," Conrad said. "It's hard."
Conrad is one of a handful of bipartisan Finance Committee members who are meeting regularly in closed-door sessions to try to hammer out an agreement. Getting the price tag down to about $1 trillion is key to getting a bill passed, they say.