June 27th, 2009
06:01 PM ET
5 years ago

Laura Bush speaks out on Burma

Laura Bush is speaking out on the ongoing situation in Burma.
Laura Bush is speaking out on the ongoing situation in Burma.

(CNN) – Former First Lady Laura Bush - who has kept a low profile since her husband's administration came to an end - is speaking out on a cause she championed while in the White House: the ongoing situation in Burma.

In a Washington Post op-ed set to be published in the paper's Sunday edition, Bush draws parallels between the events in Iran and Burma (Myanmar), and urges the United Nations to press the ruling regime there to end human rights abuses.

"In the past 21 months, the number of political prisoners incarcerated by the junta has doubled," Bush writes in the op-ed. "Within the past 10 days, two Burmese citizens were sentenced to 18 months in prison. Their offense: praying in a Buddhist pagoda for the release of the jailed opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. That is only the tip of the regime's brutality."

Suu Kyi, under house arrest for 13 of the past 19 years, had been expected to be freed by the military junta last month, until the new subversion charge was filed.  Suu Kyi is accused of violating her house arrest by offering temporary shelter to American John William Yettaw, who swam to her lakeside home on May 3. She said she doesn't know Yettaw, didn't know of his plans and didn't do anything wrong.

Related: Myanmar's Suu Kyi turns 64 in prison

Her supporters say the arrest is meant to keep her confined so she cannot participate in the general elections that the junta has scheduled for next year.  President Obama urged for her release last month.

In her op-ed, Bush also says the ruling regime has forced tens of thousands of child soldiers into its army, closed churches and mosques, and imprisoned comedians and bloggers who take aim at the government.

"With U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon planning to visit Burma this summer, it is crucial that he press the regime to take immediate steps to end human rights abuses, particularly in ethnic minority areas," writes Bush. "There have been 38 U.N. resolutions condemning these abuses, yet the horrors continue unabated. Under the junta's brutal rule, too many lives have been wasted, lives whose talents could have helped all of Burma prosper."


Filed under: Laura Bush
June 27th, 2009
02:55 PM ET
5 years ago

South Carolina Dems call for Sanford investigation

(CNN) - South Carolina Democratic Party chairwoman Carol Fowler said Saturday that Republicans in the legislature should form a bipartisan committee to investigate Gov. Mark Sanford

"Mark Sanford deceived us– the only way now for South Carolinians to feel confident they are being told the truth is for the General Assembly to pursue every recourse under the law to get at that truth," Fowler said in a statement.

Fowler's full statement after the jump

FULL POST


Filed under: Mark Sanford
June 27th, 2009
02:00 PM ET
5 years ago

Ahmadinejad accuses Obama of interfering in election

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad chided President Obama on Saturday for 'meddling' in Iran.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad chided President Obama on Saturday for 'meddling' in Iran.

TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) - Iran's president slammed President Obama on Saturday, saying officials in the Islamic republic are astonished over what they see as his interference in Iran's disputed elections.

"Didn't he say that he was after change?" Ahmadinejad asked Iranian judiciary officials in a speech. "Why did he interfere? Why did he utter remarks irrespective of norms and decorum?"

His remarks are countering Western criticism of the June 12 elections, which the government said Ahmadinejad won in a landslide.

Ahmadinejad spoke a day after Obama discussed the unrest in Iran during a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Full story


Filed under: Iran • President Obama
June 27th, 2009
10:30 AM ET
5 years ago

King: Ohio the proving ground for GOP's back-to-future bid

CNN's John King speaks to former Rep. Rob Portman, R-Ohio.
CNN's John King speaks to former Rep. Rob Portman, R-Ohio.

Editor's note: On CNN's "State of the Union," host and chief national correspondent John King goes outside the Beltway to report on the issues affecting communities across the country.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (CNN) - In bellwether Ohio, hopes for a new Republican beginning rest largely on two familiar faces from the GOP past.

The governor's race in this state could potentially be the most important race in the country," says the man who hopes to be the Republican candidate, former U.S. Rep. John Kasich.

The GOP's candidate for an open Senate seat, former congressman and Bush Cabinet appointee Rob Portman, has been on the ballot in midterm elections before and frames the 2010 stakes this way:

"The 2010 election is going to be about the Obama agenda and the Democratic Congress agenda and whether they are doing the right thing and people will have to judge."

Full story


Filed under: State of the Union
June 27th, 2009
10:17 AM ET
5 years ago

Obama says energy legislation a 'jobs bill'

(CNN) - President Obama used his weekly radio and video address Saturday to praise an energy overhaul bill narrowly passed by the House of Representatives.

"Make no mistake: this is a jobs bill," Obama said in the address. "We’re already seeing why this is true in the clean energy investments we’re making through the Recovery Act."

Obama also said the legislation would wean America's dependence on foreign oil and cut down on pollution.

"This legislation will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy," he said. "That will lead to the creation of new businesses and entire new industries."

The bill, which passed 219-212 with little Republican support Friday evening, aims to reduce nationwide greenhouse gas emissions 17 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050 through a so-called "cap-and-trade" program under which companies would buy and sell emissions credits.

In his own video address Saturday, House Minority leader John Boehner argued the bill would have the unintended consequence of devastating the country's battered industrial base while pushing polluting industries to countries with lower environmental standards.

Full text of Obama address after the jump

FULL POST


Filed under: President Obama
June 27th, 2009
10:05 AM ET
June 27th, 2009
08:58 AM ET
5 years ago

Climate bill's hot talk


WASHINGTON (CNN) - Despite the House Democrats narrowly winning approval Friday night of a bill aimed at controlling global warming, they faced the reality that there are some things that they just can't control: Republican Leader John Boehner.

Democrats spent much of the week tweaking the climate change and energy bill in order to secure the support of wavering colleagues, with the alterations being placed in a 301-page amendment which was added to a nearly 1,200 page bill. Such legislative horsetrading is commonplace, but what upset the Republicans was that the amendment wasn't released until 3:09 am Friday morning.

Acting in protest, Boehner took to the House floor and began talking. And talking. And talking.

"This is the biggest job-killing bill that has ever been on the floor of the House of Representatives. Right here. This bill," Boehner, R-Ohio, thundered.

He then pulled out the 301-page amendment and began reading.

"I didn't get past the first page, where on line 5, 'strike 1992 and insert 1988' and on line 13, 'strike 1992 and insert 1988,'" he drolly read. "What is the impact of this day change?"

In all, Boehner spoke for one hour.

FULL POST


Filed under: John Boehner
June 27th, 2009
07:24 AM ET