(CNN) - A reluctant Robert Gibbs struck back sharply Monday at those who continue to question whether President Obama was born in the United States, saying nothing the White House can do will put the issue to rest.
"No, the God's honest truth is no - let's understand this," Gibbs, the White House press secretary, said when a reporter asked if there is anything more the administration can do to satisfy those who question where the president was born.
"I almost hate to indulge in such an august setting as the White House briefing room discussing the made up fictional nonsense of whether the president was born in this country," Gibbs continued. "A year and a half ago, I asked that the birth certificate be put on the Internet. Because Lord knows if you got a birth certificate and you put it on the internet, what else could be the story?
"Here's the deal. If I had some DNA, it wouldn't assuage those who don't believe he was born here," Gibbs also said. "I have news for them and all of us. The president was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, the 50th state of the greatest country on the face of the earth. He is a citizen."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - House Democrats on Monday hailed a new report by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office that they said proves Republicans are misinforming the public about the effects of health care reform.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other party leaders said at a news conference the report shows that a government-funded public option for health insurance would increase the number of people getting employer-provided coverage. Most Republicans contend a government option would wipe out private competitors.
"We've heard that the reform would represent a government takeover of health care," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland said of Republican claims. "In point of fact, exactly the opposite is true."
Pelosi repeated her insistence that the chamber would pass a bill that contains the public option, but she softened on the timing, saying it would happen when appropriate. Previously, Pelosi had pushed for a House vote on the measure before the chamber goes on August recess at the end of this week.
"I said I wanted a bill to pass before the recess. I've also said members need the time they need to not only get the bill written and also to review it," Pelosi noted, adding that House members need to see what direction the Senate is heading on its proposals.
"We're on schedule to either do it now or do it whenever," the California legislator said.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama lobbied the head of soccer's governing body Monday for the World Cup to return to the United States in 2018 or 2022.
Obama welcomed FIFA President Joseph "Sepp" Blatter to the White House for a half-hour meeting, according to a White House statement.
The president urged Blatter to give "strong consideration" to holding the tournament for global soccer supremacy in the United States after the upcoming World Cups in South Africa next year and Brazil in 2014, the statement said.
The United States last hosted the World Cup in 1994.
Obama also thanked Blatter for inviting him to attend next year's World Cup, but stopped short of committing himself, saying he hoped his schedule would allow it, the statement said.
In addition, Obama thanked Blatter for the gift of soccer balls for his daughters Sasha and Malia, who both play the game, according to the statement.
– CNN White House Producer Jamie Crawford contributed to this report
(CNN) - Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Kentucky, announced Monday he would not run for re-election in 2010, blaming GOP leaders for his campaign's struggle to gain traction and its poor fundraising performance over the last year.
"To win a general election, a candidate has to be able to raise millions of dollars to get the message out to voters," Bunning said in a statement. "Over the past year, some of the leaders of the Republican Party in the Senate have done everything in their power to dry up my fundraising."
"The simple fact is that I have not raised the funds necessary to run an effective campaign for the U.S. Senate," Bunning continued. "For this reason, I will not be a candidate for re-election in 2010."
The 77-year-old Hall of Fame pitcher has openly butted heads with his party's leadership since initially declaring earlier this year his intention to seek a third Senate term. Both Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the National Republican Senatorial Committee had been tepid on a re-election bid for Bunning, who narrowly escaped defeat in 2004 and was likely to face stiff competition next year.
In conference calls with members of the media earlier this year, Bunning called McConnell a "control freak" and pledged to sue the National Republican Senatorial Committee if they supported another Republican candidate.
Bunning was also quick to hit back at McConnell earlier this year when the Republican leader suggested Bunning's age could be a factor in his re-election bid.
"Do you know Arlen Specter will be 80, has had four bouts with cancer and he still wants to run for the U.S. Senate?" Bunning told reporters last May. "And I'm being criticized at 77 and healthy for wanting to run for the U.S. Senate by certain leadership people in my party. Give me a break."
(CNN) – Ailing Senator Ted Kennedy, trying to help push health care reform as he recovers at his Massachusetts home from brain cancer, is talking to President Obama about the legislation.
Kennedy spokesman Anthony Coley confirmed to CNN that the President and Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) have spoken twice in the last two weeks.
Coley said Kennedy is closely watching developments on Capitol Hill from his home on Cape Cod. He monitors health care reform congressional hearings on television and reads daily news clips on the issue sent to him by his office staff, Coley said.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sarah Palin's out of office, but she's still in the crosshairs: a new MoveOn ad released the day after she officially stepped down takes aim at the former Alaska governor over her stand on President Obama's energy bill.
"Now that Palin has more free time, she has a new pet project, standing in the way of millions of new American green jobs," says the narrator in the 30-second spot.
Two weeks ago, Palin penned a Washington Post op-ed criticizing the president's position on "cap-and-trade" legislation. MoveOn began fundraising for an ad campaign against her just hours after the piece was published, but didn't launch the 30-second spot until Monday.
(CNN) – Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Monday he will vote against confirming Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.
"I had hoped to be able to vote for Judge Sotomayor to be the next Justice on the Supreme Court, but after a thorough review of the hearing record and her cases, speeches and writings, I have come to the conclusion that I cannot support Judge Sotomayor’s nomination," Grassley said.
It will be the first no vote for Grassley on a Supreme Court nominee in the Iowa Republican's three-decade Senate career.
Full statement after the jump
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama hosted the 2008 WNBA Champion Detroit Shock at the White House Monday and thanked the team for helping to pave the way for female athletes like his daughters.
"[My daughters] look at the TV and they see me watching SportsCenter and they see young women who look like them on the screen," Obama said. "[…] And it makes my daughters look at themselves differently; to see that they can be champions, too."
Obama highlighted the team's community service efforts in the Detroit community where they have given free tickets to underprivileged kids, mentored abused women and children, donated school supplies to foster kids and restored a tattered library.
The 2008 title was the Shock's third in six years. They were also WNBA champions in 2003 and 2006.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sarah Palin spent her busy final weekend as governor in Alaska at picnics and preparing for her final speech - but still found time for tweeting. Palin was on her Blackberry this weekend sending out final tweets from her governor's account @akgovsarahpalin. Here are some highlights:
(See tweets after the jump, and updates from CNN's Chris Welch)
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Republican National Committee will spend nearly $1 million on campaign activities over the next month in an effort to cast doubt on President Obama's proposal to reform health care, a GOP official tells CNN.
The Republican campaign will include television commercials already running in Arkansas, Nevada and North Dakota and new radio ads announced Friday that will air in 33 states.
The RNC did not reveal Friday who the radio ads would target, but CNN has learned the 60 second commercials will run against 60 House Democrats.
"The Democrats targeted by the RNC radio ad have campaigned on fiscal responsibility, and now these Democrats are being held accountable to their campaign promises as they prepare to vote on a government-run health care bill that will cost American taxpayers $1.6 trillion, add to the record budget deficit and burden American families and small businesses with higher taxes," RNC spokeswoman Gail Gitcho told CNN.
In addition, the GOP will engage in tele-town hall meetings, Web ads, and other grassroots activity over the congressional recess, Gitcho said.
Full list of Democrats targeted in ad campaign after the jump: