As the country struggles with the worst recession since the Great Depression and millions of Americans look for work - Congress is getting ready to spend some big bucks on private jets for itself.
The House has approved almost $200 million to buy three brand new Gulfstream jets - two of them meant for members of Congress and other top government officials. These jets can fly faster than 600-miles an hour; and can go non-stop from Washington to as far as China or Japan without refueling.
The Pentagon only requested one of these jets. But the House Appropriations Committee decided to add two additional planes - saying they should be assigned to the DC area.
Reports say the funding for these Gulfstream jets was pushed through by two members of the committee - both from Georgia, where they are made. One of these congressmen tells ABC News that buying the jets "supports local industry" and will mean jobs for his constituents.
To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion, click here
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The U.S. Senate on Thursday confirmed Judge Sonia Sotomayor as the first Hispanic justice on the Supreme Court.
Sotomayor was confirmed in 68-31 vote. Nine Republicans joined a unanimous Democratic caucus in supporting her nomination.
The 55-year-old federal appeals court judge will be the 111th person to sit on the high court, and the third woman justice.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new national poll indicates that support among Americans for the war in Afghanistan has hit a new low.
Forty-one percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Thursday say they favor the war in Afghanistan - down 9 points from May, when CNN polling suggested that half of the public supported the war. Fifty-four percent say they oppose the war in Afghanistan, up 6 points from May.
"Afghanistan is almost certainly the Obama policy that Republicans like the most," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Nearly two-thirds of Republicans support the war in Afghanistan. Three-quarters of Democrats oppose the war."
A record 44 United States troops were killed in Afghanistan in July, and 11 have been killed so far this month.
The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted 7/31-8/3, with 1,136 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points
–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report
(CNN) - Friday marks President Obama's 200th day in office, and in most respects, his second hundred days as president have been worse than the first 100.
Obama campaigned on bringing "change" to America, and during his first 200 days as president, his real definition of change is becoming absolutely clear to Americans.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - It was a heartwarming sight: Laura Ling and Euna Lee landing on U.S. soil and being reunited with their families.
Then, after an appropriate amount of time for hugs and kisses, Bill Clinton appeared, descending from his movie-producer friend's plane like an angel from heaven.
An emotional Ling practically referred to the former president as a messiah, describing to the media and well-wishers waiting at the airport how she and Lee thought they were being sent to a hard-labor camp, only to walk through a door to find Clinton. The crowd broke into loud applause.
For all of those who wondered what Bill would do in Hillary Clinton's diplomatic world, wonder no longer.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Liberal groups are sending supporters detailed instructions on strategies to counter what they call organized disruptions of congressional town halls - events that have become new front lines in the fight over President Obama's health care proposal.
Conservative groups critical of the overhaul headed into the August recess with their own battle plans for the events, sending opponents of the Democratic approach to health care reform information like links to search engines and lists that relayed the locations of upcoming town halls; confrontational questions to ask members of Congress; and chants and slogans to use in and around the venues.
The increasingly tense face-offs have grabbed headlines, and national Democrats have spent the week highlighting reports of everything from rowdy crowds to physical assaults and death threats directed at lawmakers who are current or prospective backers of the president's plan.
Over the past few days, groups like Health Care for America Now, the AFL-CIO - which is describing the town halls as the "principal battleground" in the health care fight - and Organizing for America, the president's campaign arm at the Democratic National Committee, have sent supporters logistical tips for dealing with any hostile conservative presence at the town halls, and for organizing lobbying efforts to neutralize their impact.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Barack Obama hopes to help out a fellow Democrat tonight, as the president makes his first appearance on the campaign trail this year in Virginia, where his party's trying to hold onto the governor's office.
The president's the main attraction at a fundraiser and rally in McLean, Virginia for Creigh Deeds, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate in this November's election. The state senator is locked in what polls suggest is a tough contest with Republican Bob McDonnell, the former state attorney general. Virginia's incumbent governor, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine, is term-limited and can't run for re-election.
This will be Obama's second campaign event since taking over as president in January. Last month, the president teamed up with New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, who faces a tough re-election battle this year, at a campaign rally in the Garden State.
On the same day Obama was stumping for Corzine, Vice President Joe Biden headlined a fundraiser in Richmond, Virginia for Deeds.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Four fiscally conservative Democrats, who voted in committee to back President Obama's health care plan, are now facing a fresh round of attacks from the Republican National Committee.
The self described "Blue Dog Democrats" - Reps. Bart Gordon of Tennessee, Zack Space of Ohio, Baron Hill of Indiana, and Mike Ross of Arkansas – are targeted in a new 60-second radio campaign that slams them for voting for the health care proposal in the Energy and Commerce Committee.
"He folded like a lawn chair. [Congressman NAME]. He threw in the towel. [Congressman NAME] did exactly what Nancy Pelosi wanted him to do," says the narrator in the RNC ad. "He caved in. He buckled.
NEW YORK (CNN) - Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has signed a deal with St. Martin's Press to publish his new book, the publishing company announced Tuesday.
Romney, also a former contender for the Republican presidential nomination, has already written the book, called "No Apology: The Case for American Greatness." In the book, set to come out in March 2010, Romney discusses his "vision of a renewed America" and lay out his views on the economy, health care, energy and education, according to St. Martin's Press.
Romney is considered an early frontrunner for the White House race in 2012, according to recent polls, and raised $1.6 million through his political action committee in the first half of this year.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - If the White House was downplaying President Obama's first 100 days, it's downright ignoring the second hundred.
"It's the second hundred days?" quipped a senior administration official when told about the approaching date.
On reflection, the official was only too willing to take us behind the scenes as he settled back into his desk chair.
Two hundred days in, "the incline on the treadmill is not as steep," the official said, but added, "it's still moving very fast."
Obama has not slowed since coming into office. Restructuring the auto industry, a speech to the Muslim world in Cairo, Egypt, and his big push to get health care reform are just a few of the president's ambitious efforts since the last "Hallmark holiday."
Get a preview of CNN's look at Obama's second 100 days with Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley
CNN takes a look at Obama's second 100 days tonight 8 p.m. ET.