(CNN) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday she will travel to the epicenter of Africa's longest war Tuesday to try to help victims of more than a decade of regional conflict.
Clinton will fly on a United Nations plane to Goma in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo because the U.S. plane for her seven-nation Africa trip is too big, she told reporters.
The Congo conflict has involved several countries and resulted in an estimated 5 million deaths from fighting and collateral problems such as disease and starvation, according to an International Rescue Committee survey conducted more than a year ago. In addition, tens of thousands of women have been raped in the ongoing regional strife stoked by competition for mineral riches.
"I will be pressing very hard for not just assistance to help those who are being abused and mistreated, in particular the women who are turned into weapons of war through the rape they experience, but also looking for ways to try to end this conflict," Clinton said.
She spoke to reporters while flying from Angola to Kinshasa, the Congo capital, after meeting with Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos on the third leg of her 11-day trip.
MEXICO CITY, Mexico (CNN) - President Obama will meet with the leaders of Mexico and Canada on Monday, with the three expected to discuss a broad range of issues.
Obama arrived in Guadalajara, Mexico's second-largest city, Sunday evening for the day and a half of talks with Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. They are not expected to make any major announcements.
In the days leading up the North American Leaders' Summit, officials said the trio would discuss the economy, drug violence and the environment. They are expected to hold a joint news conference at 12:30 p.m. ET Monday.
"The themes of this summit are: one, economic recovery and competitiveness; two, citizen safety and security; and three, clean energy and climate change. All are core priorities of this administration," Gen. James Jones, U.S. national security adviser, said before the summit.
More than 4,000 policemen and soldiers were maintaining a security perimeter around the building where the meetings were to take place.
(CNN) - Interesting tests for President Obama on the world and domestic stages top the look at the week ahead, but the nation's political mood could be shaped just as much by the earnings reports from a few big retailers.
Last week, Obama found a glimmer of hope in the Labor Department report showing a small dip in the national unemployment rate and a less drastic bleeding of jobs from the economy. To be clear, 247,000 more Americans were thrown out of work in July. But the number of job losses had been double that or more in some months of late, so the White House saw the change as evidence the worst is over.
But consumer confidence remains low, something Republican pollster Bill McInturff believes will be a drag on Obama's political standing for some time.
As McInturff put it: "I've done a lot of work looking at consumer confidence, and there's only been four times since post-World War II that numbers have been this bad. Every other time that they've been this bad, it's taken between two to four years to improve.
"We've had 17 months. We have a long, long way to go, historically, before these numbers get better. And the problem for the president is not this year but next summer. And by next summer, people are going to have, kind of, a fuzzy memory of George Bush, and it will be the 'Obama Administration economy'."
With that in mind, it won't just be Wall Street looking deep for any evidence of an uptick in spending when Wal-Mart, Macy's and JC Penney, among others, release their earnings.
Obama opens the week in Mexico for a summit with the leaders of Mexico and Canada. The economy will be the top issue, and other items on the agenda include preparations for the next wave of the H1N1 flu virus and efforts to help Mexico deal with its drug cartel violence.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Senate’s second-ranking Democrat slammed recent town hall protests Sunday as organized disruptions of the democratic process.
“We have these screaming groups on either side. That isn't helpful. Let's be honest about this. Town meetings are not bean bag, I've had hundreds of them and sometimes folks get upset. And that's part of America, part of our process,” Sen. Dick Durbin told CNN’s John King on “State of the Union.”
“But this is clearly being orchestrated and these folks have instructions. They come down from a Texas lobbyist in Washington..." he said.
"When there are a group of people honestly sitting in the middle trying to ask the important questions and get the right answers, and instead someone takes the microphone and screams and shouts to the point where the meeting comes to an end, that isn't dialogue, that isn't the democratic process. You know, we need to respect free speech, but we need to respect one another's rights to free speech too. When these people come in just to disrupt the meetings, no, that isn't right.”
The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.
For the latest political news: www.CNNPolitics.com.
CNN: King: Will retailers deliver good news this week?
Interesting tests for President Obama on the world and domestic stages top the look at the week ahead, but the nation's political mood could be shaped just as much by the earnings reports from a few big retailers.
CNN: Obama in Mexico for North American summit
President Obama arrived Sunday evening in Guadalajara, Mexico's second-largest city, for a day and a half of talks with Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
CNN: Sotomayor takes oath, becomes Supreme Court justice
Sonia Sotomayor, who rose from humble roots in a Bronx, New York, housing project to a high-powered legal career, was sworn in Saturday as the 111th justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
CNN: Durbin on town hall chaos — ‘This is clearly being orchestrated’
The Senate’s second-ranking Democrat slammed recent town hall protests Sunday as organized disruptions of the democratic process.
CNN: Dean on Palin’s health care claims: ‘She made that up’
Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean told CNN Sunday that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin had deliberately made up charges that the Obama administration’s health care bill would lead to euthanasia.
CNN: SOTU: I’m ready to battle Sestak ‘toe to toe,’ says Specter
Democrats are headed for a tough primary fight in Pennsylvania, Sen. Arlen Specter said Sunday, telling CNN he was ready to go “toe to toe” with primary opponent Rep. Joe Sestak.
CNN: Jones: U.S. believes Pakistani Taliban leader dead
The United States believes Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud was killed in a drone attack, the president's national security adviser said Sunday.
CNN: SOTU: Rice won’t rule out troubleshooting role for Bill Clinton
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said that the Obama administration was pleased with the result of former President Bill Clinton’s private mission that resulted in the release of American journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee – and wouldn’t rule out bringing him back on board in a more official role in the future.