(CNN) - Adm. Michael Mullen, the highest-ranking man in the U.S. military, said the situation in Afghanistan is getting worse, as fresh indications emerge that President Obama soon could be asked to commit more American troops.
"I think it is serious and it is deteriorating. And I've said that over the last couple of years, that the Taliban insurgency has gotten better, more sophisticated. Their tactics, just in my recent visits out there and talking with our troops, certainly indicate that," Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."
Obama has called the situation in Afghanistan a "war of necessity," and senior U.S. military officials said the latest military assessment shows that the Taliban exert "considerable influence" over a third of the country's landmass. But in the United States, support for the Afghanistan war is at an all-time low, according to CNN polling released this month.
Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. general in Afghanistan, has been conducting an assessment of the progress of Obama's mission there. McChrystal is expected to present his review in the coming weeks.
Asked if the president is concerned there might not be enough troops on the ground, White House spokesman Bill Burton said that Obama laid out a "winning strategy" earlier this year and that the administration would wait for McChrystal's assessment and "make a decision accordingly."
The Pentagon has said no decision has been made regarding whether McChrystal will ask for more troops, but members of a congressional delegation who met with him said there's no doubt he will.
(CNN) - The White House has said President Obama plans to play golf and spend time with his family during his week away from Washington.
But it appears the president also wants to get some reading in: a lot of it.
White House spokesman Bill Burton told reporters Monday Obama's vacation reading list comprises five books, including tomes from New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman and historian David McCullough.
In all, the books on Obama's list total around 2,300 pages - meaning the president would have to read close to 300 pages each day of his week-long vacation to polish off the list.
Should Obama prefer to listen to the books on his iPod, four are available in audio format with a total running time of nearly 40 hours.
Full list according to the White House:
"The Way Home" by George Pelecanos
"Hot, Flat, and Crowded" by Thomas Friedman
"Lush Life" by Richard Price
"Plainsong" by Kent Haruf
"John Adams" by David McCullough
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Cash for Clunkers is just about at the end of the road.
The government-funded rebate program, popular with consumers, comes to its official completion on Monday.
Dealers have until 8 p.m. to file claims for any deals. The government will not extend the deadline for filing claims, the Department of
Transportation said Monday morning.
The U.S. Department of Transportation had received 625,000 applications from dealers for Cash for Clunkers vouchers totaling $2.58 billion as of Monday morning, the DOT said.
(CNN) - Elizabeth Edwards, a vigorous proponent of health care reform and the wife of former presidential candidate John Edwards, is putting politics aside in her new job.
Edwards officially opened a furniture store in Chapel Hill over the weekend, something she has long wanted to do.
"My mother had a charity store when I was growing up where she got Japanese antiques and sold them," Edwards told CNN affiliate WTVD.
The store, called Red Window, sells a variety of antique pieces at discount prices, Edwards said.
"I try to go to High Point and buy good things at a great price," she told WTVD. "Sometimes that means I've got to buy a lot of them, but then pass the good price along to customers here in Chapel Hill."
John Edwards was also on hand for the store's opening, but refused to answer questions about his political future or the ongoing controversy surrounding his affair onetime campaign aide Rielle Hunter.
"[I am] doing the things I need to do with my family, helping Elizabeth, support what she's doing here," he said.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth Edwards dismissed the latest reports on the matter as "tabloid news."
"Tabloid news is tabloid news," she told the station. "We just have a family to run and now a business to run as well, so we just keep our eye on that ball and try to ignore what supermarket tabloids have to say."
(CNN) –– As President Obama begins his vacation in Martha's Vineyard this week, the fiery debate over health care reform continues to rage.
The latest member of congress to wade into the issue is California Rep. Maxine Waters, a liberal Democrat who at a town hall over the weekend implored the president not to drop the public option plan and said his efforts at bipartisanship are futile.
"Yes, we know that you are a nice man, that you want to work with the opposite side of the aisle. But there comes a time when you need to drop that and move forward," she said. "We're saying to you, Mr. President, 'Be tough. Use everything that you've got. Do what you have to do. And we have your back.' "
The longtime congresswoman, whose district includes much of Los Angeles, also described some senators who are opposed to the health care reform bill as "Neanderthals."
Earlier: Lieberman warns Obama not to do too much
"Not only are we going to do everything we can to organize and put pressure on the senators - some of whom are Neanderthals - we're going to say to the president, 'We want you to use every weapon in your basket in order to get those senators to do what they should be doing,' " she said.
The comments were met with strong applause in the forum held at L.A. Southwest College, a community college that that abuts several impoverished neighborhoods.
(CNN) "No Public Events," is the headline of the White House in the week ahead, as President Obama and the first family look to enjoy a summer break on Martha's Vineyard.
Presidential vacations, however, rarely are as peaceful and "news-free" as the commander in chief would like, so one thing to look for in the week ahead is how often we see Obama in a setting other than, say, the ice cream shop or enjoying the spectacular sunset off Menemsha.
And with the president and Congress on break, Washington should - emphasis "should" - have a week of relative calm.
WASHINGTON (CNN)– President Barack Obama’s wired White House is now in the seven figures category on Twitter.
“A million followers – nice,” the White House (@whitehouse) wrote in a short blast - known as a “tweet” - that was sent out Sunday afternoon. “What would you like to see more of from this feed? Photos? Quotes? Cowbell? Tell us @whitehouse.”
In crossing the 1 million-follower threshold on Twitter, the Obama administration official account still trails behind Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, Obama’s opponent in the 2008 elections.
But when you take into account all of the followers on Obama’s Twitter accounts, McCain is looking at the president’s back. Obama’s presidential campaign Twitter account (@BarackObama) has more than 2 million followers.
Editor's Note: PolitiFact.com is a project of the St. Petersburg Times that aims to help you find the truth in politics. Every day, reporters and researchers from the Times examine statements by members of Congress, the president, etc. They research their statements and then rate the accuracy on their Truth-O-Meter.
Who are the uninsured? Hatch's take.
If you don't count illegal aliens, people who qualify for other insurance, and people who make more than $75,000 a year, "it leaves about 15 million people" who are uninsured.
-Orrin Hatch on Wednesday, August 19th, 2009 in an interview on Fox News
The Truth-O-Meter says: HALF TRUE
The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.
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CNN: John King: Monday Memo: Presidential vacations rarely very peaceful
"No Public Events," is the headline of the White House in the week ahead, as President Obama and the first family look to enjoy a summer break on Martha's Vineyard.
CNN: Sources: Report to detail alleged abuse inside CIA secret prisons
CIA interrogators threatened an al Qaeda prisoner with a gun and an electric drill to try to scare him into giving up information, according to a long-concealed inspector-general's report due to be made public on Monday, sources familiar with the report confirmed to CNN.
CNN: Mullen: I was 'appalled' by release of Lockerbie bomber
A top military adviser to President Obama is deferring comment on the political or longer-term strategic implications of the recent release of the only man convicted of bombing Pan Am flight 103. But Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, expressed his personal displeasure Sunday at the release.
CNN: Schumer asks for U.N. condemnation of Libya
New York Senator Chuck Schumer appealed to the United Nations Saturday to condemn Libya's joyful welcome home for the Lockerbie bomber.
CNN: Senator to actor: 'Make my day'
Former Democrat Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut has a simple message for Hollywood actor Alec Baldwin: bring it on.
CNN: McCain says 'ambiguous' health bills fuel 'death panel' claims
Sen. John McCain says loose language in Democratic health-care bills fueled claims by his former running mate that the plan could lead to "death panels" for the elderly and handicapped.