Washington (CNN) – Vice President Biden on Friday fired back at criticism from his predecessor, former Vice President Cheney, that President Obama is "dithering" over his decision about whether to send up to 40,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan.
"I like Dick Cheney personally but I really don't care what Dick Cheney thinks and I'm not sure a lot of Americans do," Biden said in an exclusive interview with CNN. "Look at the policy they left us, look at the policy of neglect they left us in Afghanistan, look at the policy we inherited in terms of their foreign policy...I think the President is doing exactly what any president should do."
October has turned out to be the deadliest month of the war so far, and Biden said the president needs the appropriate time to get the strategy right. He said the situation on the ground has changed because the Taliban is "taking advantage of a chaotic election process that took place in Afghanistan."
Biden added, "Any thoughtful president should be sitting down saying, 'Okay what is the strategy we have to employ with these changed circumstances?' And then look at the tactic that will best accomplish that. The President has great faith in the military."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Pentagon will offer the H1N1 vaccination to detainees at the U.S. facility at Guantanamo Bay, officials there said Friday.
The Pentagon made the decision based on U.S. government assessments that people held in detention facilities are at high risk for the pandemic, said Maj. Diana R. Haynie, a spokeswoman for Joint Task Force Guantanamo Bay, which is in charge of holding the suspected terrorists.
"Detainees at JTF Guantanamo are considered to be at higher risk and therefore they will be offered the H1N1 vaccination," Haynie said.
"JTF Guantanamo conducts safe, humane, legal and transparent care and custody of detainees. As such, we must provide detainees the medical care necessary to maintain their health," she said.
(CNN) – San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom announced Friday that he was ending his gubernatorial bid.
"It is with great regret I announce today that I am withdrawing from the race for governor of California," he said in a statement. "With a young family and responsibilities at city hall, I have found it impossible to commit the time required to complete this effort the way it needs to – and should be – done."
Earlier this month, former President Bill Clinton had endorsed Newsom, running against California Attorney General Jerry Brown. Brown and Clinton were themselves primary rivals in the 1992 presidential campaign, when Clinton defeated the former governor in California's presidential primary.
Clinton weighed in on another Democratic primary race earlier this year, when he backed former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe's unsuccessful bid for the party's gubernatorial nomination in Virginia.
In the behind-the-scenes interview, Gibbs described the president's "3 a.m. wake-up call" moment last April, when word came in the early morning hours that the North Koreans had conducted a nuclear missile test.
"We all were in a room in - on the first foreign trip in Prague in the Czech Republic - when we were notified of the North Koreans testing a long-range missile, something we'd expected to happen over a certain amount of time," Gibbs said. "And I think it was about 4:00 in the morning we were in there and we then discussed that and I went to wake him up and he soon joined all of us in getting intelligence briefings from in the room as well as back in D.C."
Axelrod said Obama proceeded to get "a read up on the military people, [get] on the line with Secretary Gates, General Cartwright I think. And then he says, "OK, here's what we're going to do."
The full interview is set to air Monday throughout The Situation Room beginning at 4 p.m. ET.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) – The Obama administration said Friday that stimulus has created or saved 640,000 jobs so far.
But what does that mean exactly? Have that many people been hired? Here's a quick guide to understanding just what those numbers mean:
1) How are the jobs calculated? It isn't as simple as "one person hired equals one job created," or even "one person retained equating to one job saved."
The government instructed stimulus recipients to report jobs created or saved as "full-time equivalents." If that sounds complicated ... it is.
Full-time equivalents are calculated by adding up the total number of man hours being funded by stimulus for the duration of the contract. That number is then divided by the total number of hours a regular full-time employee would work during the same time period.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Barack Obama huddled with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other top military advisers at the White House on Friday as the administration continued its sweeping review of U.S. strategy in Afghanistan.
Each branch of the armed services was given a direct opportunity to tell Obama the effect on the military if a large number of additional forces are sent to Afghanistan, two military sources told CNN's Barbara Starr.
The meeting was the seventh in a series of high-level discussions being held in part to forge a new consensus on how best to confront Taliban and al Qaeda militants threatening the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
"The president wants to get input from different services," White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said earlier this week. "It's a chance to consult with uniformed military leadership as a part of his [Afghanistan-Pakistan] review."
Princeton, New Jersey (CNN) - Chris Daggett is a political novice yet has the routine down pat: Approach a morning commuter, extend his hand and a good-morning greeting, and pick a question from his repertoire:
"Are you a voter?"
"Are you happy with Jon Corzine?"
The shaking head is a preview of the answer: "I'm not happy with anybody."
The man tells Daggett he has a doctorate in education; Daggett talks about his promise to invest more in higher education if elected governor.
"Thanks - hope you'll consider voting for me," Daggett says.
All standard fare, until Daggett hands the man some campaign literature. Stapled to the back: a guide to the different places Daggett's name can be found on the ballot in each of New Jersey's 21 counties.
(CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden is heading back to New York's 23rd congressional district to campaign for Democrat Bill Owens the day before Tuesday's special election.
With the Republican Party split between party-backed Dede Scozzafava and Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman, recent surveys suggests Owens is in the lead – giving Democrats a rare shot at a pickup in this solidly-Republican upstate district.
Owens, who is running to replace Rep. John McHugh, who resigned earlier this year to serve as Obama's Secretary of the Army.
Biden, who also campaigned with Owens in September, will appear in Watertown. Earlier this month, President Obama made an appearance at a fundraiser for Owens in New York City.
–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Two senators are taking another shot at crafting a law that would protect journalists from having to reveal the identity of their sources.
Democratic Sens. Arlen Specter and Charles Schumer released details Friday of a revised version of the Free Flow of Information Act, which would provide a federal legal protection to reporters who refuse to reveal their confidential sources from being fined or imprisoned.
President Obama came under fire earlier this month for weakening an earlier shield law proposal by modifying a safeguard that would force prosecutors to exhaust all other options before making a reporter testify in court. Under the administration's version at the time, reporters would not be protected if executive branch believed the source's information caused "significant" harm to national security.
Schumer said this version of the bill provides new provisions to help the government protect national security interests while providing legal protection for journalists. More specifically, the government would have to prove to a judge that compelling a reporter to give up a confidential source would help the government in "preventing or mitigating" a future act of terrorism, according to excerpts of the bill.
"This new version preserves a strong protection for reporters interested in protecting their sources, while also making sure that the government can still do the job of protecting its citizens," Schumer said in a statement. "This agreement should expedite this bill's movement through committee and the full Senate."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The White House is continuing to downplay the notion that the Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial races are referendums on President Obama as he heads into next year's midterm elections.
"Whatever the results are I don't think they portend a lot in dealing with the future," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters in Friday's briefing.
In Virginia, polls indicate that Republican Bob McDonnell is holding onto a clear lead over Democrat Creigh Deeds. The picture is muddier in New Jersey, where surveys suggest a statistical dead heat between Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine and his Republican challenger, Chris Christie, with Independent Chris Daggett in the low double digits.
"In 2001, if I'm not mistaken, in Virginia and New Jersey, a Democrat won in either one of those," Gibbs continued. "I don't think anybody thought that when they looked at the election results in 2002 they thought that President Bush was signicantly hampered by that."