WASHINGTON (CNN) – The U.S. government has no right to restrict Americans from traveling to Cuba, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said Thursday.
"It is the only country in the world where our people are not allowed to go," said Rep. Howard Berman, D-California, at the start of a hearing on whether it is time to lift the travel ban.
"Let's face it. By any objective measure, the nearly 50-year-old travel ban simply hasn't worked," Berman said, referring to the Communist nation's refusal to embrace democracy.
Washington (CNN) - With less than a year to go until crucial mid-term contests, the Republican National Committee says they've raised what they call an off-election year record of money last month.
The RNC reports Thursday morning that they raked in $8.79 million in October, with $11.2 million cash on hand and no debt. The RNC says it has now topped one million active donors and that as of November 11, it has registered a record 305,000 new contributors this year.
The $8.79 million is up slightly from the $8.74 million the RNC says they raised in September. The $11.2 million in the bank is down nearly $8 million from the start of October, which reflects the large amounts of money the RNC spent last month to help Republican candidates in this November's contests. Republican gubernatorial candidates in New Jersey and Virginia both won, grabbing back two seats held by Democrats.
President Obama greeted US troops at Osan Air Base, south of Seoul, Thursday. (Getty Images)
Seoul, South Korea (CNN) - President Obama wrapped up an eight-day tour of Asia on Thursday, holding talks with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and speaking to American troops at Osan Air Base.
Nuclear negotiations involving North Korea and Iran highlighted a news conference held by the leaders.
Obama announced that he will send American envoy Stephen Bosworth to North Korea on December 8 for bilateral talks on dismantling Pyongyang's nuclear program.
"If North Korea is prepared to take concrete and irreversible steps to fulfill its obligations and eliminate its nuclear weapons program, the United States will support economic assistance and help promote its full integration into the community of nations," Obama said. "That opportunity and respect will not come with threats. North Korea must live up to its obligations."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sarah Palin on Wednesday sent out her first tweet in nearly four months on a new Twitter account associated with her book tour.
She tweeted from a BlackBerry at 11:04 p.m. ET: "Michigan-thx 4 Going Rogue! Perfect tour kickoff w/Kid Rock tune praising Northern MI humming in backgrnd @ Barnes/Noble. Above expectations."
The former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate launched a bus tour for her new book, "Going Rogue: An American Life," which is already a bestseller. The tour started Wednesday in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Palin's last tweet occurred from an account associated with Alaska's governorship. When she resigned in late July, the @AKGovSarahPalin went dormant and Palin switched to sending out frequent Facebook messages.
This week, her old Twitter account sent a message, saying @AKGovSarahPalin would be removed and Palin would begin tweeting from a new account: @SarahPalinUSA.
Palin has more than 22,000 people following her new account. More than 153,000 people followed her original account.
Washington (CNN) – A majority of Americans think that authorities could have prevented the deadly attack at Fort Hood, Texas, according to a new national poll.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey indicates that 64 percent of the public believes that federal law enforcement agencies or the U.S. military should have been able to prevent the shootings, with 31 percent saying the incident couldn't have been prevented.
Authorities say Nidal Hasan, a U.S. Army psychiatrist, opened fire at a military processing center at the Fort Hood army post, killing 13 people. Dozens of others were wounded.
"All major demographic groups seem to believe that the attack at Fort Hood was preventable," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "A majority of men and women, old and young, Democrats and Republicans - all think Hasan could have been stopped."
(CNN) – Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to buy Sarah Palin's just-released memoir, but don't count President Obama among them.
In an interview with CNN's Ed Henry in China, the president acknowledged Wednesday he would not be reading the highly-anticipated memoir by his potential 2012 opponent.
"I probably won't, but I don't get a chance to read things other than briefing books very often these days anyway," he said.
Obama also suggested he views the former Alaska governor as a credible candidate should she decide to seek the presidency in a couple of years.
"You know, she obviously has a big constituency in the Republican Party," he said. "You know, there a lot of people who are excited by her."
But when it comes to the 2012 race, Obama didn't discount the possibility he may sit out on a reelection bid.
"You know, if - if I feel like I've made the very best decisions for the American people and three years from now I look at it and, you know, my poll numbers are in the tank and because we've gone through these wrenching changes, you know, politically, I'm in a tough spot, I'll - I'll feel all right about myself," Obama told CNN's Ed Henry during an interview in China.
Related: North Korea, trade on agenda as Obama visits South Korea
"I said to myself very early on, even when I started running for office, I don't want to be making decisions based on getting reelected, because I think the challenges that America faces right now are so significant," the president also said. "Obviously, if I make those decisions and I think that I'm moving the country on the right direction economically, in terms of our security interests, our foreign policy, I'd like to think that those policies are continued because they're not going to bear fruit just in four years."
But in the next breath the president quickly sounded like someone who would relish taking his case to the American people in 2012, saying he's tackling big issues like health care and Iran that he's confident will bear fruit in the future.
The last president not to seek reelection was Lyndon Johnson in 1968.
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: Senate leader unveils $849 billion health care bill
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid unveiled a sweeping health care bill Wednesday that would expand health insurance coverage to 30 million more Americans at an estimated cost of $849 billion over 10 years.
CNNMoney: 1 million jobless face benefits loss in January
One million people could lose unemployment benefits in January if Congress doesn't extend federal aid, according to a report released Wednesday. The report is likely to turn up pressure on lawmakers and the president, who earlier this month enacted a record-long extension of federally paid benefits. But the law only helps those who exhaust their lifelines by year's end.
New York Times: Obama Demands Results From Afghan Reforms
President Obama sent his top diplomat to Afghanistan on Wednesday to press President Hamid Karzai to deliver “measurable results” on governance and corruption as the White House prepared specific new demands to accompany an American troop buildup.
Newsweek: 'Heads I Win, Tails You Lose': In 9/11 Case, KSM Won't Walk Free Even If Found Not Guilty
Attorney General Eric Holder acknowledged on Wednesday a previously unspoken proviso to the controversial decision to try alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four co-conspirators in a federal court in New York: even if the defendants are somehow acquitted, they will still stay behind bars.
Washington Post: Sides gear up for fight over U.S. ban on travel to Cuba
A battle over Cuba policy is escalating in Congress, with proponents saying they have their best chance in years of repealing the ban on U.S. tourist travel to the island.
The State: Panel finds probable cause for charges against Sanford
A state ethics panel has found evidence Gov. Mark Sanford may have broken state law, charging him with "several" undisclosed violations after an investigation into his travel and campaign spending.