Washington (CNN) – White House social secretary Desiree Rogers will not by testifying at Thursday's congressional hearing about the recent White House security breach, Robert Gibbs said Wednesday.
"Obviously there's an ongoing assessment and investigation by the Secret Service" into the breach that occurred during the Obama administration's first state dinner, the White House press secretary told reporters in his daily briefing, "We are working with and ready to work with anybody that has questions on that."
But, Gibbs added, "based on separation of powers, staff here don't go to testify in front of Congress. She will not be testifying in front Congress tomorrow."
Washington (CNN)– Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made light of months of speculation regarding her daughter's engagement Wednesday during the House Armed Services Committee hearing on Afghanistan.
When congratulated on her daughter's engagement by New York Congressman Gregory Meeks, Clinton responded saying, "Thank you, it was a very long, thoughtful process."
Speculation of Chelsea Clinton's engagement and marriage began swirling early last summer.
According to an email sent out by Chelsea Clinton announcing her engagement, she and longtime boyfriend Marc Mezvinsky are planning to get married next summer.
Sen. Evan Bayh also took time out of the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Afghanistan to congratulate Clinton.
–CNN's Emily Sherman contributed to this report.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - With rising unemployment stymying the president's economic revival plans, the Obama administration is huddling with business leaders, academics and other experts Thursday to find a way to jumpstart hiring.
Some 130 people will gather for the afternoon jobs summit at the White House on the eve of the government's November unemployment report. The nation is expected to have lost another 114,000 jobs, with unemployment remaining at 10.2%, the highest in 26 years, according to an economists' survey.
The employment picture is certainly grim. Nearly 16 million Americans are out of work, one-third of whom have been unemployed for more than six months. There are now six workers competing for every job vacancy.
President Obama and some lawmakers are searching for a way to stem this unrelenting loss of jobs, which is casting doubt on effectiveness of many of his economic programs, from his $787 billion stimulus plan to his $75 billion foreclosure prevention initiative.
"We are going to be bringing together people from all across the country ... to explore how we can jumpstart the hiring that typically lags behind economic growth, but we don't want to wait," Obama said last week.
(CNN) - As New York's state Senate defeated a bill that would legalize same sex marriages, a new poll indicates that just over half of state's voters favor the legislation.
According to a Marist College survey released Wednesday, 51 percent of people questioned said they favor legalizing gay marriage, with 42 percent opposed.
The poll's release came just hours before the state Senate rejected the legislation, which had already passed the state Assembly. New York Gov. David Paterson said he would have immediately signed the bill if it had made it to his office.
Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont and Iowa are currently the only states that legally allow same sex marriages. Earlier this year, Maine's state legislature voted to legalize gay marriages. But voters in Maine last month passed a referendum to overturn the new law. A vote Tuesday by the District of Columbia's city council moved Washington, D.C. one step closer to legalizing same sex marriages.
The Marist survey indicates a partisan divide on the issue, with two-thirds of Democrats supporting gay marriage and a nearly equal amount of Republicans opposed. According to the poll there's a geographic split as well, with 6 in 10 New York City voters supporting legalized same sex marriages, while voters in the suburbs and upstate are divided.
The Marist College poll was conducted Nov. 12, 16, and 17, with 805 New York State registered voters questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for the overall sample.
Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn
When it comes to Afghanistan, President Obama better be right. After months of meetings and criticism that he was "dithering" and "weak" on Afghanistan – he finally made what may be the most important decision of his presidency.
But the announcement to deploy 30,000 additional troops is cloaked in contradiction. We're going to rush more troops in so we can begin to rush them out in 18 months. The Taliban and al Qaeda will probably make a note of this timetable.
You don't suppose the decision to withdraw in July of 2011 would have anything to do with the President's 2012 re-election campaign do you?
There was no mention of how we're going to pay for this. The 30,000 additional troops will cost an additional $30 billion in the first year.
Where's that money going to come from? Some Democrats are calling for a so-called "war surtax." But With a fragile U.S. economy, an unemployment rate topping 10-percent, and a costly health care reform plan on the table – there may not be much appetite for that.
To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion, click here
(CNN) – The political arm for the nation's Democratic governors named Delaware Gov. Jack Markell its new chairman Wednesday, entrusting him with protecting 19 seats in 2010 as he also tries to help elect Democrats win 18 seats currently held by Republicans.
Markell takes the reins of the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) from Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer. Markell, who was elected in 2008, heads into a critical midterm election where control of redistricting is on the line.
"The American people haven't forgotten who drove the country into the ditch," Schweitzer said at a news briefing. "If their story is we're going to go back to the good old days of Bush and Cheney, they're going to lose more elections in this cycle than any in history."
(CNN) – The Arkansas coordinator for Mike Huckabee's political action committee resigned Tuesday, citing the former Arkansas governor's decision nine years ago to grant clemency to Maurice Clemmons, the man suspected of murdering four police officers in Washington state.
Jason Tolbert, who runs a conservative blog, served as Arkansas state coordinator for HuckPAC in a volunteer capacity.
"My departure was with a heavy heart but was done after serious prayer and consideration," Tolbert wrote on his Web site. "Some have asked about the timing. As most could imagine, the recent news of the last two days along with the response did play a role in this decision but was not the sole factor."
Huckabee said Tuesday he takes "full responsibility" for the clemency decision.
"I acted on the facts presented to me in 2000, the former GOP presidential hopeful said in a statement. "If I could have possibly known what Clemmons would do nine years later, I obviously would have made a different decision. But if the same file was presented to me today, I would have likely made the same decision."
Washington (CNN) - When President Obama took to the world stage to detail U.S. policy toward Afghanistan, he hammered home a key foreign policy principle: Success in Afghanistan is "inextricably linked to our partnership with Pakistan."
"We are in Afghanistan to prevent a cancer from once again spreading through that country," he said in his Tuesday night speech at West Point. "But this same cancer has also taken root in the border region of Pakistan. That is why we need a strategy that works on both sides of the border."
The United States says Pakistan looms large because Taliban and al Qaeda militants operating in Afghanistan also have had a presence in Pakistan's northwestern region near the Afghan border and have threatened the governments and troops in both countries.
One U.S. counterterrorism official told CNN the Afghan Taliban has bolstered its ranks, stepped up its attacks and increased its territory. In Pakistan, al Qaeda and other militants persist in planning strikes against U.S. interests in the region, the official said.
Washington (CNN)– Sen. Evan Bayh took time out of the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Afghanistan Wednesday to congratulate Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on her daughter's recent engagement.
"I haven't had a chance to see you since the news about your daughter was announced. Congratulations," Bayh said.
Earlier this week CNN confirmed Chelsea Clinton is engaged to longtime boyfriend Marc Mezvinsky.
Washington (CNN) - When Democratic Rep. Dennis Moore of Kansas announced last week that he would retire after next year rather than run for re-election, political analysts wondered if the move by the six term congressman would spark other retirements by fellow Democrats.
Eight days later, Rep. John Tanner, another centrist, is joining Moore. Tanner put out a statement saying he'll retire at the close of the 111th Congress. Tanner, who's represented Tennessee's 8th congressional district for 11 terms, is a founding member of the so-called "Blue Dogs," a group of House Democrats who promote centrist policies.
While Tanner ran unopposed in his last two re-election victories, John McCain won the district by 13 points in last year's presidential contest. But 14 of the 20 state lawmakers in the district are Democrats. The district is located in the northwest portion of Tennessee and includes Jackson.
Will Tanner's retirement present the GOP with an opportunity?
"With $1.4 million in the bank, John Tanner opted for retirement rather than be forced to defend the abysmal economic policies of the Obama-Pelosi agenda," Ken Spain, National Republican Congressional Committee Communications Director, tells CNN. "When a longtime incumbent such as Tanner – who hasn't faced a credible challenge in over decade – chooses to retire, it speaks to the deteriorating political environment that Democrats have left in their wake after eleven short months."