WASHINGTON (CNN) - Hours before Barack Obama is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, a new national poll indicates that fewer Americans than ever think the president deserves the award. But according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey, a majority of the public believes the president will eventually accomplish enough to merit the honor.
Nineteen percent of people questioned in the poll released Wednesday afternoon say Obama currently deserves the prize, with another 35 percent saying that it's likely he will eventually accomplish enough in office to deserve the award. Still, greater than four in 10 believe the president will never deserve the prize.
The 19 percent who believe Obama deserves the award is down 13 points from a CNN poll conducted in October, soon after the award was announced.
ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) - Atlanta mayoral candidate Mary Norwood conceded the close race Wednesday after a recount yielded her only one additional vote, not nearly enough to overcome challenger Kasim Reed.
The elections board Saturday declared former state senator Reed the winner of the mayoral race after last week's runoff vote, but a recount stalled his official victory. According to the recount, Reed received 42,549 votes and Atlanta councilwoman Norwood racked up 41,835 votes, said Barry Garner, director of Fulton County's elections board - a difference of only 714 votes.
Garner said that although Norwood picked up a vote, he thinks the new results are accurate.
Norwood said she had called Reed and congratulated him on the win.
"The recount results are final and it is now time to accept the certification of the votes that were cast," Norwood said during her concession speech. "Losing is never easy, but given the closeness of this race it was always a possibility."
In the initial vote among eight contenders, Norwood received 45 percent of the votes to Reed's 37 percent. Lisa Borders came in a distant third with 14 percent of the vote, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
A candidate needs 50 percent plus one vote to avert a runoff.
–CNN's Aaron Cooper contributed to this report.
Washington (CNN) - A deal negotiated by Senate Democrats to drop the controversial government-run public insurance option for a package of health care alternatives won praise Wednesday from President Barack Obama, but opposition from key interest groups.
In remarks at a White House event, Obama said the agreement created "a new framework that I believe will help pave the way for final passage" of what he called historic health care reform legislation.
"I support this effort, especially since it's aimed at increasing choice and competition and lowering cost," Obama said.
Earlier, White House spokesman Reid Cherlin said the senators "are making great progress and we're pleased that they're working together to find common ground toward options that increase choice and competition."
Atlanta, Georgia (CNN) - Atlanta mayoral candidate Mary Norwood picked up one vote after a recount Wednesday of the close election, but it was far from enough to put her ahead of challenger Kasim Reed.
The elections board Saturday declared former state senator Reed the winner of the mayoral race after last week's runoff vote, but a recount stalled his official victory. According to the recount, Reed received 42,549 votes and Atlanta councilwoman Norwood racked up 41,835 votes, said Barry Garner, director of Fulton County's elections board.
The top candidates are now separated by 714 tallies.
Garner said that although Norwood picked up a vote, he thinks the new results are accurate. The board will meet to certify and then declare the winner Thursday, he said.
London, England (CNN) - Few American presidents have been greeted with the enthusiasm Europe demonstrated for Barack Obama on his election. In part, it was a reaction against his predecessor - George W. was never loved in the EU - but there was also the feeling that Obama was a genuine multilateralist.
Europeans, who welcomed Obama as the candidate of change, didn't expect him to agree with them on everything, but they believed that he would at least listen to them.
So now that the showroom gloss is beginning to wear off Obama at home, now that U.S. poll respondents are indicating that the first dents and scratches are visible in the previously gleaming bodywork, how is he being seen between Ljubljana and Lisbon?
In Europe's capitals, as in many places, there was something of a gulp when the Nobel Peace Prize was announced, a feeling that it was being bestowed in hope of what was to come rather than in recognition of what had been achieved.
Washington (CNN) - As primary battles go, this one's pretty ugly.
The intra-party Republican fight in Florida between Gov. Charlie Crist and former state House Speaker Marco Rubio is full of fireworks.
Here's a taste:
Rubio campaign spokesman Alex Burgos declares, "Charlie Crist will need to spend every last cent trying to convince voters that his support for wasteful stimulus spending, cap-and-trade schemes, tax increases and liberal judges are acceptable Republican practices."
Crist is the popular first-term governor who's decided to run for the Senate next year rather than another term in Tallahassee. Mainstream Republicans have backed him.
Rubio is the darling of the right. Last month the conservative Club for Growth, an anti-tax organization, backed Rubio and went up with an ad slamming Crist. Days earlier, the Family Research Council, a powerful social conservative group, announced that its political action committee endorsed Rubio.
If the bitter battle looks familiar, it is.
WASHINGTON (CNNMoney.com) - The controversial $700 billion federal bailout program will be extended through Oct. 3, 2010, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said Wednesday.
The Troubled Asset Relief Program will be scaled back and spending limited to newer programs aimed at stopping foreclosures, making loans to small businesses and propping up the credit markets to make loans more available.
"History suggests that exiting prematurely from policies designed to contain a financial crisis can significantly prolong an economic downturn," Geithner wrote in a letter to congressional leaders. "We must not waver in our resolve to ensure the stability of the financial system and to support the nascent recovery that the administration and the Congress have worked so hard to achieve."
(CNN) - Hanukkah may last eight times as long, but when it comes to seasonal songs, Christmas tends to dominate by sheer volume - the list of Yuletide carols is enough to sustain radio stations for weeks, while the canon of high-profile Hanukkah holiday tunes would barely last past the first commercial break or two.
But now there's another entry to the songlist for the Festival of Lights, thanks to
Sen. Orrin Hatch. The Utah Republican, a Mormon, has released his own musical tribute to the Jewish holiday: "Eight Days of Hanukkah", which debuted in a video released on the Tablet magazine Web site Tuesday night. Hatch's voice wasn't featured in the clip – but he did appear throughout, at one point flashing a mezuzah pendant he sported around his neck. (A mezuzah is a piece of parchment, often contained in a decorative case, that includes Hebrew verses from the Torah. It's placed on doorframes in the homes of observant Jews.)
Hatch may represent a state not noted for a significant Jewish presence, but the senator said the song was actually aimed at educating celebrants far from Salt Lake City. "I know a lot of Jewish people that don't know what Hanukkah means," he told writer Jeffrey Goldberg. His song, he said, was intended to help them "realize the miracle that's being commemorated here. It's more than a miracle; it's the solidification of the Jewish people."
(CNN) - Barack Obama's former campaign manager is taking sides in a high-profile Democratic primary.
David Plouffe sent a fundraising appeal Wednesday to supporters of Ohio Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher, the frontrunner for the state's Democratic Senate nomination, calling Fisher "a champion for Ohio workers."
Fisher has garnered support from the party establishment in his bid to replace Sen. George Voinovich, who is retiring next year. But before Fisher can take on the likely Republican nominee, former Bush administration budget director Rob Portman, Fisher must first defeat Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner in the Democratic primary. Brunner trails Fisher in statewide polling and has struggled to raise money since announcing her candidacy.
But Plouffe is keeping his eye the general election. He wrote that Portman's policies under Bush cost Ohioans jobs and helped spark "the worst economic recession in our lifetimes.
"If Karl Rove was the 'architect' of Bush's campaigns, then Portman was the 'architect' of Bush's economic agenda," he wrote in the e-mail. "We can't go back to the same failed policies that got us where we are today. And that's why we need Lee Fisher."
New York (CNNMoney.com) - President Obama will meet with the chief executives of several big banks next week, in an effort to help spur greater lending to consumers and small businesses, two senior White House officials told CNN Wednesday.
The president is also expected to discuss the sweeping financial regulatory reform package that the administration is currently trying to push through Congress during Monday's scheduled meeting.
Officials said that the list of attendees has not yet been finalized, but that it is likely that executives from some of the nation's biggest banks will be present.
The extent to which banks have been willing to lend has remained a focal point for Washington, after the U.S. government pumped billions into the banking sector over the past year in an effort to get the economy back on track.