Lt. Gen. P.K. Keen and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah said Sunday that the United States is committed to helping Haiti after a massive earthquake. (Photo Credit: CNN)
(CNN) – The United States intends to help Haiti as long as the impoverished Caribbean nation needs assistance in the wake of last week’s earthquake, the top U.S. military and civilian officials overseeing the relief effort said Sunday
“We’re going to be here as long as we are needed,” Army Lt. Gen. P. K. Keen said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union when asked how long U.S. military assets would be in Haiti.
Related video: Keen and Shah explain U.S. relief efforts in Haiti
Keen told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King that there are already roughly 1,000 American military personnel on the ground Haiti with another approximately 3,600 providing support from a U.S. aircraft carrier and other naval vessels offshore. In the coming days, Keen is expecting more American service members to join the relief effort, including U.S. Marines who will be tasked with clearing roads.
“We’re building up capacity every day and getting what we need to accomplish the mission,” Keen also told King.
Keen said Sunday that the military is also focused on providing security in the quake-ravaged country whose own government and security forces were severely impaired by the 7.0 magnitude quake.
(CNN) - President Barack Obama prepared to head for Massachusetts on Sunday to campaign for the Democratic candidate in a surprisingly close Senate race to fill the seat of longtime liberal lion Ted Kennedy.
Republican state Sen. Scott Brown has surged in recent weeks to catch Democratic state Attorney General Martha Coakley, worrying Obama and Democrats about the possibility of losing what once was considered among their safest seats in the nation.
A GOP victory in the overwhelmingly Democratic state could give Senate Republicans enough votes to block Obama's health care plan. It could also shatter assumptions about the competitiveness of politics in the progressive northeast.
No Republican has a won a U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts since 1972. The state's entire congressional delegation is Democratic. Obama beat Sen. John McCain in Massachusetts last year's presidential race by 26 points.
Kennedy - an advocate for liberal health care reform throughout his career - held his seat for over 46 years. His brother, President John F. Kennedy, held it for another eight before then.
The Tuesday special election will decide who holds the seat for the rest of Kennedy's term. Democrat Paul Kirk, a long-time adviser and friend to Kennedy, has served as interim replacement since shortly after Kennedy, 77, died of brain cancer in August.