Washington (CNN) - Michelle Obama expressed confidence Tuesday that Congress will enact some sort of change to improve the nation's health care system.
"We don't have a choice," the first lady told CNN's Larry King in an interview that aired Tuesday night. "When we look at these statistics, we're spending billions of dollars on preventable diseases, and new health care legislation could go a long way to improving prevention, first and foremost."
She addressed the need for people to have access to specialists such as pediatricians who can gather critical information and track it.
"So we have to get this done and I'm hopeful that Congress will come together, that the American people will recognize that doing nothing is absolutely not an option."
Washington (CNN) - Civil rights songs were the soundtrack of the movement that helped bring President Obama to the White House. On Tuesday, Obama welcomed an array of artists to celebrate those songs.
An all-star lineup including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Natalie Cole, Smokey Robinson, the Blind Boys of Alabama, John Mellencamp, gospel singer Yolanda Adams and others performed some of the best-known numbers from what Obama called the "soundtrack" of the civil rights movement.
The concert, "In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement," was originally scheduled for Wednesday night but was moved to Tuesday as another snow storm moved into the Washington area. According to the White House Web site, the concert marked the beginning of the 2010 White House music series and celebrated Black History month.
Black leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. decided on communities to organize when they saw the people were "disciplined and serious enough to be singing freedom songs," Obama said.
"I try not to make or set opinions about people I haven't had any substantive interaction with," Michelle Obama said in an interview scheduled to air on CNN's Larry King Live. "I mean, I know what you see on TV."
Asked later if she considered the 2008 vice presidential nominee to be a "phenomenon," the first lady again withheld criticizing Palin.
"Again, I mean, I think it's wonderful to have strong, female voices out there, but I don't know her," Obama said.
With her keynote address at last week's Tea Party convention, Palin has continued a pattern of hard-hitting critiques of President Obama that began on the campaign trail in 2008.
The first lady did defend her husband's record after a year in the Oval Office. "Democracy is about critique and the president is not immune to criticism," she said.
Washington (CNN) - New York Gov. David Paterson vowed Tuesday that he would not allow unfounded rumors to drive him from office and pledged to run for his own four year term in November.
"Let me let you know this: The only way I am not going to be governor next year is at the ballot box and the only way that I will be leaving office before is in a box," Paterson said at news conference he called Tuesday to discuss the winter storm headed for his state.
While the focus of the news conference was supposed to be about the weather, Paterson was peppered with questions about his personal life. The governor has been dogged for weeks by rumors of womanizing and illegal drug use.
"There hasn't been one shred of evidence that any of these charges that were made against me were even true," said a defiant Paterson, who stood behind a podium with the state seal.
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: Obama open to 'incremental steps' on job growth
President Obama and top congressional leaders from both parties expressed cautious optimism Tuesday that they can reach agreement on a new jobs bill.The positive assessment came after Obama spent much of the morning huddling with a bipartisan Capitol Hill delegation to discuss ways to help lower the country's 9.7 percent unemployment rate.
CNNMoney: Senate jobs bill: What's missing
Senate Democrats' draft plan for job creation, circulated Tuesday, contains a couple of employment measures and a lot of leftover business. What's not included in the $85 billion draft legislation is additional funds for states or stimulus money for infrastructure, which Republicans have said they will not support.
Investors Business Daily: Economic Optimism Falters In February; Losing Faith In Gov't
Voters are souring on the economy and the government's remedies, according to the IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index released Tuesday. It fell 4.1% to 46.8 in February, back to December's level and the weakest since July.
CNN: U.S. ready to offer Iran alternative to nuclear plan
In what appears to be an attempt to call Iran's bluff on its nuclear program, the United States is poised to offer Tehran a way to obtain medical isotopes that Iran says it desperately needs to treat cancer patients, according to the State Department. The United States, along with "other countries," will present a new proposal to the International Atomic Energy Agency to provide Iran with those isotopes, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Tuesday.
New York Times: Pakistan Is Said to Pursue Role in Afghan Talks With U.S.
Pakistan has told the United States it wants a central role in resolving the Afghan war and has offered to mediate with Taliban factions who use its territory and have long served as its allies, American and Pakistani officials said.
The Hill: Climate-change legislation buried under record snowfall in capital
Record snowfall has buried Washington — and along with it, buried the chances of passing global warming legislation this year. Cars are stranded in banks of snow along the streets of the federal capital, and in the corridors of Congress, climate legislation also has been put on ice. Democratic senators say a bill that was once a top priority for the party and for President Barack Obama cannot be dug up again during 2010.
CNN: Obama, Republicans spar over starting point for health care summit
President Obama said Tuesday his televised health care summit with Republican leaders on February 25 should involve true give-and-take negotiations instead of mere "political theater."In a rare appearance at the daily White House media briefing, Obama said he wants the meeting - which also will include health care experts - to "establish some common facts" on the health care issue and reach agreement on the most pressing health care problems facing the country.