Washington (CNN) - U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander said in opening remarks for Republicans at a bipartisan health care summit Thursday that his party wants to focus on health care costs.
The Tennessee senator urged President Barack Obama and the Democrats to scrap current legislation and "start over."
Washington (CNN) - Dan Coats, the former Republican senator from Indiana trying to get his job back, is doing some old-fashioned saber-rattling as he fights his way through a crowded Republican primary.
In an interview with Human Events on Wednesday, Coats said the "only option" left to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons is the threat of military action.
Coats said most Americans agree that Iran must not be allowed to have such weapons, even though Iranian leaders continue to press forward with their nuclear program.
"And yet, no one has gone past that point and said 'If it's unacceptable, what are we going to do?,'" Coats said. "And now it seems we're being asked to accept the unacceptable."
"And the only option now is potential military action if we're going to stop this," he continued. "The unknown factor in all of this is the situation the Israelis are in, sitting there looking at the nation that's proclaiming it wants to eliminate that country from the face of the earth. And that's the kind of threat that I think America has not understood."
Washington (CNN) - What's in it for you? CNN's John King tells us why the White House health care summit may be more than just political theater.
King will provide analysis during CNN's live coverage of the summit from 10 – 4 p.m. EST. During the broadcast, text your comments to John at 22360 (Standard message rates apply) or tweet to @JohnKingCNN and he will read some on the air.
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama said Thursday in opening remarks at a bipartisan health care summit that "it is absolutely critical to begin now moving on what is one of the biggest drags on the economy."
The situation affects not just people without health insurance, but also those who have it, Obama said.
"The problem is not getting better," he said. "It is getting worse.
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama will meet with Democratic and Republican leaders at a much-publicized health care summit Thursday that many believe will be long on discourse but short on real bipartisan consensus.
Critics have said the nationally televised six-hour summit basically will amount to a public relations stunt.
"This is about theater," said Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican. "This is not about substance, unfortunately."
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs rejected that assessment.
"It makes sense to have everybody in the same room," Gibbs said on CNN's "American Morning." "We're going to have a big table. We're going to listen to a lot of ideas."
But there didn't appear to be much mood Wednesday for compromise on Capitol Hill.
(CNN) - Sixteen-fifty-one Pennsylvania Avenue isn't quite as famous as the address right across the street.
But on Thursday the four-story townhouse will be in the spotlight, as Blair House plays host to the nationally televised summit on health care with President Obama and congressional leaders.
Blair House is officially the president's guest house, operated by the State Department as the home to international dignitaries during visits to Washington. But from efforts to stop the Civil War to decisions on firing a popular general, and even a dramatic assassination attempt, the building has been the scene of historic moments that go far beyond a diplomatic hotel.
The building has stood since 1824, built as a home for the first surgeon general of the U.S. Army. But a decade later, it was bought by the politically powerful Blair family, as Francis Preston Blair became a key backer of President Andrew Jackson.
Washington (CNN) - In a tense moment during hearings on Capitol Hill, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sparred with Sen. Robert Menendez over whether the United States had halted pro-democracy programs in Cuba.
U.S.-Cuban relations have become tenser in the aftermath of the December imprisonment of a U.S. citizen and government contractor, Alan Gross.
"For some reason, it seems to me, when it comes to Cuba, the recent actions by the regime to arrest an American citizen have totally frozen our actions," Menendez, D-New Jersey, said at a Senate Foreign Relations budget hearing with Clinton.
"Are we going to have a permanent freeze on having entities that are trying to create peaceful change for civil society inside of Cuba? Is that the policy of the State Department?"
Clinton denied a freeze was in force, but said there is "an intense review" under way.
"We are very supportive of the work that we believe should be done to support those people of conscience inside Cuba. We are trying to figure out the best ways to effective in doing that," Clinton said.
Eight in ten Americans think that government officials are out of touch, influenced by special interests, and mainly concerned with getting re-elected, according to a new CNN poll out Thursday. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)
Washington (CNN) - Nearly 6 in 10 Americans say they are dissatisfied with the way democracy is working in the United States, according to a new national poll. And a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Thursday morning also suggests the public doesn't have a very high opinion of public officials once they get into office.
Forty percent of people questioned in the poll say they are satisfied with the way democracy is working in this country, with 59 percent saying they are dissatisfied.
"One reason that Americans think the government is broken is that they think the way we choose our elected officials is broken," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
The survey also indicates Americans don't think very highly of government officials. Eight in ten think that government officials are out of touch, influenced by special interests, and mainly concerned with getting re-elected. Despite that, according to the poll two-thirds of all Americans admit that they would not be able to do as good a job of running the country as government officials currently do.