(CNN) – President Obama will appear on "America's Most Wanted" with the show's host John Walsh this Saturday to commemorate its 1000th episode.
According to Deputy White House Spokesman Bill Burton, the president taped a 15 minute interview in the White House's Map Room with Walsh on Wednesday morning before delivering remarks in the East Room.
The president used the interview to congratulate Walsh on his show's success, but also to tout his administration's own anti-crime initiatives.
In clips released by "America's Most Wanted," Mr. Obama tells Walsh that last year's "huge economic crisis" raised great concern about the possibility for lawlessness to follow.
"One of the things we were most worried about was how this would this affect law enforcement. Because you started seeing state and local budgets hemorrhaging and there were the prospects of tens of thousands of cops on the streets being laid off." Mr. Obama said, crediting the White House for preventing that from happening.
"What we did was working with state and local governments, got four billion dollars in additional funding so that we kept those law enforcement officials doing the great work that they do each and every day," Mr. Obama said.
For John Walsh, "America's Most Wanted" is a personal crusade. He began hosting the show 22 years ago after his 6 year-old son Adam was abducted and killed in 1981.
Mr. Obama told Walsh, "I know Adam is looking down on us, and saying you know, my Dad has really done something incredible."
(CNN) – Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is the latest potential presidential candidate to schedule a springtime sojourn to Iowa.
The Des Moines-based Polk County Republican Party announced Thursday that Gingrich will be the guest speaker at the group's annual Robb Kelley Victory Club Dinner, named in honor of a late Republican activist. Tickets to the May 26th fundraiser are $75 a piece.
John Bloom, chairman of the Polk County GOP, touted Gingrich as "a dominant figure in conservative politics" in a statement announcing the fundraiser.
"Newt certainly hasn't ruled out a run and Iowa is an important political state for 2010," Gingrich spokesman Rick Tyler told CNN. "I know he has his mind focused on 2010, and he will be doing what he can to help the party."
Gingrich has flirted with a presidential bid in the past and has said that he and his wife will make a final decision about a presidential bid sometime in early 2011. Gingrich visited New Hampshire, another key presidential nominating state, in January.
Other potential 2012 candidates heading to Iowa in the coming weeks and months include former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.
(CNN) – A top aide to embattled New York Gov. David Paterson has resigned his post.
Peter Kauffmann, Paterson's communications director for over a year, said in a statement, "I cannot in good conscience continue in my current position."
Kauffmann's resignation comes a day after New York's Commission on Public Integrity charged Paterson with an ethics violation for accepting free tickets to the first game of last year's World Series. The commission also said Paterson lied under oath about intending to pay for the tickets.
The governor, appointed after ex-Gov. Elliot Spitzer resigned in March 2008, announced last week he was forgoing a bid for his own term after media reports alleged he was involved in pressuring a woman to drop a domestic violence charge against an aide.
"I have been honored to serve the people of New York during a difficult time in our state's history. As a former officer in the United States Navy, integrity and commitment to public service are values I take seriously," Kauffmann also said in the statement.
Kauffman, a former consultant with the Washington, D.C.-based Glover Park Group, signed on with Paterson in February 2009 after the governor was criticized over his handling of the state's vacant Senate seat.
– CNN's Mary Snow contributed to this report
Washington (CNN) - Majority Whip James Clyburn said Thursday that he is waiting for the final pieces of health care reform to fall into place before he is able to definitively say there are enough votes in the House to pass it.
"We don't know exactly what to whip," Clyburn told CNN's Don Lemon in an interview. "That's why we are waiting on these fixers to take place, and the moment we get the fixers done and post them for the American people, I will look in on it the same way the American people will, and then I will know what to go to my caucus with."
House Democrats need 217 votes to pass the health care bill approved by the Senate as well as an additional bill to change some revenue measures. The Senate would then only need to pass the one bill with the revenue changes, which is likely to occur through a process known as reconciliation. Reconciliation only requires 51 votes.
Clyburn said the final product will include ideas from both sides of the aisle.
"Now we are looking to reconcile the Republican's ideas, the president's wishes, with the House and Senate bills, and that's what we are trying to get a simple majority vote on those fixers," Clyburn said.
Turning to 2010 politics, the South Carolina Democrat sharply criticized the Republican National Committee for a fundraising presentation that paints President Obama in an unfavorable light.
Washington (CNN) - The House Ethics committee is investigating Rep. Eric Massa, D-New York.
In a short statement issued Thursday, the committee said it is "investigating and gathering additional information concerning matters related to allegations involving Representative Eric Massa."
Massa announced on Wednesday that he would not seek re-election due to health problems, but allegations of misconduct surfaced later in the day.
– CNN Congressional Producer Deirdre Walsh contributed to this story.
New York (CNNMoney.com) - Lawmakers' efforts to spur job creation were delayed once again Thursday after the House amended a $15 billion Senate bill before passing it.
The amendments mean the Senate must again approve the four-prong measure, this time with no changes, if President Obama is to sign it into law. The Senate may not take up the legislation until next week.
The bill would exempt employers from Social Security payroll taxes on new hires who were unemployed; fund highway and transit programs through 2010; extend a tax break for business that spend money on capital investments, such as equipment purchases; and expand the use of the Build America Bonds program, which helps states and municipalities fund capital construction projects.
However, the House added two provisions to pay for the infrastructure spending and corporate tax breaks. Its amendments require foreign financial institutions to give the Internal Revenue Service more information to help it catch tax cheats, and delays a tax break for foreign interest payments. The measure passed by a 217-201 vote.
Washington (CNN) - Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal, a popular two-term Democrat, will not seek another term in office, he announced Thursday.
His decision is good news for Republicans, who are almost guaranteed to pick up the seat come November. Though Freudenthal was re-elected in 2006 with an impressive 70 percent of the vote, Barack Obama was thumped in the state in 2008, losing to John McCain by a 65-33 percent margin.
National Democrats were hopeful that Freudenthal would challenge the state's term-limit laws that prevented him from running again, but he decided against doing so.
Michelle Obama says that one year into her husband's presidency, the American people have finally gotten to know her. (PHOTO CREDIT: AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
Washington (CNN) – Michelle Obama says that one year into her husband's presidency, the American people have finally gotten to know her.
In an interview with Politico published Thursday, the first lady said, "As first lady, people see me more often, and they see me. They don't see a caricature of me; they don't see a sound bite of me; they see all of me."
After a grueling 2008 campaign, the first lady has focused on combating childhood obesity, an issue she says deserves top billing.
"The truth is, if one in three kids in this country are overweight or obese, and those numbers are double in the African-American and Hispanic communities, that's not just an inconsequential point. That is a key part of the issue, so it seemed to me a natural and important point to make; that's not a sidebar fact," Obama told Politico.
And just days after President Obama underwent a physical examination where it was recommended he stop smoking, the first lady said his struggle to quit is understandable.
Congressional GOP aides expressed their frustration over their perception that Michael Steele is using his book tour to undermine the party's political message.
Washington (CNN) – Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele on Thursday condemned a now-public internal party document that mocks GOP donors, but he would not say if disciplinary action is being taken against the official who created the presentation.
The powerpoint presentation, leaked to Politico on Wednesday, described high-level Republican donors as "ego-driven" and claimed they could be enticed with "tchochkes." The document included a slide - titled "The Evil Empire" - with cartoonish images depicting President Obama as the Joker, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as Cruella DeVille and Harry Reid as Scooby Doo. Steele called the pictures "unfortunate."
"Those are images that were pulled off the internet, they've been out in the public domain for a while, and you know, a staffer was putting together a presentation for a small group of about nine or ten folks and thought that they would intersperse the presentation with humorous shots," Steele explained in an appearance on Fox News. "They are inappropriate shots."
Steele would not say who was responsible for the document, saying only that he has asked RNC Finance Director Rob Bickhart "to get to the bottom of it." Bickhart is reportedly the staffer who made the fundraising presentation to GOP donors in Boca Grande, Florida last month.
Pressed on whether someone at the committee would be disciplined or fired over the matter, Steele said he is letting "the appropriate personnel process and procedures take place within the organization."
"Clearly it's not something that I would tolerate and certainly would not want presented to me, and we're dealing with it administratively," he said.
(CNN) - President Obama outlined four GOP ideas that he is willing to incorporate into his final version of a health care bill. In addition to those four proposals, which were brought up by Republicans during last week's health care summit, the White House touted the eight Republican ideas already incorporated in health care legislation passed by Congress as a way to show that the bill contains ideas from both sides. White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer posted GOP-backed proposals on the White House blog. The Fact Check Desk decided to check it out.
Fact Check: Is the White House's list of Republican ideas in the legislation passed by Congress correct? Have they truly been supported by Republicans?