Port-au-Prince, Haiti (CNN) – Michelle Obama made an unannounced stop in Haiti on Tuesday on her way to a three-day trip to Mexico, the first lady's office said.
Obama was accompanied on the trip by Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, the White House said. They arrived in the Haitian capital of
Port-au-Prince in mid-morning and took a helicopter tour of the earthquake-shattered Haitian capital. The January 12 7.0-magnitude earthquake left than 1 million people homeless. Many are still living in tents and underneath tarps.
The two women made the visit "to underscore to the Haitian people and the Haitian government the enduring U.S. commitment to help Haiti recover and rebuild, especially as we enter the rainy and hurricane seasons, and to thank the women and men across the whole of the U.S. government for their extraordinary efforts in Haiti during the past three months," the White House said in a statement. "They will also reach out to the U.N. and international relief communities in recognition of the truly global effort under way to help Haiti."
Washington (CNN) – Michelle Obama is scheduled to arrive in Mexico on Tuesday evening on her first solo official trip as first lady.
The White House is billing the three-day visit as being "in recognition of the deep ties between the United States and Mexico."
Obama has several visits and tours scheduled, including a Wednesday morning meeting with Mexican first lady Margarita Zavala at Los Pinos, the Mexican president's residency. Other events on her itinerary include a tour of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia (National Museum of Anthropology) and a public elementary school that serves local low-income students.
The first lady also will give a speech Wednesday at the Universidad Iberoamericana and will attend a reception with women leaders at Los Pinos and a dinner hosted by Mexican President Felipe Calderon and his wife.
Before leaving Thursday, Obama is scheduled to hold a breakfast for young Mexican leaders and visit the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City.
(CNN) - The Senate's top Republican on Tuesday called on Republicans to oppose the Democratic Wall Street reform bill because it does not adequately safeguard against the government's power to bail out massive banks in the future.
"If there is one thing Americans agree on when it comes to financial reform, it's absolutely sure they agree on this," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said in a speech on the Senate floor. "Never again should tax payers be expected to bail out Wall Street from its own mistakes. We cannot allow endless tax payer-funded bailouts for big wall street banks."
The 1,300-page bill, sponsored by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut, aims to create a new consumer regulator housed inside the Federal Reserve to ensure consumers get a fair shake with mortgages and credit cards. It would also push banks and financial firms to strengthen capital cushions and create a new process for taking down giant failing companies and preventing future Wall Street bailouts.
But McConnell suggested Tuesday that any new reform bill must include a categorical provision that the government will not bail out financial companies.
(CNN) – New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo enjoys overwhelming support for his work as the state's top law enforcement official and is well positioned to win the governorship in November, according to a poll released Tuesday.
The Quinnipiac University poll shows that nearly three out of four New York state voters approve of Cuomo's job performance, with just 14 percent saying they disapprove.
(CNN) - Polls are open in Florida's 19th Congressional district, where a special election is being held Tuesday to fill former Rep. Robert Wexler's seat. The contest is also the first federal election to be held since the congressional passage of the Democrats' health care plans, and the controversial reforms could play a large role in the election results.
Republican candidate Ed Lynch says he wants to repeal the new law. The 44 year-old contractor is making opposition to President Obama's health care legislation a major part of his campaign. Lynch is also critical of the federal stimulus program, and of the president's handling the war in Iraq. The Democratic candidate, 44 year-old State Sen. Ted Deutch, supports the new health care law.
Washington (CNN) – Sen. Scott Brown is embracing the "Boys of Summer" theme for political purposes, of course.
The Massachusetts Republican is giving signed baseballs and bats to donors who contribute anywhere from $50 to $180 to his re-election campaign. His campaign made the latest fundraising pitch in an email Monday to supporters.
"As fans of the Boston Red Sox, we hope to make it to Fenway Park for a few games this summer," Brown's campaign wrote in the note. "But no matter where you live, or which team you support, we all share a passion for America's pastime.
"In the spirit of baseball season, we are offering for a limited time only, baseballs personally autographed by Senator Brown, whose upset election changed the course of American politics. We are also offering both engraved, and autographed bats."
If the Senate was a baseball team what would his jersey number be? Forty one, of course which is the number Brown is signing on the baseball items. Brown's victory in January's special election to fill the late Sen. Edward Kennedy's seat gave Republicans the crucial 41st vote in chamber to filibuster Democratic legislation.
The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.
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CNN: Obama, Chinese leader discuss possible Iran sanctions
President Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao held a private meeting Monday before the start of a nuclear security summit, with the focus on Iran - and its opposition to the nuclear nonproliferation agreement. The United States and its allies believe Iran is aiming to develop nuclear weapons. The Iranian government, meanwhile, indicates that it only wants a peaceful nuclear energy capability.
CNN: Turkish PM won't back Iran sanctions
Turkey's prime minister declined to support President Barack Obama's push for tough new sanctions against Iran but said his country was willing to act as a mediator in the diplomatic standoff over Tehran's nuclear ambitions. Turkey is a rotating member of the United Nations Security Council, which has demanded that Iran halt its nuclear fuel program. Iran has refused the demand and continued to produce enriched uranium, which in high concentrations can be used to produce a nuclear bomb.
CNN: Ukraine to remove uranium stockpile
Ukraine announced Monday that it will get rid of all its highly enriched uranium, which can be used in nuclear weapons, within the next two years. The announcement by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich followed his meeting with President Obama before the start of a 47-nation summit on nuclear security. In an exclusive interview with CNN on Monday, Yanukovich said that most of his nation's highly enriched uranium would be gone by the end of 2010.
New York Times: Leaders Gather for Nuclear Talks as New Threat Is Seen
While Pakistan struggles to make sure its weapons and nuclear labs are not vulnerable to attack by Al Qaeda, the country is getting ready to greatly expand its production of weapons-grade fuel. The Pakistanis insist that they have no choice. A nuclear deal that India signed with the United States during the Bush administration ended a long moratorium on providing India with the fuel and technology for desperately needed nuclear power plants. Now, as critics of the arrangement point out, the agreement frees up older facilities that India can devote to making its own new generation of weapons, escalating one arms race even as President Obama and President Dmitri A. Medvedev of Russia sign accords to shrink arsenals built during the cold war.
CNN: Jobless benefits extension advances in Senate
Senate Democrats managed to get enough Republican support to take up a proposed extension of unemployment benefits Monday evening, but whether they have the votes to get past further GOP opposition remained uncertain, Democratic aides said. …Four Republicans – Scott Brown of Massachusetts,; Susan Collins and Olympia Snow, of Maine and George Voinovich of Ohio – joined 56 Democrats in voting to bring up the bill. But Democrats are less confident they will get the 60 votes they need to get the bill through the Senate later this week, two Democratic leadership aides told CNN.
New York Times: Baffled by Health Plan? So Are Some Lawmakers
It is often said that the new health care law will affect almost every American in some way. And, perhaps fittingly if unintentionally, no one may be more affected than members of Congress themselves. The law promises that people can keep coverage they like, largely unchanged. For members of Congress and their aides, the federal employees health program offers much to like. But, the report says, the men and women who wrote the law may find that the guarantee of stability does not apply to them.