Speaking at the U.S. Military Academy commencement in New York, Obama praised the graduates for their achievements and laid out a scenario of military and societal challenges in what is the ninth consecutive West Point commencement during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the fight against international terrorism.
"This time of war began in Afghanistan - a place that may seem as far from this peaceful bend in the Hudson River as anywhere on Earth," Obama said, referring to a conflict that started after the al Qaeda terror network attacked the United States on September 11, 2001.
"The war began only because our own cities and civilians were attacked by violent extremists who plotted from that distant place, and it continues only because that plotting persists to this day."
After this weekend's official formation, the commission will have six months to issue a report with recommendations on how to prevent spills from offshore drilling. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Washington (CNN) - President Obama has named former Florida Sen. Bob Graham, D-Florida, and former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator William K. Reilly to head a new bipartisan commission tasked with investigating how to prevent future oil spills.
Obama announced the formation of the panel in his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday.
"Friday, I signed an executive order establishing the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling. While there are a number of ongoing investigations, including an independent review by the National Academy of Engineering, the purpose of this Commission is to consider both the root causes of the disaster and offer options on what safety and environmental precautions we need to take to prevent a similar disaster from happening again," he said in his Saturday address.
The formation of the commission comes as the administration faces a growing chorus of criticism about whether it is putting enough pressure on BP to clean up the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
On Friday, for the second straight day, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs faced a barrage of questions at his daily briefing about why the federal government is not intervening to take over responsibility for the cleanup from BP.
(CNN) - Connecticut Republicans are backing former wrestling executive Linda McMahon as their Senate nominee. McMahon was endorsed at a state GOP convention Friday night.
"We are incredibly pleased with the growing momentum behind this campaign and the better-than-expected show of support we received from Republican leaders and activists around the state," said McMahon in a statement released by her campaign. "Elections are about contrast, and Connecticut Republicans today sent a clear and resounding message that they intend to challenge the Washington establishment and its hand-picked candidate with a political outsider."
But McMahon, who has spent tens of millions of her own money so far on her Senate bid, will still face a challenge for the Republican nomination in Connecticut's August 10 primary. Former Rep. Rob Simmons, who came in second in the endorsement battle, said he would challenge McMahon in the primary.
New York (CNNMoney.com) - Congressional budget scorekeepers said that a grab-bag bill of spending and tax measures to be taken up this week would increase federal deficits by $134 billion over a decade.
The bill, which is likely to become a flash point in the debate over the federal debt, would raise $40 billion worth in additional revenue, according to estimates by the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation.
But that's not enough to fully offset the $174 billion in additional federal outlays that would occur as a result under the bill. CBO released its cost estimate late Friday.
(Read Vitter's full remarks after the jump)
Washington (CNNMoney.com) - Now that Wall Street reform has passed both chambers of Congress, the next step for lawmakers is to work out the differences.
Within days, congressional leaders will appoint members of the House and Senate to a special conference committee to meld two bills into one. The first negotiations are set to begin the week of June 7. After they reach agreement, each chamber will vote. The goal is to send final legislation to President Obama before the July 4 recess.
The good news: The two Wall Street reform bills have a lot in common.
The president ended his address with the following:
"One of the reasons I ran for President was to put America on the path to energy independence, and I have not wavered from that commitment. To achieve that goal, we must pursue clean energy and energy efficiency, and we’ve taken significant steps to do so. And we must also pursue domestic sources of oil and gas. Because it represents 30 percent of our oil production, the Gulf of Mexico can play an important part in securing our energy future. But we can only pursue offshore oil drilling if we have assurances that a disaster like the BP oil spill will not happen again. This Commission will, I hope, help provide those assurances so we can continue to seek a secure energy future for the United States of America."
(Read Obama's full remarks after the jump)
(CNN) - New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo formally announced Saturday that he's running for governor.
"My campaign is this simple: I represent the people of the great state of New York and we want our government back," says Cuomo, in a video released by his campaign. Cuomo was scheduled to hold a formal campaign kick off event Saturday afternoon in New York City.
New York's current governor, fellow Democrat David Paterson, announced in March that he would not run this year for a full term in office. Paterson became governor in 2008 after Eliot Spitzer resigned in disgrace following a sex scandal.
Cuomo, the son of former three-term New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, has been widely expected for many months to make a bid for Paterson's job.
"Our state government in Albany is disreputable and discredited. New York State is upside down and backwards. High taxes and low performance. The New York State government was at one time a national model. Now unfortunately it's a national disgrace," adds Cuomo. "We must use this moment to reorganize the government, reform its ethics, and restructure its finances to solve the problems we have ignored for too long."